I was talking with a friend the other day about how living mindfully means that you must spend time planning ahead. I used the example of gardening and how I must decide in March or April what I want to eat in October or November. One thing I always know I am going to rely on in my kitchen are ready made seasoning mixes.
When I was first learning how to cook, I relied on packages of seasoning to make my meals palatable. Over time, the cost of those packages added up. I eventually learned to make several different mixes myself using herbs from the farmer’s market or grocery store. Not only did this cut down my expenses, but they tasted so much better. As an added bonus, I avoided ingesting chemicals such as maltodextrin, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and ethoxyquin.
Now, I have a little piece of dirt I have reclaimed from the bush for my herbs. I have planted chives, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, mint, and feverfew. It looks like they all survived the winter. I still need to buy some herbs from the grocery store or our local co-op, but the bulk of them I grow in my little plot of dirt or, in the case of hot peppers, in a pot by the front door. Throughout the summer and fall I harvest my herbs and use them in a few favorite seasoning mixes. These ones are my favorites.
The mix that started it all was a mix for tacos. I don’t know where this recipe originally came from as I have been using it since the internet was a baby. I may have actually have gotten it from a book from the library. Now that my kids have moved out on their own, we don’t seem to eat tacos as much. However, I really like a tablespoon of this mix sprinkled over buttered popcorn.
Taco Seasoning Mix:
- 1/4 cup minced dried onions OR 1 package of onion soup mix
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 TBS chili powder
- 2 TBS cornstarch
- 2 tsp dried red peppers
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 TBS garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight jar.
For tacos, mix 2 TBS of seasoning mix to 1 cup of water. Mix well. Add to browned meat and cook until the water has evaporated.
I sprinkle a tablespoon over buttered popcorn for a snack. You can use 2 tablespoons but I find that the peppers I grow are too hot and I’m not tough enough for 2 tablespoons worth of seasoning mix.
I use this Italian dressing mix to make salad dressing that I can then use on a salad, to flavor pasta salad, or as a marinade for chicken.
Both me and The Man enjoy a meal of fried chicken. I believe that the addition of this seasoning to the chicken makes all the difference. I really, really like sage and there is a fair amount of it in this recipe.
Venison Sausage Patty Seasoning:
Last year, we made sausage patties from the deer we took in the fall. I used this recipe and it was a winner. This year, I am going to experiment with a new seasoning mix based on the sausage recipe we used so I will be ready for hunting season. When I am sure it works, I will post the recipe.
How about you? Do you make your own seasoning mixes? Do you grow any of your own ingredients? Please feel free to share your favorite seasoning mix recipe in the comment section.