by Ingredient

Health and nutrition news that’s easy to digest

Look Mom, No Spoon!

Cereal isn’t just for eating in a bowl with a spoon and milk! You can add cereal to many different sweet and savory dishes to give them a crunchy texture and deeper flavor. We all know about using puffed rice cereal to make crispy treats or making no-bake cookies with oatmeal.

While those are delicious uses for the cereal at the end of the box or at the back of the pantry, what about using Cheerios to thicken your morning smoothie or coating your favorite ice cream in crushed cornflakes for a delicious dessert of fried ice cream? Most of us already have a cabinet stocked with cereal, just waiting be used in these 11 delicious ideas!

1. Coating. Crushed cereal makes a crispy, crunchy, slightly salty coating for chicken thighs, tenders, fried chicken, or even fish fillets! Unsweetened corn flakes, sweetened corn cereal, puffed rice, or unsweetened varieties of Chex cereal are all delicious choices for coating your meat. Place 3 cups of cereal in a plastic zip top bag and crush it with your hands or a rolling pin. Season the crushed cereal with salt and pepper. Drop pieces of chicken or fish into the zip top bag that have been dredged in flour then dipped in buttermilk. Shake the bag to evenly coat the meat with the cereal crumbs. Place the coated pieces of meat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them at 425 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until the cereal is golden and the meat is fully cooked. For more cereal coating recipes, try: Buttermilk Baked Chicken, Captain Crunch Chicken, or Crispy Chicken.

2. Bulk-Up Baked Breakfast Goodies. There are tons of delicious recipes that use bran cereal to add texture and fiber to muffins. Other cereals are great in muffins, quick breads, or coffee cakes too!

Try adding grape nuts or muesli to your favorite muffin or quick bread recipe to give it crunchy texture and nutty flavor. For a recipe that yields 12 muffins or one 9x5-inch loaf of quick bread, fold in ½ cup of grape nuts or 1 cup of muesli after you have incorporated all of the other ingredients. Follow the baking instructions in your recipe and enjoy! You could also use grape nuts or muesli to add crunch and flavor to your favorite coffee cake recipe. Swap out grape nuts for the nuts in your recipe or add ¼ cup of muesli or almond cluster cereal to the streusel topping. These recipes also use cereal in baked breakfast treats: Bran Cereal Muffins, Blueberry Bran Muffins; Banana-Bran Bread, Applesauce-Blueberry Muffins, Apple Carrot Muffins, Carrot Cake Muffins, Cereal Crunch Coffee Cake, Everyone’s Favorite Coffee Cake, Cranberry Crisp Coffee Cake, and Glazed Coffee Cake.

3. Add Pep to Your Pancakes. As if peanut butter-banana pancakes are not awesome enough, adding Reese’s Puff cereal makes them even better! Mix 1 cup of dry prepared pancake mix with 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, ½ cup of mashed banana, and ¼ cup peanut butter. Pour ¼ cup batter onto a hot, greased griddle. As the batter begins to cook, sprinkle on the Reese’s Puffs cereal. Flip the pancakes over using a spatula when the first side is golden and set. Cook on the second side for about 30 seconds or until golden. Serve with maple syrup. You can also use cereal to make Banana Bran Pancakes.

4. Make a pie crust. Turn crushed cereal into a quick-and-easy, sweet or savory pie crust. For a savory crust, crush 2 cups of Corn, Wheat, or Rice Chex. Toss the crushed cereal with 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Press the cereal mixture into a greased pie pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or according to your recipe. Then, pour the filling of your choice into the crust and bake according to your recipe. For a sweet pie crust, follow the same recipe and add 3 tablespoons of sugar before you press the cereal into the greased pie pan. These recipes also use cereal-based crust: Quick and Easy Chex Banana Pie, Apple Ricotta Pie, Quicky Crumble, and Chocolate Ice Crispy Pie.

