Chicken Casserole

Using the first three-dimensional breakfast cereal.

Kix cereal was first marketed by General Mills in 1937, and at the time, it was sort of a big deal. Until Kix, breakfast cereals had come in flakes, whether it was the steamed and rolled flakes of an oatmeal or granola option or the completely ground and dried corn flakes. To make Kix, ground corn was mixed with water, then dried as it was extruded to form a three-dimensional shape.

This made it the first cereal that General Mills had actually intended to create. The only other cereal it made at the time was Wheaties, which it started selling in 1927. Five years prior, an employee of a predecessor company spilled a ground bran mixture on a hot stove and when the result “flaked” off dried, the company started researching a method of repeating the process intentionally. Based on that success, General Mills scientists started researching new shapes, and actually came up with the formula for Kix in 1930.

But the magic wasn’t in the milling, and actually producing the shape was going to take some more doing. Company engineer Thomas James worked out a revolving pressurized cooking barrel for wet pellets of cereal that could be “fired” at a screen when the cereal inside was cooked, essentially re-creating the conditions of a popcorn kernel on a massive scale. While the modern process is electric, the basic mechanics of of the production haven’t changed.

The next cereal released in 1941 was also popular, using the Kix process with oats instead of corn to produce something they called Cheerioats. After an objection by the Quaker Oats company to a perceived trademark problem (what we’d call dilution today), General Mills went with the simpler name Cheerios.

From a box sold in Martinez, California.

Chicken Casserole

2 c. Kix cereal, crushed (about 1 c.)
1/2 c. thinly sliced celery
1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1/2 c. swiss cheese
1 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
3/4 c. milk
2 Tbsp. onions–green
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves

2 cans chicken or tuna–2 (6-1/4 oz.), drained
1 (10 oz.) frozen green beans, drained
1 pkg. (7 oz.) elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

Topping below

Mix all ingredients and bake at 370 deg. for 30 minutes. Sprinkle topping.

Mix 1 c. Kix cereal slightly crushed, 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, and 1/2 c. swiss cheese. Cook 10 minutes or until warm.



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