Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sweet and Sour Meatball Sauce Mix

When I go to parties it's not the desserts that tempt me these days but the appetizers! I don't know where I developed this savory tooth lately but I guess it's a part of getting older. Last month I went to a my daughter's preschool Christmas party and couldn't get enough of...

Sweet and Sour Meatball Sauce Mix (single use)

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
pinch salt

What else you'll need

1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound cooked meatballs

I use my meatball mix to make the meatballs. Combine mix with water, vinegar and tomato paste and stir well.

Cook or reheat meatballs in a wok or saucepan and stir in sauce. Simmer them in the sauce until the sauce starts to thicken. This can also be done in the slow cooker.

Serve them as an appetizer:

Or as part of a meal:

These are a huge hit at my house!

Monday, January 28, 2013

French Salad Dressing Mix

I've been craving crisp delicious salads lately so the other day I bought a whole fridge load of fresh vegggies, but when I got home I realized we were completely out of dressing! So...

French Salad Dressing Mix (single use- makes about 1 cup (half a bottle))

3 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pinch cayenne

Big batch (makes 4 half bottles)

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

What else you'll need

3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar

(You can adjust levels of oil/vinegar depending on how much or little fat you want in your dressing. I like full fat.)

Combine 1/4 cup of mix with oil and vinegar and shake. I put mine in an old bbq sauce bottle that I use for making salad dressings. It's 500 ml (2 cups) which is the same size as most bottles of salad dressing.

We loved it! It was perfect on a romaine salad topped with tomato, strawberries and avocado.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Apple Pie Spice

One of my favorite Christmas gifts from my husband this year was an apple corer/slicer. I got sick of finding slimy apples with 3 bites out of them around the house but was too lazy to slice one up every time my 3 year old asked for one. Now I just whip that baby out and have a sliced up apple in 2 seconds. Any leftovers can be easily popped in the fridge for later consumption, baking or drying at no extra effort to me.

Now that it's so effortless to chop apples, and the cold weather makes using the oven a pleasure instead of a pain, I've been been able to whip up apple crisp any time I feel like it. I already use my: universal fruit crisp mix for the topping to make things easier, but I needed something to quickly season the apples underneath as well. So...

Apple Pie Spice (single use- for one pie)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch allspice
pinch ginger

Big batch (makes a whole spice bottle for multiple uses)

1/4 cup cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger

I sliced up my apples with my handy dandy cutter and put them into pyrex bowels before sprinkling on the spice. I like to do individual crisps- 2 bigger ones for mama and papa bear and a little one for baby bear. There is less mess, less dishes and less waste this way.

I covered the apples with crisp topping before baking in the oven at 350 until the topping began to brown and the apples below were tender.

This dessert is SO delicious but is loaded with fiber and is low in sugar. It's less fat and work than pie, although this spice works nicely for traditional pie, cakes and turnovers as well. I also had a dieting roommate who would make it WITHOUT the topping- just bake the apples and spice in the oven and eat it which is also incredibly delicious and 100% healthy. But I don't mind a little bit of topping myself...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fettuccine Alfredo Mix

First off, I am starting to add pin buttons to the bottom of my posts to make it easier for everyone to pin my recipes onto pinterest. I'm slowly working my way back through old recipes.

Also... wow is it ever cold. Like the other day I tried to take out the garbage and my back door was frozen shut. As a result I'm trying to cook with whatever I have in the house so I don't have to leave. Today I noticed we have a lot of pasta. So...

Fettuccine Alfredo Mix (single use)

2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch pepper

What else you'll need

1 cup uncooked pasta noodles (fettuccine is hard to measure in a cup so just grab a fistful about a quarter in diameter).
2 cups cold water
2 tablespoon butter

Combine mix, butter, noodles and water in a small saucepan and stir.

Simmer on medium heat until noodles are tender and sauce thickens.

Serve as a main dish or side. This is a Lipton's sidekick copycat recipe so it's lower in fat than regular alfredo but still very creamy.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chocolate Cake Mix

My husband's birthday was this week and we had his family over for a party. I normally cook and let someone else bring dessert, but since we had take out and it was his big day I made his favorite. Chocolate cake!