5. Breakfast on the go. ** ** Bake your cereal into breakfast cereal bars for a morning meal that can travel.
Mix 2 cups of grape nuts cereal with ¾ cup of flour, ¼ cup of brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Cut in ½ cup of margarine. Press ½ of the cereal mixture into the bottom of a 9x5-inch loaf pan. In a separate bowl, stir together one 6-ounce container of peach yogurt, 1 egg, ¼ cup chopped apricots, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread the yogurt mixture over the cereal mixture. Top the yogurt mixture with the remaining cereal mixture. Bake the bars for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until the cereal layer is golden and the yogurt layer is set. Use cereal in these breakfast and dessert bars: Cereal Yoghurt Bars, Apricot Walnut Cereal Bars, No Bake Cereal Bars, and Raisin Nut Cereal Bars

6. Thicken Your Smoothie. Add your favorite cereal to a morning smoothie for extra thickness and flavor. To make a Nutty Banana Smoothie, place one frozen banana, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons of nut butter and ¼ cup of your favorite peanut butter flavored cereal in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy. Mix and match your favorite fruit-based smoothie with ¼ cup of your favorite cereal.

7. Create Layers of Crunch in Your Parfait. You have probably seen recipes for using granola between layers of fresh fruit and yogurt to make a parfait. Try swapping muesli, grape nuts or honey cluster cereal for the granola. You could also use cereal to make a pudding parfait. Alternate layers of prepared instant vanilla pudding with cranberry almond cereal for a delicious dessert parfait. Use cereal to make these parfaits: Summer Breakfast Sundae and Yogurt Fruit Parfaits.

8. Pair Cereal with Ice Cream. Sprinkle Cocoa pebbles or almond crunch cereal on top of vanilla or chocolate ice cream to give it a yummy crunch! Make a shortcut version of classic Mexican Fried Ice Cream with corn flakes. Scoop ½ cup of vanilla ice cream into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and set it in the freezer to harden for 15 minutes. Mix 1 cup of cornflakes with 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut. Unwrap the ice cream ball and roll it in cornflake mixture. Press cornflake mixture into your ice cream ball until it is well coated. Rewrap the cereal-coated ice cream ball in fresh plastic and return it to the freezer for another 15 minutes. Unwrap the ice cream ball and place it in a dish. Drizzle the cereal coated ice cream with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and devour! Try these traditional fried ice cream recipes too: Cinnamon Fried Ice Cream and Fried Mexican Ice Cream.

9. Give Crunch to Casserole. Sprinkle crushed unsweetened corn flakes, puffed rice cereal, or crushed corn Chex on top of your favorite creamy, cheesy casseroles instead of bread crumbs. Prepare your favorite recipe of stovetop macaroni with cheese sauce. Pour the cheesy macaroni into a greased casserole dish. Pat on 1-2 cups of crushed cereal and dot the cereal with butter. Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes or until the cereal is golden and the cheese sauce is bubbly. These recipes also use cereal to make a delicious topping: Cheesy Potatoes, Sunday Morning Wife Saver for Two, and Potato Casserole.

10. Crispy Cookies. Add cereal to your cookies to make a sweet and salty treat! In a large skillet, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of Karo syrup. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add 2 cups of peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter is melted. Remove from heat and mix in 4 cups of Cocoa Pebbles and 2 cups of Chex cereal. Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper. Flip the cookies over after 2 hours to allow the bottoms to dry and the cookies to become firm. Store cookies in an airtight container. These cookies are also made with cereal: Special K Cereal Cookies, Cereal Snack Meringues, Cereal Killer Cookies.

11. Coat your candy. Use crushed graham cereal to make S’more Poppers. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave 2 cups of dark chocolate in a microwave-safe container on low heat for 60 seconds. Stir the chocolate and continue to microwave it on low in 20-second increments or until the chocolate is fully melted. Dip one large marshmallow in the melted dark chocolate, leaving one end un-dipped. Roll the sides of the coated marshmallow in crushed graham cereal and set on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, resting the marshmallow on the un-dipped end. You can also use other flavors of crushed cereal to coat chocolate covered pretzel sticks, chocolate covered graham crackers, or chocolate covered peanut-butter cracker sandwiches.