Pecan, Cranberry & Chive Party Mix: a Party Mix for the 21st Century
Worcestershire and garlic with salty peanuts and some mini melba rounds. That is immediately what I think of when I here the words “Party” and “Mix” put side by side in a sentence. ((Either that or a little Milli Vanilli, Blame it on the Rain mixed with Prince’s Party like it’s 1999 – but that is another story altogether, and not a very good one I might add.)) Well, it seems to me it is time to bring this tired party food out of 1984! That is just what I did. But before I share the “BIG REVEAL”,let me just say – every party still needs party mix. Here are 5 reasons why:
- It is a great “stand around the bowl and talk” food.
- It is so simple to make ((and inexpensive)).
- It can be easily adjusted to reflect the season or holiday
- It can be made ahead and heated at the last minute
- It is a party in a bowl, for goodness sake. Who doesn’t want that??
For my party mix, I went with the theme: Simple Christmas Elegance. Did you even know it was possible to use the words “party mix” and “elegance” in the same sentence?? It is probably ((definitely)) a stretch. Simple Christmas – is a little more appropriate.
I chose to keep the seasoning simple: Hatch red chili powder, celery salt & Montreal Steak Seasoning Blend ((from McCormick’s)). Each seasoning can be added according to your personal taste and the preferences you anticipate your guests having. Isn’t that the beauty of homemade Party Mix??
Celery salt is an unexpected rock star in this recipe– celery salt does something no other spice can do, it is a good one to keep stocked in your spice rack. Additionally, I added a subtle boost of heat by tapping into my hatch chili powder stash. Last, my favorite steak seasoning blend fills in all of the flavor cracks and gaps…I just love it when that happens.
Oyster crackers and a bounty of sweet, giant pecans from our pecan trees on Santa Fe make up the bulk of my mix. Simple – keeping it simple!
The old 1980’s party mix really missed the mark by leaving out a fresh component, don’t you think? I added a nice bunch of finely chopped fresh chives. Those little flecks of green popping up in every handful of party mix are bold proof – this did not come out of a box or bag!
These ingredients were tossed with some vegetable oil, spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet & baked for 5 minutes on 400°. I certainly didn’t want to burn or even roast my pecans, I just wanted them to get hot.
Once out of the oven, I tossed the mix with some much needed sweetness by adding about 2 cups of juicy, plump dried cranberries. The cranberries were such a perfect addition ((both in looks and in taste)) that I decided to add a cup of chopped dried apricots as well.
The dried fruits make this party mix deadly addictive…I really didn’t know it was possible to LOVE “party mix” until the moment I put the perfect ratio of fruit to herbed pecans and seasoned crackers in my mouth all at once. I had to quickly package it all up – or there would have been nothing left for the actual party!
And so begins the age old party mix eating habit – some things never change, a little crunch, a pop of salt, a little heat, then some sweet, something chewy, oh another crunch…and on and on!
- 1 bag of oyster crackers
- 3 cups of whole raw ((unroasted pecans))
- 1 1/2 T McCormicks Montreal Steak Seasoning blend
- 1 t celery salt
- 1/2 to 2 t hatch red chili powder ((depending on your heat preference))
- 1/4 c chopped fresh chives
- 1/3 c vegetable oil
- 2 c dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 c chopped dried apricots
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line two half-sheet sized baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the dried fruit. Toss to evenly coat. Spread equal amounts of the mix onto the 2 baking sheets and place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove from the oven & pour the hot mix back into the mixing bowl. Add the dried fruit to the hot mix and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
- When ready to serve, allow the mix to return to room temp and then reheat in a preheated 400° oven for 5 minutes.
- This party mix is easy to make your own! Change up the herbs, nuts, add some dried currants or dried papaya - add pretzels etc.