3×3 Food- Copycat Snacks {Chex Mix Recipe}

3x3 Food - Copycat Snacks {3 recipes for copycat versions of favorite childhood snacks} @runwaychef Snack lovers rejoice! This month, for our 3×3 food post, we decided to tackle copycat versions of childhood favorite snacks and I couldn’t be happier because I love snacks. Like love them. Like a lot. Times a billion. Snacks in the morning, snacks in the afternoon, snacks in bed, snacks with movies, snacks after dinner….basically, it’s snacks all day everyday around here. I grew up in a family of big snackers so I guess you could say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. One of my favorite snacks growing up was chex mix. My grandparents always had enough chex cereal on hand to feed the entire nation (my grandfather was a a couponing maniac before couponing was ever a thing) so I’d beg to make chex mix whenever I was there. I didn’t always get my way but when I did it was glorious (minus the pretzel pieces, because let’s be real “the pretzel pieces were the best part” said no one ever). These days, as I do with most things, I rarely follow the traditional chex mix recipe, instead making up versions that include only my favorite things (I’m looking at you bagel chips). This one not only includes homemade bagel chips but it also has my new favorite snack- pasta crackers. Yes, crackers made from pasta. They’re amazing and you’ll want to pop them in your mouth like crack(ers). What this mix doesn’t have is any of the things that no one really likes anyways….you know the things I’m talking about, the pretzels that everyone eats around, the cracker sticks that you only eat after all the bagel chips are gone (which usually happens in .5 seconds because there are all of 2.87 of them in the entire bag), the peanuts that are left at the bottom of the bag, the chex pieces that have no flavoring on them….yeah, none of that in this mix. This mix is just straight up deliciousness and you’ll want to eat it all immediately. But don’t because you’ll want to save room for some of the amazing Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers Luci is serving up on her blog and then, for a sweet treat, finish up with one (or 3) of Grace’s Oatmeal Cream Pies.

Now, we’d love to know- what was your favorite childhood snack?

Chex Mix Recipe via @runwaychef

Chex Mix Recipe via @runwaychef Chex Mix Recipe via @runwaychef Chex Mix Recipe via @runwaychef Chex Mix Recipe via @runwaychef

Chex Mix
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Bagel Chips
  1. 2 bagels (I used everything bagels)
  2. Olive oil spray
  3. Salt
Pasta Crackers
  1. 2 cups pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni)
  2. Olive oil spray
  3. Salt
  4. Garlic powder
Chex
  1. 8 cups of chex cereal (I used corn)
  2. 6 tablespoons of butter
  3. 3 tablespoons of worchestire sauce
  4. 1 teaspoon of salt
  5. 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  6. 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic powder
  7. 3 cups cheese crackers
  8. 3 cups of corn puffs or popcorn (I used Trader Joe's Sour Cream & Onion Corn Puffs)
Instructions
  1. To make the bagel chips- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the bagels into thin slices, then spread them on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray (or brush with olive oil) then sprinkle generously with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. To make the pasta crackers- Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook for only 5 minutes (it is very important that you don't cook them longer). Drain immediately and rinse under cold water. Spread on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle generously with salt and garlic powder and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pasta gets brown and crispy and starts to bubble.
  3. To make the cereal- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter in the microwave or in a small pan. Add in the worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Spread the cereal on a baking sheet and pour on all but 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture. Sprinkle on the seasonings then toss the cereal around so it gets evenly coated. Begin baking the cereal, taking it out every 15 minutes to stir it around. Toss the bagel chips and pasta crackers in the remaining butter mixture, then add those to the cereal mixture for the final 15 minutes of baking. The total baking time should be about 1 hour, or until the cereal is golden brown.
  4. To assemble the mix- in a large bowl or bag toss together the cereal, the pasta crackers, the bagel chips, the cheese crackers and the popcorn. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Spiced Tofu Nuggets w/ Orange Chili Aioli

Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli via @runwaychef #healthy #appetizers The only consolation that summer is pretty much gone is that football season is here. And by football season I mean tailgating season. And by tailgating season I mean stuffing-my-face-with-ridiculous-amounts-of-insanely-delicious-and-absurdly-bad-for-you-food season. While I love to catch parts of Chiefs games (Go Chiefs!), and I worked as the football team manager for my college, I just don’t have the attention span to watch an entire football game (hence why I failed miserable at my team manager job). But eating, now that is a sport I have the attention span for. Let me assure you that if eating was truly a game, I would score a bazillion touchdowns every single time. I’m not even sure how you score a touchdown in eating, but I just know I would. So while everyone else is focused on the football game, I’m focused on the tailgate game, plotting my next play to score a touchdown at the food table. My biggest concern? Protecting my waistline. Now don’t get me wrong I love a good plate of nachos, french fries dipped in ranch, and I would probably kill for some good boneless buffalo wings, but a diet like that won’t get me very far in the game so I like to mix in a few healthy treats or modified takes on unhealthier favorites every time there’s a tailgate spread. These spiced tofu nuggets are just one example. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Tofu?! Gross!” but believe it or not these actually taste almost exactly like chicken nuggets. They can be served alone with the orange chili dipping sauce or dressed up with a little orange coleslaw and a tortilla chip (almost like a mini taco) for a completely delicious guilt-free treat (or as guilt-free as something that is fried and covered with a mayonnaise sauce can be).

