Friday, November 30, 2012

Vegetable Soup Mix

Baby it's cold outside! The snow is here for the season now and that means sledding, constant runny noses and SOUP! Some days I make elaborate homemade soups that can't compare with anything else. But other days I'm sick, or I want to spend my time sledding with my oldest daughter and then whip something up quickly as fast as I can. Store bought soups and soup mixes have such a gross aftertaste, so that's why I need to mix it up...

Vegetable Soup Mix (single use)

1 vegetable bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon bouillon mix)
1/4 cup dehydrated vegetable flakes
1/4 cup soup noodles (I used alphabet)

Yep, that's it. 3 ingredients. So easy.

What else you'll need

1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups water

Combine mix, tomato paste and water in a small saucepan and simmer, stirring well to dissolve the bouillon and tomato paste first.

Cover and simmer until noodles and vegetables are tender. It's the best soup you'll eat for so little work. I ate the whole pot in one sitting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lemon Garlic Aioli Sauce Mix

My husband loves dipping things in mayonnaise, so I knew this sauce would be perfect to serve to him with our crab cakes last week.

Lemon Garlic Aioli Mix (single use)

3/4 teaspoon garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel
pinch salt
pinch pepper

What else you'll need

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine mix with mayo and stir well.

Let it sit in the fridge for a while for the flavor to infuse, then serve as a dipping sauce for seafood (or whatever you wish). I didn't try it because I can't eat eggs, but my husband said it was amazing. He used the leftovers to dip his french fries in the next day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crab Cake Seasoning Mix

A while back my husband was complaining that we don't eat enough crab. You know, because we're such millionaires and all. I think I've made crab legs once in the entire 7 years I've been with him. To appease him I picked up a few cans of canned crab and figured I could make something affordable with that. It took me a while to get around to it, but this week I made:

Crab cake seasoning mix (single use)

1 tablespoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried lemon peel
pinch paprika
pinch pepper

What else you'll need

1/2 pound crab meat (2 cans drained)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup mayo
flour for dusting

Combine seasoning with bread crumbs and then stir in crab and mayo. Chill in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

Form cakes and dust with flour, then fry in butter, olive oil or a combination of both until each side is golden brown.

I made a second batch without mayo (they were super crumbly) because I can't have eggs, but I also made Jay a lemon garlic aioli for dipping (this was a mix as well, coming soon). Those things got gobbled up FAST.

I sometimes make these using canned salmon as well, which is even cheaper and is very healthy. Those are also delicious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Old Bay Seasoning Mix

I hate when you're all set to cook something and you realize the recipe calls for some sort of seasoning you just don't have. That happened to me today when I wanted to make crab cakes for dinner. I didn't have any Old Bay Seasoning.

Old bay seasoning is used to crab dishes, but also shrimp, potato chips, fries, salads, fried chicken, eggs, corn on the cob, peanuts and potatoes. I decided to mix up my own to try it out.

Old Bay Seasoning Mix

1 1/2 tablespoons celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled bay leaves (about 3-4 leaves)
3/8 teaspoon allspice
3/8 teaspoon ginger
3/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
3/8 teaspoon cinnamon

(to get 3/8 a teaspoon use 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon)

This amount of mix will fit well in an empty spice jar from the dollar store.

I didn't have time to make the crab cakes tonight so I'm making them tomorrow, but I seasoned some popcorn with it tonight to test it out. It was a little spicy, but very delicious.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Instant Stuffing Mix

I don't ever eat stuffing that's made inside a turkey- it's one of the most common ways to get food poisoning over the holidays. But it also doesn't feel right to eat the kind out of a box either (although it is pretty tasty). As a compromise, I figured out how to make my own stuffing mix to cook in a pot. No chemicals and no salmonella either!

Stuffing Mix (single use)

1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon paprika

What else you'll need

2 slices stale bread cut in cubes
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter

Combine mix with water and butter in a small saucepan and simmer.

