Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Poultry Seasoning Mix

The cool weather of fall is creeping in slowly and with it comes the desire for slow cooked meals once again. Next week I'm going back to work part time after 3 years at home and the slow cooker will be in use quite a bit in the near future.

My favorite lazy meal is to put a whole chicken in the slow cooker rubbed in seasoning mix like Southern spice chicken rub or lemon pepper chicken rub. I decided to try a new one so here we go....

Poultry Seasoning Mix (makes enough to coat 1-2 chickens)

1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Rub mixture onto the chicken then place in the slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours.

When you get home you'll have a fully cooked delicious chicken waiting for you and it will smell so good that you can totally get away with serving it with boiled potatoes and microwaved peas like I did and STILL have your husband call you the greatest wife in the world. That's the power of a slow cooked seasoned chicken....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Masoor Daal Mix

My daughter has this weird obsession with rice. She loves it. Every time she sees me going into the kitchen to cook dinner she yells 'A rice! A rice!' in hopes that it's what I'm making. In the past few weeks I've been making us a pot of basmati rice every day at lunch time, but wanting her to eat something a little more substantial than that I've been topping it with a pouch of microwaveable daal. That baby loves her curries, but I realized for a daily habit that $2.69 a pouch was a little expensive for something that can be made for pennies. So inspiration hit....

Masoor Daal Mix (single use- makes enough for 2 large servings)

1/2 cup red lentils
1 1/2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

What else you'll need

2 cups water
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste

I use tomato paste in a tube which is double strength so I used only half a tablespoon. The kind in a tube is great for when you only need a little bit and don't want to open a whole can.

Combined the mix, water, oil and tomato paste in a small sauce pan and stir. Simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes until lentils are tender and mixture thickens. Serve with basmati rice.

My daughter and I both gobbled it up. I will be making this again soon! I might even experiment with a microwavable version in the near future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Parmesan Herb Dip Mix

We're still unpacking from vacation so I thought I would post a mix leftover from the Mix It Up party that I haven't used yet. Once we're settled in I'll be back in the Mix It Up kitchen trying some new things.

Parmesan Herb Dip Mix

Single Use

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
¾ teaspoon basil
¾ teaspoon oregano
¾ teaspoon rosemary
¾ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon salt

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

½ cup parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons mustard powder
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons salt

What else you’ll need

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream

Combine 5 tablespoons of mix with mayonnaise and sour cream, stirring well. Let dip sit in a covered dish in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors infuse.

This dip was pretty good, although the herb taste was a bit strong. I might omit the rosemary and thyme in the future if I wanted the dip to be more cheesy and less herb-y!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hunan seasoning mix

We are leaving for vacation again tomorrow so I'm posting today to make up for the fact I'll be gone for the rest of the week and the beginning of next....

I went out for Chinese food a couple weeks ago and ended up pretty much shaking from the giant dose of MSG. I am a huge fan of stir fries and Asian foods, but I am learning to cook them myself to avoid the shakes.

Hunan Seasoning Mix (single use)

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro
pinch cayenne
pinch mustard seeds

What else you'll need

1 pound boneless skinless beef, pork or chicken cut in cubes or strips
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Combine meat, oil and soy sauce and marinade meat for 30 minutes-1 hour, then stir fry on medium high.

I served mine with rice and steamed baby carrots. I used to stir fry my veggies with the meat but I find steaming them makes them easier for my daughter to chew while she's still little. My husband LOVED this recipe and wanted to eat it for every meal for 2 days. It has a pleasant sesame pepper taste to it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tabbouleh Mix

It's sad what motherhood has reduced me to sometimes, but an exciting outing for me these days is going shopping at Costco and trying all the samples. I always make sure I go close to lunch or dinner time so I can hit as many as those little tables as possible.

Last week one of the samples was tabbouleh salad which was very delicious but also very expensive considering how cheap the ingredients are. I had also seen several boxes of various 'tabbouleh mix' in the grocery stores lately so I knew I needed to mix it up!

Tabbouleh Mix Single Use

½ cup cous cous
1 tablespoon sun dried tomato finely chopped
¾ teaspoon parsley
¾ teaspoon dried mint
¾ teaspoon dried chives
¾ teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried garlic flakes
Pinch pepper

What else you'll need

3/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine mix ingredients, oil and lemon in a bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Pour in boiling water and stir, then cover with a plate and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve warm or chilled.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chili Seasoning Mix

We've been trying to buy organic for the dirty dozen lately but it's just IMPOSSIBLE to find organic bell peppers, and I need them to make tasty foods like fajitas, spaghetti sauce and chili.

