Why pay someone to mix up a few spices?

Homemade Seasoning Mixes

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I use mix-your-own mixes in place of store brought chili mix, biscuit mix, and bread mix. What's your favorite make-your-own mix?

Instead of commercial taco seasoning:

1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce (I use "no salt added")

Add these ingredients to a pound of lean ground beef (which has been browned for about 10 minutes with a medium chopped onion and two cloves of minced or pressed garlic and then drained); stir and simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.

Instead of onion soup mix for dip:

2 tablespoons of toasted dried onion
2 envelopes HerbOx bouillon (I use the "no salt" variety)

Stir into a half pint of sour cream or plain yogurt. (I put the onion on foil in the toaster oven and watch it carefully as it browns quickly.)

Instead of canned enchilada sauce:

3 T flour
4 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 T garlic powder
2 T oil
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz each)
2 cans water

Combine dry ingredients, mix, add oil and stir well. Add sauce and water, mix, heat to boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Makes about 4 cups.

Instead of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix:

2 T lemon juice
1 clove garlic (pressed if you are not using a blender)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
freshly ground pepper to taste

Put this in a blender with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 cup olive oil and blend until smooth. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. (This is tart, so some people prefer 1/3 cup vinegar.)

Unfortunately, I can't give credit where it's due because I've been using these long enough to have forgotten where I got them.

Easy and Homemade - What's Better Than That?

Easy, Homemade Hamburger Helper® Alternative

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
16 oz pasta (we use whole wheat), cooked according to package directions

Drain pasta and combine with ground beef, then add:

2 (10 3/4 oz) cans of condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. prepared mustard

Cook on low heat until heated through. As an option, add six to eight strips of cooked, crumbled bacon.

Homemade Rice Side

1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
1 cup thin spaghetti, broken into 1/2" pieces
3 T. butter
2 3/4 cups water
1 T. beef, chicken, or vegetable bouillon powder or granules
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 T. parsley
1/4 tsp. dried thyme or poultry seasoning
1/8 t. black pepper

Melt butter in medium saucepan or skillet, add uncooked rice and pasta pieces, and stir about five minutes until pasta is lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not lift lid. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let steam an additional 5-10 minutes.

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Instant Stuffing Mix

3-1/2 cups unseasoned bread cubes
3 tablespoons dried celery flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sage
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter

To prepare stuffing, in a sauce pan over medium heat, bring water, butter and seasonings to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add bread cubes and mix gently. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Toss with a fork before serving. This equals one box.

Reviewed April 2017

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