Favorite Party Snack Mix

Thank God for Chex.

This is not an advertising plug, promise.

My husband has always adored Chex Mix. I'll admit, I kinda like it myself. It's one of those go-to snacks for road trips and parties and such. Unfortunately, the bags you can buy in stores of the pre-made stuff - not so much gluten-free friendly, if you know what I mean. They're loaded with bagel chips, pretzels, wheat Chex...all perfectly delicious as far as the hubs is concerned. But I certainly can't eat it without getting sick. Or I have to carefully pick out the none-offenders...and that's not so much fun.

So I started making my own. It's become a staple in our house. I make a big batch every week. Between the two of us, it doesn't last very long. And it's so easy to make yourself - takes less than 15 minutes.

When I first started experimenting, I pretty much stalked the Chex website - it contains tons of cool gluten-free recipes. I tried all the fancy variations, tweaking them as I went along. This ended up being our favorite. It is very similar to the traditional Chex party mix recipe, however it is completely gluten-free and I have made a few changes to fit our personal tastes.

This recipe is awesome! It has that great balance of salty and sweet and it's relatively addictive. Just sayin'. This is super easy and quick if you cook it in the microwave. The first few batches I made were done in the oven, but I realized it's a waste of time and electricity/gas. It comes out just as beautifully crunchy in the microwave in a fraction of the time. Feel free to change up the ingredients, if it suits your fancy. But trust me, you'll never go back to the bag mix again!

Favorite Party Snack Mix

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 24 (1/2 cup) servings
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 3 cups Cinnamon Chex
  • 2 cups Gluten-free Mini Pretzels (I like Snyder's)
  • 1 cup Mixed Nuts, lightly or unsalted
  • 6 Tbsp Light Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning, reduced sodium
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cinnamon Chex, pretzels and nuts. Stir to combine.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, melt butter on high heat in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute - make sure you cover it with wax paper (plastic wrap might melt) so it doesn't splatter.
  3. To melted butter, add Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, cinnamon, garlic powder and onion powder. Whisk or stir well to combine.
  4. Add butter mixture to cereal mixture and toss well to coat with a large spoon or rubber spatula.
  5. Place large mixing bowl in microwave and cook on High heat for 2 minutes. Remove bowl and stir contents. Repeat on High for 1 minute - remove and stir. Do this twice more, until Chex mix has cooked for a total of 5 minutes on High heat, stirring intermittently so it doesn't clump together.
  6. Dump contents of bowl onto a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or a Silpat. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Oven Directions: Preheat oven to 250 . Follow above directions through Step 4. Dump contents of bowl (unbaked) onto a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or a Silpat. Bake for 1 hour, stirring mixture every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Store in an airtight contained for up to one week.
*Adapted from Chex*

Happy gluten-free baking!


Lemon Couscous Salad

Some recipes just cry out, "SPRING!" 

This is one of those recipes. With fresh baby spinach, spring onions and dill...how could you possibly go wrong?
Speaking of Spring...where the heck is it?! Here in upstate NY, Spring is just barely, and I mean BARELY, peaking around the corner. I think we can all take this opportunity to officially discredit Punxsutawney Phil and his ridiculous forecast this year. This has been like the longest Winter of my life...

Anywho - I stole this awesomely easy and satisfying recipe from the mother of one of my college roommates. Emily's family would come over a couple times a month and we'd have big family dinners. This salad was prepared a couple of times and I adored it! I'm sure she herself adapted the recipe from elsewhere, as I have seen various other versions online. 

Here is my version, with the permanent addition of feta cheese. It gives it a nice, salty bite. I have also increased the amount of fresh lemon juice from the original recipe. And, of course, used gluten-free couscous.

Can I just tell you, when I ever found out that Lundberg makes a delicious brown rice couscous, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Couscous - along with tortellini, ravioli, pizza, and english muffins - was right up at the top of my list of gluten-full foods that I've missed the most.

This dish is incredibly easy to put together. It just needs a little bit of prep time and a few hours to relax in the fridge. It's an awesome dish to bring to potlucks or picnics as there is no mayonnaise that might spoil. You can leave out the feta if you like. You can also try adding toasted pine nuts for an extra crunch and a bit of nuttiness. Although, the brown rice couscous has a great nutty flavor that really comes through in this dish.

This salad is wonderfully light and refreshing. Great alongside a nice grilled steak or chicken breast, or all by itself as a light lunch - which is how I like it best. I'll confess, I ate most of this salad...all 6 servings worth...my husband only brought a little to lunch a couple of days last week. Oh well, it was worth it! Enjoy!

Lemon Couscous Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus additional cooling

Yield: 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

  • (1) 10-ounce box Brown Rice Couscous (try Lundberg)
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup good quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach, washed, dried, and finely shredded
  • 3 large Scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Feta, preferably reduced-fat or fat-free
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, prepare couscous according to package directions. 
  2. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and allow couscous to cool completely - you may have to place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. 
  3. Stir in spinach, scallions, dill and feta; combine well.
  4. Chill salad, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Tip: Try adding 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts to round out the texture - delish!

Happy gluten-free cooking!