This summer I grew bell peppers in my garden so I could have some 'organic' ones to cook with and this week a squirrel knocked a semi ripe one loose (those stupid squirrels) and forced me to use it a little early. So I made... Chili!

Chili Seasoning Mix (single use)

2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
pinch cloves

What else you'll need

1 pound ground beef, browned or vegetarian alternative
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 bell pepper, diced

Brown the beef and then throw all ingredients into a stock pot or slow cooker and simmer until peppers are tender.

It was very delicious and my daughter especially loved it. She kept yelling 'It's a chili!' all night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Butterscotch Pudding Mix

After staring at some boxes of pudding mix in the dollar store recently and wondering how my daughter would like pudding, I decided to try my own mix. I had made chocolate pudding at the Mix It Up party this spring (but forgotten to take pictures!) so I thought I would try another flavor.

Butterscotch Pudding Mix (single use)

1/4 cup powdered milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
pinch salt

What else you'll need

1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons melted butter

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, or if making fat free pudding, omit entirely. I used it but feel it may have tasted better without. Combine the mix and water in a bowl and stir until well mixed, then pour into the saucepan. Simmer the pudding, stirring frequently until it begins to thicken. Pour into a glass bowl and store covered in the fridge until chilled, then serve.

I felt it tasted like butterscotch pudding, but I am not a pudding person so my husband will eat it later tonight and probably love it. My daughter gave it a good try like the adventurous eater she is, but asked for applesauce instead.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Faux Hamburger Helper Mix

I grew up a bit of a food snob. We turned out noses down at ground beef dishes like sloppy joes and shepherd's pie. When it came to processed and semi-processed food- forget it! Which is why until last night I had never eaten anything resembling hamburger helper in my entire life.

Mixing it up has made me open to new things and I'm glad it has. Unless it's got eggs, I'm determined to try anything I can think of a mix for. I noticed some tempting looking boxes of hamburger helper on sale in the grocery store last week, but they all had MSG, which doesn't sit well with me. So....

Faux Hamburger Helper Mix (single use)

1/4 cup powdered milk
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch basil
pinch oregano
pinch celery seed
pinch cayenne

What else you'll need

1 pound ground beef
375 grams (about 12 ounces) of uncooked pasta noodles
6 cups water

Brown the beef until fully cooked. Combine mix with 1 cup of the water and stir until smooth and pour into pot with beef, then add other water and noodles. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until noodles are fully tender and sauce is thick.

I've never eaten the 'real stuff' to compare it to, but my husband said and he says it's similar only better- like comparing fresh baked Mac and Cheese to Kraft Dinner. Whatever the case, I liked it quite a bit and my 2 year old daughter ate 3 plates of it. I am no longer a hamburger helper snob!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pickling Spice Mix

It's always been a dream of mine to have a big vegetable garden, but over the years something always stood in my way- living in an apartment or out of the country, being hugely pregnant, having a colicky newborn or a 1 year old that wouldn't stop eating rocks and dirt. But this year with a 2 year old who could safely play in the yard while I gardened I finally got my wish!

It was a bit of an experiment this year, but my best crop so far has been a spur of the moment choice at the garden center- pickling cucumbers! Every time a bunch ripen I make a couple jars of pickles out of them. I LOVE pickles. I think everybody does.

Pickling Spice Mix (makes enough for an army of pickles)

2 tablespoons peppercorns
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
8 bay leaves crumbled
1 cinnamon stick crumbled

I put my cinnamon stick in a bag and smashed it with a wrench to get it into little bits.

What else you'll need (for each jar of pickles)

1 pint (500 ml) Mason jar
2-3 large pickling cucumbers, sliced
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1.5 teaspoons pickling or sea salt
1 sprig of fresh dill
1 clove garlic, peeled

Use 1 teaspoon of pickling spice for every pint jar of pickles made. Place pickling spice, dill, garlic and sliced pickles in the jar.

Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil in a saucepan and then pour it into the jar on top of the cucumbers. Seal and cool, then store in the fridge. Pickles will be ready to eat in 2 weeks and last for at least 2 months. If you want pickles to store in the cupboard all winter you have to sterilize the jars and then boil them again once they are full and sealed. I don't have a big enough pot so I had to make 'refrigerator pickles'. I can't see them lasting more than 2 months in my house anyway...

Once you have waited the 2 weeks for your pickles (or in my case 12 days as I cheated), your pickles will be ready to eat and looking very pickle-licious. Nom nom nom....