Chocolate Cake Mix (single use)

2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Big batch (makes 4 uses)

8 cups flour
7 cups sugar
4 cups cocoa powder
8 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt

What else you'll need

1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup oil
3 eggs (or substitute. I use applesauce which is even better!)

Blend wet ingredients in a bowl until frothy. Add 4 3/4 cups of mix to the wet ingredients and blend until smooth.

I made mine into cupcakes (easier to frost, harder to screw up and easier portion control for little ones...). Baking times will vary depending on size of cake pan(s) but bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until cake begins to harden on top.

I whipped up some creamy chocolate frosting for them since it was a special day and all, but I usually leave cake plain to cut back on the sugar.

This was seriously the best chocolate cake I had ever eaten. It was so moist and chocolaty and delicious. Everyone loved it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Posting: Chicken Chow Mein Mix at $5 Dinners

I'm guest posting today over at $5 dinners. It's a great site with countless affordable recipes and today my seasoning mix for chicken chow mein is featured.

Head on over and check out a delicious easy recipe that tastes just like take out: chicken chow mein seasoning mix.

Happy mixing!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blueberry Muffin Mix

This cold weather is giving me the urge to bake. The oven heats up the kitchen and makes me feel all cozy. It's been the perfect sort of weather for...

Blueberry muffin mix (single use)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

8 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups dried blueberries
1 cup powdered milk
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Dried fruit can be expensive, so I make my own. I don't own a food dehydrator (I'm short on counter space as it is!), but it's a little known secret that you can dry out fruit in your oven using a light bulb (think easy bake oven!). Just replace the oven bulb with a 100 watt NON ENERGY EFFICIENT bulb and leave it on all day. Voila, dried fruit with only the hydro cost of running a light bulb (and considering how many lights get left on in my house it's a blip on the radar believe me).

What else you'll need

1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 egg (or substitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons of mix with water, oil, egg and vanilla and stir well. Bake at 350 degrees F in muffin cups until tops begin to brown slightly.

These muffins are delicious, they didn't last the afternoon. My daughter is still young enough that I can get away with calling them cupcakes so she was thrilled.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Baba Ghanoush Seasoning Mix

I love Lebanese food! We have a little take out place on the corner that I go to way more often than I should. I think my second daughter was made up entirely of their food as I craved it all the time when I was pregnant with her. I get it whenever I want a fast food fix but don't want to eat garbage, but it gets pretty expensive so I learned how to make shawarma and falafel at home, and then recently I came up with this as well...

Baba Ghanoush Seasoning Mix

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch cumin
pinch cayenne

What else you'll need

1 eggplant
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice

For garnish

Olive oil
More dried parsley flakes

Roast the eggplant in the oven until tender and then scoop out the cooked insides into a bowl and pour seasonings on top.

Add tahini and lemon and blend mixture until smooth. Drizzle with olive oil and spinkle some parsley flakes on top for garnish. Serve as a dip with veggies or pita or use as a spread for shawarma, falafel or other sandwiches.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal Mix

It's been freaking cold outside lately and for the most part we've been staying inside where it's warm and cozy, eating warm and cozy foods. Mornings are coldest and nothing beats a hot breakfast when it's -28 with the wind chill. A hot breakfast like...

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal Mix (Single Use)

1/4 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

If you want to make a big batch it's best to just make a lot of single use packets in ziploc bags or small tupperwear containers. Brown sugar tends to clump in large mixes.

Combine mix in a bowl with 2/3 cup of water and microwave on high for 1 minute (or pour in 2/3 cup boiling water and cover for 3 minutes). For toddlers you can put in just 1/2 cup of water and it makes it much less messy and something they can eat with their fingers in solid form. My daughter eats it this way every morning even now that she's mastered a spoon.

It's a delicious hearty breakfast that will cost you just pennies to make. Those store bought packets are a huge waste of money, and saving money in January is on almost everyone's mind...