Friday, January 9, 2015

Mixes you should make yourself.

For most of my recipes I couldn't tell you exactly what was in it if I wanted to. I'm more of a what's in the pantry, pinch of this, palmful of that, kinda cook. For these mixes though you really need a standard to start from so I am passing on the ones that I use from Amy Dacyczyns' book "The Tightwad Gazette". Having these mixes on hand are essential to the way I cook because I don't pick a meal and grocery shop for it, I go through my groceries and pick a meal. For these mixes I save up the seasoning shakers from the store or seal them in mason jars. This is a great way to use the older ones that you might be unsure of canning with due to age!

Seasoned Salt
8T salt, 3T pepper, 2T paprika, 1/2T onion powder and 1/2T garlic powder.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an airtight container.

Taco-Seasoning Mix
6t chili powder, 4 1/2t cumin, 5t paprika,3t onion powder,2 1/2t garlic powder and 1/4t cayenne pepper. We use a lot of this so I usually triple the recipe. You can adjust the heat to whatever you prefer. This mix is actually twice as strong as the store bought kind, so I use about a tablespoon /lb. Adding 2T of Masa to this mix makes it richer and tastes even more like the store kind.

Cream Soup Mix
2c dry milk, 11/4c cornstarch (or 2 1/2c flour), 1/4c chicken bullion powder, 2T dried onion flakes, 1/2t pepper, (1t thyme and 1t basil, optional). Mix all ingredients. If the mix is made with cornstarch, add 1/3c mix to 1 1/4c water; if the mix is made with flour, add 1/2c mix to 1 1/4c water. This makes a concentrated consistency. For soup consistency double the water. Simmer until thick. Add mushroom=cream of mushroom, diced celery=cream of celery... I use this to thicken stews, add alittle to give broth a richness and if I make gravy too thin. Always mix into cool liquid first or cornstarch will clump.

Seasoned-Rice Mix (like rice a roni)
3c uncooked rice, 1/4c dried parsley, 6T chicken or beef bullion powder, 2t onion powder, 1/2t garlic powder, 1/4t dried thyme. Mix all ingredients. Cook just like rice: 1c rice, 2c water and 2T butter. Bring to boil, cover, reduce to simmer for 20 min.

These are from other recipe books.

Salt Free Herb Blend
(this great if your trying to reduce your salt use)
5t onion powder, 2 1/2t garlic powder, 2 1/2t paprika, 1 1/4t thyme, 1/2t pepper, 2 1/2t dry mustard.

BBQ Spice Rub
1c brown sugar, 1/4c paprika, 1T pepper, 1T salt, 1T chili powder, 1T onion powder,1t cayenne. This is a great rub for ribs, chops, chicken, etc. Liberally rub meat and place in fridge for an hour to overnight.

Lemon Pepper
Slice lemons as thin as possible. Dry either in a 200' oven until crisp or in a dehydrator. Pulverize in a food processor. Run through a sieve or strainer to get out any large chunks of rind that didn't break up. Add pepper. I do this because I don't like the amount of salt that is in the store brands.

These are all herbs and spices that I keep in my pantry all the time. Buying in bulk reduces the cost of these mixes even more. The best part is that you have control over the amount of salt, heat, and can adjust any part of it that you want. If it's something that you use a lot of, you also get the benefit of saving money and if you have the ingredients anyway, you can never look in the cabinet and be frustrated because your out of it. The ones that I use a lot of I double or triple the recipe.