Appetizers, Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Pretzel Snack Mix

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

Sweet and spicy snack mix–a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

As much as I would have liked to, this is just not the year to make alllll the Christmas treats. Traveling, sickness, having a toddler, working… spending hours and hours making a bunch of Christmas recipes just wasn’t going to happen this year. And while that IS a bummer, I’m trying to make the best of it and maybe even make some of my faves after Christmas or at other times of the year. One of the ways I decided to “make the best of it” was to use a couple gift-giving occasions to try new recipes! I chose super easy recipes to make this as low-stress as possible.

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

As some of you may know, I’m an academic librarian. We have great student workers in our library, and we like to celebrate them when we can. For their Christmas gift this year, I was tempted to buy some candy and call it a day, but instead I bought a few easy ingredients at Aldi (my new grocery love! Look for more about Aldi in a new meal planning series I’m starting on my blog in 2018!!) to whip up this easy snack mix. It’s similar to Chex Mix, but with a great sweet and spicy kick.

Sweet and spicy snack mix--a delightful blend of pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, cheese crackers, cereal, and dried cranberries. Everyone will love this addictive snack!

My son and I made this together on a rainy Sunday afternoon and it took maybe 10 minutes to mix and measure everything (and that’s with a toddler helping!!). The vast majority of the hour-long prep time is for baking. If you’re packaging this up in cute little treat bags like I did, you’ll need to allow extra time for cooling. But if not, this is a super quick snack that is fun to make and even better to eat. It’s a little weird but I love eating hot snack mix, fresh out of the oven. No idea why, because who eats hot cereal, pretzels, or crackers? Ha. Ben and I were so sad to give almost all of this away but at least it’s easy enough to make another batch. I might have to do that again soon! Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese
two years ago: Cranberry Crumb Bars
three years ago: Art Smith’s Macaroni and Cheese
four years ago: Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies
five years ago: Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole
six years ago: Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce
seven years ago: Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Sweet and Spicy Pretzel Snack Mix

  • Servings: 24 (1-1.5 cup) servings
  • Print

adapted from The Lean Green Bean

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounce bag mini pretzels
  • 16 ounces honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 box cheese crackers (like Cheez-Its, approximately 13.7 ounces)
  • 6 cups rice or corn Chex cereal (about half of a 12-13 ounce box)
  • 2 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or an extra 4 tablespoons butter)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large roasting pan, combine pretzels, peanuts, cheese crackers, Chex, and Cheerios.

In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, canola oil, and honey. Stir in brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder.

Pour over pretzel mixture, and stir until evenly coated.

Bake for 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before stirring in dried cranberries.

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Desserts, Other, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow #bookclubcookbookcc

Think pie is too complicated? Well, enjoy lemon meringue pie in puppy chow form. All that lemon flavor with minimal effort. #dangerous

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC | thepajamachef.com

Like my #dangerous hashtag? Lately I’ve been finding all sorts of things that are #dangerous. S’mores Oreos, for one. The new coffee shop that is getting REALLY close to being completed in my library, for two. Seriously–I can see it from my office window. It’s like 30 steps away. I won’t even have to walk across campus! I see a lot of $3.80 caramel lattes in my future. [Yes, I have the price of a latte on campus memorized.] And this tasty treat, for three. Cause I love me some lemon meringue pie, but it’s kinda complicated. Crust, filling, meringue… all that jazz. And dishes, dishes, dishes! Now I can have all the taste with almost none of the work. #Dangerous, I say!

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC | thepajamachef.com

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow is sort of a random recipe to make at the end of August, I realize. This time of year is all about getting the last dose of summer in before pumpkin and apple season hits. But lemons are citrus fruits, and citrus fruits remind me of summer [even though they’re really a winter fruit, right?], and lemons are sunshine-y yellow and happy! Plus, puppy chow is a no-bake treat… the perfect sweet that doesn’t heat up your kitchen. Score! So this puppy chow totally makes sense. And is delicious. Did I say that yet? It’s sweet and tangy and sugary… an always addictive snack mix. This version has white chocolate in it too. Mmmm!

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC | thepajamachef.com

But I must admit that I have a secondary motive [besides summery no-bake deliciousness] for making this treat. Lemon Meringue Pie was also the recipe of choice for this month’s edition of #bookclubcookbookCC, a cooking project I am part of this year. See here for more details! Andrea at Adventures in All Things Food hosted. She invited us to read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and make a Very Yellow Lemon Meringue Pie with her. I didn’t make a pie… and I didn’t get to reading the book [though I did check it out from the library, so maybe I will soon]. But I hope Andrea, the rest of the cooking group, and all of YOU lovely readers enjoy this lemony puppy chow. Who doesn’t like puppy chow? And this fun lemon twist will make anyone smile! Enjoy, and be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook for yourself! 🙂

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow  - easier than pie, but just as delicious! #bookclubcookbookCC | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa
two years ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel
three years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
four years ago: Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
five years ago: Peanut Butter Fingers

Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow

  • Servings: makes 11 cups
  • Print

adapted from Living Locurto

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups Chex cereal
  • 11.5 ounce bag white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter or oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2+ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups Golden Grahams cereal or equivalent broken graham crackers

Directions:

Place Chex cereal in a large bowl. Combine white chocolate and butter/oil in a medium bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments until chocolate melts. Stir well between each round in the microwave.

