Monday, May 30, 2011

Roasted Potato Seasoning Mix

You can buy a packaged version of this mix, but I don't like the idea of eating silicone dioxide so I came up with a similar tasting homemade version.

Single Use

1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon thyme

Big Batch (makes 6 uses)

2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme

What else you’ll need

1 pound potatoes cut in wedges or cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Toss the potatoes in oil in a bag or covered bowl, then add 2 tablespoons of mix and continue to shake until potatoes are evenly coated. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

These are so good, they taste way better than regular french fries. I served them with some salad and meatloaf (which is another fabulous mix coming soon!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pulled Pork Seasoning Mix

Every year my husband looks forward to Ribfest like it's Christmas. He works downtown on the street where it's held and the sweet smell of BBQ sauce wafts in his windows for a week. His favourite is the pulled pork sandwhiches, so I thought I would try to create a mix variation to get him pumped up for the big event.

Pulled pork seasoning mix (single use)

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

What else you'll need

2 pounds boneless pork or chicken
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar

I used chicken because I don't really like pork. Throw all ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours. Shred the meat with a fork when it's done and mix it in with the sauce.

Serve hot on buns. My husband said even though it was chicken it tasted just like pulled pork. He was a pretty happy man that day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shawarma Seasoning Mix

Every city has its cheap take out specialty and we live in Ottawa, the city of Shawarma. When you're downtown there is literally a shawarma shop on every block and although they are delicious, they're also very questionable looking. I saw a packet of shawarma seasoning in the store once and decided to try making a home version that won't give me food poisoning!

Single Use

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

¼ cup chili powder
¼ cup coriander powder
4 teaspoons cardamom powder
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

What else you’ll need

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut in strips
Mayonnaise mixed with garlic

Combine 3 tablespoons of mix with chicken breasts and marinade in a covered bowl in the fridge.

Cook chicken on a grill pan, indoor grill or frying pan.

Serve on pitas with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and garlic mayo. I made some fried potato cubes to go on the side.

These shawarmas tasted just like real shawarmas, only not exactly because they tasted much better!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thousand Islands Salad Dressing Mix

Apparently thousand islands salad dressing tastes exactly the same as Big Mac Sauce. I will have to take other people’s word for it as I have never eaten a Big Mac.

Single Use

¼ cup buttermilk powder
1 teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon onion flakes
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon dill

What else you’ll need

1 cup mayonnaise
¾ cup water
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons relish

I can't eat eggs, so I had to taste it before the Mayo was added, but everyone at the Mix it up party said it tasted exactly right. I altered the recipe to make it more mix friendly and to use more common ingredients. I don't like having to buy weird things that only get used for one recipe.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bacon Chili Cheese Dip Mix

I hosted a Mix it up taste test party on the weekend for a few people and all of them agreed that the Bacon Chili Cheese Dip Mix was the best one. I decided that instead of emailing the recipe to everyone who asked for it that I would just make it my next blog post!

Bacon Chili Cheese Dip Mix Single Use

1 ½ teaspoons bacon bits
1 ½ teaspoons cheese powder
1 ½ teaspoons dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried garlic flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

2 tablespoons bacon bits
2 tablespoons cheese powder
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne

What else you’ll need

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream

Combine 2 tablespoons of mix with mayonnaise and sour cream, stirring well. Leave dip in a covered container in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors infuse.

The cheese powder is basically that orange Kraft dinner powder and can be purchased at a bulk food store or stolen from a box of KD.

This dip can also be made with only sour cream for those like me who are intolerant of eggs, or for those who want to make it lower fat.

This dip also makes a great baked potato topper, which is what all our leftover dip is going to become tonight!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Universal Fruit Crisp Mix

Whenever I need to make dessert for company in a hurry, or have bought too much fruit and need to get rid of it, I make a crisp. It takes almost no effort and tastes amazing.

Universal Fruit Crisp Mix Single Use

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Big batch-makes 4 uses

4 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

If you're making a big batch you'll need to break up the brown sugar clumps each time you use it and shake it to evenly distribute the ingredients.

What else you’ll need

1 pound of diced fruit (apples, peaches, pears, mangos, ect…)
½ cup melted butter

Combine 1 ¾ cups of mix with butter and spread it on top of the fruit in a glass baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

I made mine with a bag of frozen mangoes because they were on sale. It tastes great with whatever fruit I choose to make it with though.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shepherd's Pie Seasoning Mix

I used to think I hated shepherd's pie, but I had only eaten disgusting cafeteria style versions and had never tried a proper home cooked one. I wanted to give it a taste, because trying to save money means eating more ground beef. It’s cheap, it’s versatile and a little goes a long way.

