Although you can find ready-made Chex Party Mix almost anywhere, cooking up a batch at home and serving it warm is a simple task that even the novice cook can accomplish. This salty, crunchy snack is ideal for keeping hunger pangs at bay or for munching on during a game. The secret is in getting the right balance of ingredients.
Start by assembling a bag each of wheat, rice and corn Chex and a can or packet each of pretzel sticks, mixed nuts and bagel chips. Salt, garlic powder and onion powder provide flavor, rounded off with Worcestershire sauce. To bind the flavors together, you need a stick of butter, preferably unsalted, as the nuts, pretzels and Chex already pack a high salt content.
Mix about a cup each of nuts, pretzels and bagel chips in a large bowl with approximately three cups each of wheat, rice and corn Chex, working the mixture thoroughly to distribute the ingredients. Melt the stick of butter in a small pan and add the salt, aromatic powders and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, to taste, again mixing thoroughly. Pour the melted butter over the bowl of mix and work it in thoroughly with a wooden spoon; then shake it out onto a flat baking tray. Use two trays if necessary to keep the mix one layer deep, rather than allowing it to clump. Heat the trays in the oven at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes until the mix is crispy and shimmering with oil. Remove from the oven, allow it to cool and serve in bowls.
For cooks in a rush, Chex Trash Mix is just as easy to prepare in a microwave. Melt the butter, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce in a glass or plastic bowl for around 1 minute on high. Drizzle the melted butter over the mix and microwave it again, uncovered on high, for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid clumps. Since the water content of the mix is negligible, you don't have to worry about steam building up. Warm the mix through to allow the oils in the nuts to release their flavors. Remove the mix from the microwave, spread it on paper towels to drain the excess oil, and serve your snack.
Fresh minced garlic provides an upgrade in taste from simple garlic powder and is more effective in permeating the mix with rich, garlicky flavors. For a hot and spicy twist, add a few drops of Tabasco sauce and sprinkles of Cayenne pepper directly into the melted butter mix. For a healthier alternative, substitute margarine for the butter and omit the mixed nuts entirely.