It’s a great idea to keep your own stash of cooking mixes handy. I prefer to make my own with the ingredients I have right in my pantry. I save money that way and I know what’s in my mixes. Most of the time, with a minimum of preservatives. Here’s some DIY mixes I have on hand all the time, with the exception of those that require cooking or preparation immediately for the dish I’m making.
Taco Seasoning (mild)
- ½ c. + 1 T. chili powder
- 3 T. cumin
- 1 T. salt
- 1 T. ground pepper
- 1 T. paprika
- 2 T. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. oregano
For a spicier mix, add up to 2 tsp. red pepper flakes or up to 2 tsp. more of the chili powder. Use 2 ½ Tbsp. seasoning for each pound of meat. Stores well in a plastic zipper bag or small jar.
Hot Cocoa Mix
- 2 c. non-fat dry milk
- ½ c. baking cocoa
- 1 c. sugar (or substitute)
- ¼ tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use as much as you need for your individual taste per cup.
Seasoned Baking Mix (for meat)
- 1 c. bread crumbs
- ½ c. flour
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients and store the mixture in a resealable container or zipper bag. This will keep in the pantry up to four months, depending on the humidity. It’s okay to freeze or refrigerate this mix. Easily doubled or tripled. Use recipe one cup at a time as you would the commercial mix. I like to dip my chicken in a mixture of ½ c. milk (or buttermilk, which you can also make yourself) and one beaten egg. I also make my own bread crumbs using stale bread or the crusts of bread by pulverizing them in a blender. The crumbs can be stored in the fridge too for use in other recipes.
Hot Fudge Topping
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa
- 1 c. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Salt to taste
Combine first four ingredients in a small saucepan. Add cold milk gradually, stirring constantly and cook until thickened. Just before it thickens, add the vanilla.
- 3 c. chicken broth 1 tsp. cumin
- 3/4 tsp. salt 3 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 heaping tsp. garlic powder 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp sugar or substitute 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. oregano 8 oz. can tomato paste
- 5 Tbsp. cold water 5 Tbsp. flour
In a 2 quart saucepan, blend broth, cumin, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, cocoa, oregano, and sugar. Whisk to blend well. As mixture is heating, slowly blend in the tomato paste. Heat to boiling, then quickly reduce heat to a low boil. Cook for 3 minutes more. Whisk frequently to thoroughly dissolve spices.
While sauce simmers, make a thickener adding flour to the water 1 tablespoon at a time. (Whisk or shake vigorously in a shaker to avoid lumps.) Use more flour as needed. While sauce is at a low boil, add thickener, stirring constantly. If sauce forms a skin while cooling, peel it off and toss it. This particular homemade specialty will impress you and your family or guests. It’s much tastier and, like I said, you know what’s in it.
Eazy Peazy Pizza Crust
1 ½ c. Baking mix 1/3 c. boiling water
Make a soft dough from the mix and water, using a little flour to keep dough from being too sticky. Boiling the water is what will make the crust more chewy and flavorful. Makes enough for one pizza or 4 six-inch pizzas, depending on how thick you like your crust. If you know how to make your own baking mix, all the better.
Just for Fun: The Classic English Breakfast
Eggs, Sausage, Bacon, Toast, Mushrooms, Beans, Sliced tomatoes, and of course, Tea.