Shepherds Pie Seasoning Mix (single use)

2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons bouillon mix
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

What else you’ll need

1 pound ground beef
½ cup water
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
4 cups mashed potatoes

Combine mix with water until fully dissolved, then add ground beef and mix thoroughly. Brown beef mixture until cooked then add veggies and cook until heated. Spread meat and veggie mixture in a large glass baking pan and top with mashed potatoes. Bake in oven until heated and the top of the potatoes begin to brown.

It was actually really good, so good that I've started making it often. My daughter especially loved it because of all the tiny vegetables mixed in with the beef.

Friday, May 6, 2011

(Vegan) Pad Thai Sauce Mix

Every time we order Thai take out my husband orders pad Thai. I figured if I could find a way to make it at home we would save a fortune. He actually likes this version better than the take out kind! This sauce is vegan so it can be made into vegetarian pad Thai or one made with chicken or shrimp. Some pad Thai recipes use fish sauce but I tested it both ways and found the one made with soy sauce to be far superior tasting.

Single Use

3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried chives
½ teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon dried garlic flakes
¼ teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon pepper

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

¾ cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons dried chives
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon pepper

What else you’ll need

½ package thick rice noodles, cooked
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce

Optional extras

Leftover cooked chicken
Cooked shrimp
Scrambled egg
Fresh garnish (bean sprouts, chives, cilantro)

Combine ¼ cup of mix with lemon juice, oil and soy sauce and mix well, then toss with cooked rice noodles. Add in any extras you want like chicken, shrimp, egg, tofu or veggies.

We put leftover roasted chicken and red pepper slices on ours. It was the best Pad Thai I've ever eaten.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Improved Dill Pickle Popcorn Seasoning

I’ve been checking out the stats on my blog traffic lately and what I’ve found is that aside from my regular readers, I’m getting a lot of hits through search engines. It seems the three biggest mixes are bouillon, burrito seasoning and dill pickle popcorn seasoning.

I stand by my bouillon and burrito seasoning mixes 100%, but I’ve always been a bit disappointed in my dill pickle seasoning. It’s good enough to eat, but it doesn’t have that mouth puckering sourness that everyone looks for in a dill pickle seasoning. I think it would be more aptly named ‘herb and dill popcorn seasoning’.

Anyway, heaven forbid should I disappoint strangers on the internet. That just won't do. So I went to work in my Mix it Up lab to create the perfect dill pickle popcorn seasoning. After four attempts with various ingredients I think I nailed it.

Dill Pickle Popcorn Seasoning

2 tablespoons dill weed
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons ascorbic acid powder

Ascorbic acid powder can be purchased at most bulk food or health food stores in small bottles. It’s very concentrated so it lasts a long time, and it gives it that sour pickle taste that the other one was lacking.

Because we didn’t feel like having popcorn, my husband and I did our taste testing on homemade potato chips. It makes an amazing chip seasoning too for those who want to try it. I love dill pickle chips even more than the popcorn!

In the end I was able to create a seasoning that while not identical to the commercial ones (with all their filler, chemicals and MSG), it still has that sour dill pickle taste that everyone seems to crave. With this recipe I feel I can finally sleep at night knowing I’m not letting down any strangers on google anymore.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Souvlaki Mix

In the past year we’ve made two big decisions: To switch to local free range organic meats, and to spend a few years as a single income family to keep our daughter at home with me. Because of these choices, one thing that really had to go was slab-of-meat meals. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In many other, healthier cultures meat is seen as a side dish rather than the main event. It hasn’t made too much impact either- my husband sits down to dinner and sees at least some meat in it and doesn’t question how much.

Basically what I need to do most days is take 2 small chicken breasts, chop them into little pieces and make a meal big enough to feed the 3 of us for dinner as well as lunch the next day. This usually happens in the form of some type of stir fry and everybody is happy.

The warm weather however has brought the scent of neighbor’s BBQ’s wafting in our windows and a discontented husband asking for BBQ chicken. After a little bit of thinking I came up with the perfect solution! Souvlaki!

Souvlaki Mix (single use)

1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon dried garlic flakes
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon thyme

What else you’ll need

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken or pork cut in cubes

Other optional items

Tzaziki sauce

Combine the mix, lemon, olive oil and meat in a covered bowl and let it marinade in the fridge for a few hours.

Spear the meat pieces onto metal or soaked wooden skewers and grill on the BBQ on high until meat is full cooked.

We served ours on pitas with salad, tomatoes, cucumbers and homemade tzaziki sauce (mix recipe to follow in the near future). Those 2 little chicken breasts made 6 very large and satisfying sandwiches and my husband was overjoyed that the delicious smell of grilling meat wafting in the windows was finally for him again.