One of my first ever memories was sneaking food from the floor of the pantry while my mom did laundry.
Sneaking dog food, in particular.
I’ve always been a woman of fine tastes, what can I say?
Eventually I grew out of the dog food, but the whole food-sneaking habit stuck around.
My mom is a natural hostess and she always likes to have snacks or cookies around for guests, which requires practicing restraint on our end. The problem is the rest of us aren’t necessarily as disciplined as my mom is, and much like when I was three years old, I still sneak into the pantry sometimes.
Except now I leave the dog food where it is and aim for a few shelves higher.
These days, I go for the delicious ranch flavored pretzels my mom buys locally on the New Hampshire seacoast. Or for frozen Christmas cookies. (She keeps these in the freezer to keep ‘em fresh, and that my friends, is why I prefer my cookies cold.) Or for Five O’Clock Snack Mix – the delicious, salty, crunchy, processed-food-kinda-powdery snack mix on hold for pre-dinner nibbles.
Some time in the fall, I stumbled upon this recipe on Food52 and, due to a newfound love of wasabi peas and a familiar hankering for mixed snacks, bookmarked it for future use. I finally got around to making it before the Golden Globes a couple weeks ago and it was a hit.
Eating the initial batch, I liked it, but knew I wanted to futz with it a little bit, without quite knowing how. Atlee, my pantry-raiding partner in crime, came up with the genius idea, almost immediately, to put some of my Cabot cheddar shake on it. It was the cheddar on top, literally, and the perfect addition.
I’ll make this for many a shindig, but I can’t promise that I’ll be able to keep it on-hand for the impromptu visitor. What can I say? I always have dog food I can put out.
Just kidding. Maybe.
Cheddar Wasabi Snack Mix
Adapted from this recipe
Yields: 2 quarts of quickly diminishing snack mix
A few notes:
- This recipe is highly adaptable. Use brands you like, omit what you like, add what you like. The same goes for condiments.
- In my initial batch, I added the wasabi peas to the bowl with the butter mixture and they came out soggy. It won’t ruin it, but I prefer adding them at the end to keep the flavor and crunch. I also omitted the ramen on my second go-round, because it wasn’t as good and crunchy as I wanted it to be.
- This will be bomb with the Cabot cheddar shake, which is the only cheddar shake I ever use (solely on popcorn, but now I’m like…what else should I be adding it to?!), but there’s also Vermont cheese powder. This will also be pretty darn good without cheddar, if that’s your preference. You do you.
2 cups rice Chex cereal
1 cup cheddar Goldfish crackers
1 ½ cup Fritos
¾ cup cashews
1 cup wasabi peas
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-5 tablespoons Sriracha (to your taste)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mustard powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
Cheddar shake, optional but highly encouraged
- Heat the oven to 250 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together your Chex, Goldfish, Fritos, and cashews.
- Melt the butter in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup (or in the super cute lil spouted saucepan I just swiped from my grandparents’) and whisk in the Sriracha, Worcestershire, fish sauce, garlic powder, ground ginger, mustard powder, and smoked paprika.
- Drizzle the butter mixture over your mixed snacks, making sure to toss well. It should comfortably coat the snacks.
- Dump the mixture onto a sheet tray in an even layer and pop it into the oven for about an hour. Take it out periodically to give it a shuffle around, but make sure it goes back in as even layer.
- Once crisped back up (it won’t be as crisp as it once was), add your wasabi peas and shake your Cheddar all over until you’re happy. Stir well. You may want to do this in a fresh bowl, but it’s manageable on the sheet tray, too.
- Serve with some refreshing beverages, and then hide the rest. Someone will find it, trust me.