fried tofu nugget spiced fried tofu nuggets fried tofu nuggets Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli via @runwaychef #healthy #appetizers

Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli
Serves 2
A spicy tofu take on the chicken nugget served either alone with a orange chili dipping sauce or mini taco style
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For the tofu
  1. 1/4 cup of cornmeal
  2. 1/4 cup of flour
  3. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1 teaspoon of a smokey seasoning mix (optional)
  8. 8 ounces of tofu
  9. Oil
For the aioli sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (can also use a Vegan mayonnaise)
  2. 2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
  3. 1 teaspoon of sriracha
  4. 3 tablespoons of orange juice
For serving (optional)
  1. Corn chips (I used sweet potato ones from Trader Joe's)
  2. Coleslaw (shredded cabbage mixed with a few tablespoons of OJ, mayo & apple cider vinegar & sprinkled with salt and pepper)
  3. JalapeƱos
  4. Avocado or guacamole
Instructions
  1. Begin by making your breading mixture. Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Add about 1/4" of oil to a medium-sized skillet and begin heating it over medium heat. Then cut the tofu into thick cubes. Begin rolling them in the flour mixture until they are well coated. Once the oil is nice and hot and sizzling, begin dropping the tofu cubes in. Cook until crispy and golden brown, turning it every few minutes until you have cooked it on each side (this should take about 10-12 minutes total). Remove the cubes from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Repeat this process until all the cubes have been cooked.
  3. To make the aioli, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined and smooth. Feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients based on flavor preference.
  4. To serve the tofu nuggets, either leave them as is or assemble them into mini tacos by layering a chip with some coleslaw adding a nugget and then topping it with the aioli.
  5. Serve immediately. If there are any nuggets leftover, store in an airtight container then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (although be warned that they will not be as crispy). Also do not store any of the mini tacos assembled as they will get soggy.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group of people.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Orangeberry Smoothie + Florida OJ Tailgate Party

Orangeberry Smoothie via @runwaychef #breakfast #healthy #fruit I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Florida Department of Citrus. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Growing up, I’d watch everyone in my family start their morning with a glass of orange juice. At the time, pulp wasn’t quite my thing, so my Mom would sneak my OJ (always 100% Florida) to me in the form of a fruit smoothie, and boy am I glad she did. Do you know how much vitamin C is in just one 8-ounce glass of 100% Florida Orange Juice? Let me tell you…it’s a lot, as in ‘more than 100% of your daily value’ a lot. It also counts as one serving of fruit, serves as a good source of folate, thiamin and potassium, and is free of sodium, cholesterol, fat, and, something that is hard to find in most juices today, it is free of added sugar. Obviously I wisened up and now drink loads of OJ (pulp, no pulp, I’ll drink it all), but I still love adding it to my morning smoothies, and even more so, I love cooking with it (one of my favorite things to do is add it it to pork chops with apples and onions). The Florida Department of Citrus is working to help people (like my 5-year-old pulp hating self) to understand just how wonderful, healthy, delicious, and versatile Florida OJ is and I’ve teamed up with them to help them spread the message.

In honor of working with FDOC I wanted to share the recipe for their Orangeberry Smoothie, along with the healthy adjustments I make to it when I’m drinking it as my morning smoothie.

orange juice smoothie via @runwaychef

Orangeberry Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ounces Florida orange juice
  2. 1/4 cup fresh Florida strawberries, sliced (I also like using a mix of berries, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cherries)
  3. 1 frozen banana
Instructions
  1. In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve.
Notes
  1. To make this a more decadent treat for dessert add a 1/2 cup of ice cream (or frozen non-dairy product for vegans) in place of the frozen banana, and also add in 1 cup of ice.
Adapted from Florida Orange Juice
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

OJ also makes a splash when added to sauces, salad dressings, and even soups. With tailgating season coming up, there will also be plenty of opportunities for you to sneak some healthy OJ into all those game time apps. And speaking of game time, Florida OJ is throwing a tailgating event in New York City on Tuesday, Aug. 19. Come check it out! Special guest and sports broadcaster Erin Andrews will stop by to share her top tailgating tips. You can find out all the deets and RSVP here. Not going to be in the area? Follow along on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as I share live updates from the event with the hashtags #OJTailgate and #OJSelfie. Also make sure you’re following Florida Orange Juice on Twitter and Facebook for more event fun, OJ facts, and recipe ideas.