When chocolate is melted, add lemon zest then slowly pour in lemon juice, gently stirring to combine. If juice is too cold then the chocolate can start to seize up, so be careful. When combined, pour over Chex and fold together.

Transfer mixture to a gallon size ziptop bag, then add 1 cup powdered sugar. Seal and shake to combine. Add an additional cup powdered sugar and repeat. If you want more powdered sugar in the mix or you want to fully coat the cereal, you may need to add more–another cup or so. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet or a piece of wax paper to allow chocolate to harden. When chocolate has set, mix in Golden Grahams/graham cracker pieces.

Enjoy!

Note: Unlike regular puppy chow, this is best the day it is made… so it may not be a great recipe for making ahead. It’s definitely still edible [and enjoyable] for 4-5 days but because of the fresh lemon zest and juice you’ll want to eat it quickly.

Giveaway
Andrea at Adventures in all Things Food, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!
One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from August 1st till August 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
Enter the giveaway at the link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Andrea received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Desserts, Other, Recipes

#10DaysofTailgate: Cinnamon Puppy Chow

Take regular puppy chow up a notch with this cinnamon-infused version. You gotta have some sweets for tailgating, right?!

Cinnamon Puppy Chow | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

It’s Monday and the first day of a week’s worth of recipes I’m sharing as part of #10DaysofTailgate, the special blogging event I am participating in through the rest of the month. This event has been graciously organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. While you’re thinking about it, be sure to pop over here to read all about the event and enter the giveaway. You won’t regret it! 🙂

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

Puppy chow–always puppy chow, never muddy buddies–is THE snack I associate with friends. One of my good friends from high school always made puppy chow for Christmas gifts, packaging it in cute tins. My college friends and I are also huge puppy chow fans. Almost all of our post-college get-togethers [which are sadly few and far between, since the five of us live in three states and three countries: Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Korea, and France :(] involve this simple peanut butter and chocolate snack. Though we have many puppy chow memories, my favorite is when we made puppy chow in a hotel room during one of the girl’s wedding weekends. This was ridiculously fun, as you may imagine, since we bought all the supplies at Target including some cheap-o plastic bowls to use in the microwave for melting the peanut butter mixture. Oh my, such fun! I don’t think that hotel room has ever seen so much powdered sugar!!

Cinnamon Puppy Chow | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

Since puppy chow and I have such history, I have a hard time with all these “variations” floating around the internet. But sometimes tailgating calls for something a little special, right? So I sacrificed [ha] and whipped up this easy amped up version of puppy chow….CINNAMON Puppy Chow. And guess what? It is awesome… full of that chocolate peanut butter goodness you’re used to, but with a fun fall cinnamon-y twist. Please try it and experience the awesomeness for yourself! I bet you’ll love it!

Cinnamon Puppy Chow | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

Cinnamon Puppy Chow

  • Servings: 20
  • Print

from 4 Little Fergusons

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chocolate or cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 boxes Chex cereal, divided [13 ounce box Cinnamon Chex; 16 ounce Corn Chex=18 cups total]
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, divided

Directions:

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter together, stirring continually. When melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.

Place half of the cereal in a large bowl and pour half of the chocolate mixture on top. Carefully stir, then transfer to a gallon-size ziploc. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, using a new bag too. Divide powdered sugar between two bags and shake to combine.

Combine both bags into a large tupperware, making sure to stir together so the Cinnamon Chex is mixed in.

Here’s what the rest of the crew brought to the table…

Starters
Grilled Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip
 by Curious Cuisiniere
Carnitas-Stuffed Potatoes with Carrot Karma Pico de Gallo by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Dips
Oktoberfest Beer Mustard with Dippers
 by Eliot’s Eats

Mains
Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls
 by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Brat Bites with Spicy Mustard Dipping Sauce by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Kalua Pork Sliders With Spicy Pineapple Relish by Cooking In Stilettos
Chicken Parmesan Sliders by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Cherry Chipotle Meatloaf Sandwiches by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Cherry Chipotle Meatballs by From Gate to Plate
Asian-Inspired Turkey Burgers by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Sides
SRC Surprise Recipe
 by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Sweets
Cinnamon Puppy Chow by The Pajama Chef
Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies by Love and Confections