Add bread cubes and stir, then turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for a few minutes.

Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

I served my stuffing with chicken drumsticks, baked potatoes, green beans and carrots. It was delicious.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creamy Vegetable Primavera Mix

My husband is back on his potato kick and I've been craving pasta. Last night I decided that he could have a potato and I would just make my own side dish. So I knew it was time for a new mix... This is a another Sidekicks copycat recipe.

Creamy Vegetable Primavera Mix

1 cup uncooked pasta noodles
1/4 cup dehydrated veggie flakes
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pinch pepper

What else you'll need

2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons butter

Combine mix with water in a saucepan and stir until smooth then add butter.

Simmer in the pot on medium heat, stirring often until pasta is tender and sauce thickens.

My husband and daughter ate their beloved potatoes. I ate the whole pot of pasta myself. It was that good.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Butterscotch Blondie Mix

My oldest daughter is extremely sensitive to the caffeine in chocolate. I swear she could eat a single chocolate chip at 9 in the morning and still be awake from it at midnight. This has made baking kind of difficult, especially brownies, which are one of our favorites.

But then I thought of something...

Butterscotch Blondie Mix (single use)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
2/3 cup butterscotch chips (or chocolate chips, nuts, candy, ect in any combination)

Because of the clumping properties of brown sugar (which is essential to the flavor of blondies), it's not advised to make a 'big batch' of blondie mix. BUT, you can make a bunch of single batches in jars to use later or give as gifts. You can do more elaborate layering and use a large mason jar if it's a gift. I just dumped the ingredients in and used an old peanut butter jar myself.

What else you'll need

1/2 cup butter
1-2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth and then stir in mix and stir. It helps to shake the contents of the jar to mix them before pouring them into the bowl with the wet ingredients.

Pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until sides begin to brown.

Let the blondies COMPLETELY cool before cutting or they will crumble. I had to hide mine from my husband and child while I went out to get groceries. But oh, they were worth the wait!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Italian Seasoning Mix

A lot of recipes call for Italian seasoning. To me it always seemed stupid to buy another container of something that's made up of ingredients I already have plenty of. My dad grows herbs in his garden, so I always have a huge surplus of them. It would be a waste for me to buy something that's made up of several of the herbs he grows.

Italian seasoning has many uses, including sprinkling it on pizza, in pasta, on homemade bread (like foccacia), or on chicken, fish, pork, potatoes...

Italian Seasoning Mix

1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons sage

This amount will fill one of those empty spice jars from the dollar store.

We are trying to eat as cheaply as possible for the next couple of months because in one month from today I will have my dream kitchen! This is very exciting for me but also very expensive. There go our savings.

In spirit of our cheap eats, tonight for dinner I took a lasagna pan, put in 4 chicken legs, some frozen beans and carrots and some cubed potatoes and then sprinkled Italian seasoning liberally on all of it.

I covered it with tin foil, baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour, then uncovered for another 15 minutes and voila! Super easy, super cheap dinner! The Italian seasoning gave it a little more flavor without adding any cost.

This one was a hit for sure!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Improved French Onion Soup Mix

I've become so good at mixing it up in the past couple of years that I've been going over old posts lately and wanting to remake the ones I didn't LOVE. I remember that the onion soup mix was one of them.

Onion soup mix is an amazing thing regardless, because it has so many other uses. I mix it with sour cream and make dip, or use it to season beef stew, or coat my pot roast in it. But I wanted an onion soup that I could also use AS an onion soup. So...

French Onion Soup Mix (single use)

1/4 cup dried onion flakes
1 beef bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon beef bouillon)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon celery seed

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

1 cup dried onion flakes
4 beef bouillon cubes (1/4 cup beef bouillon)
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Combine 1/4 cup mix with 2 cups of boiling water and let it sit covered until onion bits are tender.

I wanted the full experience so I topped it with croutons and shredded cheese.

I put it under the broiler for a couple minutes to get it nice and melted.

This version was MUCH better. I loved every bite of it!