It's hard to believe, but holiday snacking and gift-giving will be here before you know it. Once again, we're hoping you'll share some of your favorite recipes with our readers. We're calling this year's category "Customized Cereal Snack Mixes."

Today's recipe is our twist on the Original Chex Mix. It originated because we noticed that our holiday guests always pick around and fish out their favorite nibbles — namely, the really good nuts. We admit we've been guilty, too. So we decided to design a Chex Mix that contained only the parts we love.

And this is the sort of adaptation we're hoping you'll share. There are zillions of recipes for snack-cereal mixes floating around — both savory and sweet. How have you changed them to give the recipe your own signature flair or suit your taste?

Send us your recipes soon, but please keep a few things in mind. If possible, tell us where the recipe originally came from so we can credit the source properly, and please tell us exactly how you've changed the original recipe to make it your own. Finally, tell us why the recipe is a favorite, and include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address so we can contact you if we have questions.

We'll publish some of our favorite recipes here in the column in time for holiday snacking and gift giving. And as a way to say thanks, if we end up publishing your recipe, we'll send you a copy of our latest cookbook, "Cheap. Fast. Good!"

CUSTOMIZED CHEX MIX

Start to finish: 5 minutes preparation, plus 1 hour to bake and 15 minutes to cool

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

5 cups Rice Chex cereal

5 cups Corn Chex cereal

2 cups (10-ounce can) lightly salted, deluxe mixed nuts (see Cook's note)

Cook's note: You can substitute any variety of lightly salted nuts you like, such as all cashews or a peanut mix.

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Place the butter in a 2-cup glass measure and microwave, covered with a paper towel, until just melted, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir in the seasonings.

Pour the cereal and nuts into a large, ungreased roasting pan. Toss lightly to mix. Drizzle the butter mixture over the cereal mixture, tossing gently until the cereal and nuts are coated as much as possible. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and pour out onto paper towels. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes, and store in airtight containers for up to two weeks.

Makes 11 cups

Approximate values per 1/4-cup serving: 79 calories (57 percent from fat), 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 121 mg sodium.


Send e-mail entries to bev-alicia@desperationdinners.com. (Be sure to place "Holiday Recipes" in the subject line.) Or mail your recipes to Desperation Dinners Holiday Recipes, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Letters must be postmarked by Sept. 1, 2008.

Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" (Workman, 1997), "Desperation Entertaining!" (Workman, 2002) and "Cheap.Fast.Good!" (Workman, 2006). Contact them at Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at www.desperationdinners.com. © United Feature Syndicate Inc.