Easy Crowd-Pleasing Food.

I love to cook, though I'm not one of those people who likes to go into super-intricate processes or uses odd and hard-to-find ingredients for the dishes I make.  While I'm certainly not afraid of multi-step dishes, I'm a huge fan of easy-to-make foods that seem more complicated than they really are.  They are generally crowd pleasers that make you look awesome because people think you slaved over it, when really all you did was mix a few things together (if that).

My friend Kelly from The Pretty Bee posted this recipe for homemade Chex mix, her version being vegan and gluten-free to work around her child's food allergies.  Just looking at the pictures made me want some- Chex mix was always a favorite snack, but I've been trying really hard to eliminate as much processed snack food as I can (It's hard! We're always on the go.) so I haven't had it in a really long time- eons, to be specific.  I knew I had to make it, and her recipe was so simple.  On my next trip out I picked up the corn and rice Chex and came right home to add seasonings.  There is a recipe right on the box for it, but it called for seasoned salt (and what's in that?) so I decided to a little of this from one recipe, and a little of that from the other.  Here's what I ended up with:

Suffice it to say, it's already gone.  Neither child really took to it (what??) so I had the bag to myself.

I mixed up two cups each of corn and rice Chex, broke up some pretzels I already had in the cabinet, and then in thinking about what else was in traditional Chex mix, I broke up some garlic bagel chips I realized we had (it was fated, I tell you).  I melted 1/4 cup (four tablespoons) of unsalted butter and mixed it with 1 teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, plus a teaspoon and a half of Kosher salt (too much- next time I'll use only one teaspoon), and about 10-12 shakes of Worcestershire sauce.  I poured that over the dry ingredients, stirred it up, and spread it out over a jelly roll pan and baked it at 250 degrees for 45 minutes.  The kitchen smelled heavenly and the mix itself turned out delicious- just about exactly like the real thing, and I know everything that's in it.  Funny enough, even with this mix, I still ended up eating all the Chex first, leaving the pretzels and bagel chips behind.  This is a perfect recipe for impressing at parties.

Another pair of recipes came from a blog post I saw for peach galette (a rustic, open-faced pie/tart) and a pin for roasted peaches.  Well, when I got home from the grocery store I realized I didn't have pie dough like I thought I did to make the galette, and I wasn't going to take the time to make some right then, but I did find a sheet of puff pastry hidden in the freezer so I got to work:

This peach tart-thing is simply the unfolded pastry dough, layered with sliced fresh peaches sprinkled with organic sugar, and the crust sprayed with coconut oil to help it brown.  I baked it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  It was better hot than cold, but it was still really good cold.

Then last night with dinner I caramelized some peaches, going off of a pin I found on Pinterest, but when I clicked the link it wouldn't let me view it because it might lead to something naughty.  Naughty peaches.  Anyway, the pin luckily had a small amount of directions in the caption, so I halved four of them and spread them out on a lined baking sheet, filling the centers with a small amount of butter and brown sugar- just enough to fill the hollow from the pit.  I baked them at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes (in the toaster oven even!) and they came out so soft and sweet.  My only failure here was that I didn't have any vanilla ice cream to serve them with.  But imagine when you serve dishes of perfectly scooped vanilla bean ice cream topped with one of these golden peaches.  They'll think you slaved!  But you didn't!  I love that. At least that's the way it plays out in my head.  In reality, I ate two for dessert when everyone else got up to go do something else.  Seems I'm just cooking for myself around here lately.

Have you been cooking anything deceptively simple lately?  Anyone else gone gaga over peaches this week?  How's the weekend shaping up- doing anything fun?  We'll be hanging around here doing our usual, which will hopefully involve a fire pit one night.  Have a good weekend!


  1. Paige @ Little NostalgiaAugust 15, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Everything I make is relatively easy, but I think the best example of the deceptive category are the stir fries I make with homemade sauces. Like you said, we're also trying to cut down the processed food, and if I can make the sauces myself then I know exactly what's in there. They're usually only 5-ish ingredients, but they taste pretty fancy. Maybe I'll blog about one!

  2. Yes! 5-ingredient recipes are great!