I’d love to know, what’s your favorite way to have orange juice?

Greek Appetizers + Bites

Greek Appetizer Plate Mr. RC and I always seem to be short on time, but we love cooking together so much that we don’t always want to eat out. Our solution has been creating themed appetizer plates, with mostly ready-made options for ease, but enough homemade parts to still get a little cooking time together. We’ve been doing these for quite some time now and have developed an array of themed app-dinners (as I like to call them) so I thought it would be fun to share them with you over the next several months. First up, our favorite Greek/Mediterranean themed app-dinner. We probably eat this at least once every couple weeks during the summer. The lighter fare and refreshing elements make it especially perfect for warm summer nights. Here’s what we like to include in our Greek appetizer spread:

  • Hummus (homemade)
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (homemade, recipe below)
  • Tahini Dip (store bought)
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (we want to try making these but for now they are store bought…the canned ones sold at Trader Joe’s are really good)
  • Pita Pieces or Pita Chips (store bought; homemade recipe here)
  • Falafel (homemade; Trader Joe’s sells a good one too)
  • Olives (Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Mix or Fairway’s olive bar)
  • Feta and/or haloumi cheese
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber 
  • Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip (Trader Joe’s) or Roasted Veggie Dip (recipe here)

To make this into a bigger, slightly more complicated meal we’ll serve these appetizers alongside a Greek Salad or Spanakopita.

Hummus Greek Olives falafel Greek dips Mediterranean Appetizers Feta Greek yogurt Dip Greek Yogurt Dip Mediterranean appetizer plate

Feta Greek Yogurt Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Greek yogurt
  2. 1/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  3. The juice of 1 lemon
  4. 2-3 tablespoons of Za'atar (depending on flavor preferences)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  6. A large dash of garlic powder
  7. A dash of cumin
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until well-combined and serve. Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
Notes
  1. This does taste better after it has sat in the fridge for several hours, so if you can I highly recommend making this ahead.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

 

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins Blueberries are a funny thing to hold close to your heart, but none the less, the little blue fruit is close to mine.

Growing up, one of my favorite places to hang out was my Grandfather’s garden. More specifically, the blueberry patch. Chances are, if you wanted to find me, I was hanging out by the bushes, consuming my body weight in berries under the guise of “keeping the birds away”.

If I wasn’t in the garden, the next best place to look was in the kitchen where my Grandmother and Great Aunt Lucy were always whipping up delicious treats. Aunt Lucy made the best pies I have ever had (coconut cream and blueberry being her specialties). It was from Aunt Lucy that I learned about the magic that could be found in a magic cookie bar, how to properly make pizelles, and the recipe for the best kitchen sink cookies (they included peanut butter, oats, and chocolate chips). Of course, it’s understandable why the first thing I did every time I went to visit her was to go straight to her cookie tin. Despite all those delicious treats, the one thing that reminds me of Aunt Lucy more than anything, is blueberry muffins. She made the best that could be made, many times using the blueberries that my Grandfather had grown.

When I visit my Grandmother’s house now, you will still most likely find me consuming more than my fair share of blueberries. And you’ll more than likely find me attempting to replicate Aunt Lucy’s blueberry muffins. My Grandfather and Great Aunt may no longer be with us, but the blueberry bushes live on, reminding me of them in ways that I will cherish forever.

blueberry muffins baking supplies blueberry muffin batter blueberry muffins with crumb topping Homemade blueberry muffins homemade blueberry muffins

Blueberry Muffins with Brown Butter Crumb Topping
Yields 12
A moist blueberry muffin with a brown butter crumb topping; minus the topping, these muffins have almost no sugar or fat in them
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
Muffins
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 cup of buttermilk (or 1 cup of milk + 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar)
  8. 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  9. 1 cup fresh blueberries
Topping
  1. 3 tablespoons of butter
  2. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  4. A large pinch of cinnamon
  5. A dash of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, which together the egg, buttermilk and coconut oil. Slowly stir the liquids into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is combined. Gently fold in the blueberries, making sure not to over mix.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the muffin tins (each cup should be about two-thirds full). Set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue cooking the butter, without stirring, until it begins to brown (this should take about 5 minutes). Once the butter has browned, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, sugar, and spices. FYI, this topping will be a bit more on the crumbly side due to using melted butter instead of chilled butter.
  6. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of crumb topping on top of each muffin, gently pressing the topping in with your fingers or a spoon. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn the muffins out onto a wire rack and cool, or serve warm with a little butter.
Notes
  1. Store muffins in a ziplock bag or airtight container for up to 6 days.
  2. My favorite way to eat these is sliced in half, toasted and spread with some butter.
  3. In place of a crumb topping, you can simply sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cinnamon and sugar prior to baking, as my Aunt Lucy always used to do.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/