Family of N

Frugal Friday: Homemade Spice Mixes

Posted in Food, Frugality by Laura on January 15, 2009


Many of us aren’t getting the full value out of our spice collections. Our pantries have everything we need to season our foods, but we instead opt to buy spice packets every week so we can just dump the spices in the pan and be done with it. After all, who has time to get out the measuring spoons on Taco night?

Okay, well, the Professor and I usually do get out the measuring spoons on Taco night, but I’m not here to tell you that you have to. What I’d like to suggest instead is that you make your own “spice mixes” — homemade versions of things like seasoned salt, taco seasoning, steak seasoning, and stew seasoning. Given how slowly most of us go through those herbs and spices, making homemade mixes will save money otherwise spent on storebought mixes while allowing us to use something that we already own.

Plus, you can cut back on salt if your family needs to, kick the heat up or down in your taco mix depending on tastes, grind whole spices for fresher flavor, and most important to me, leave out anything that contains MSG.

Here are a few that the Family of N enjoys:

Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder
scant 1½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. dried oregano
scant ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper

For Tacos: Brown 1 pound ground beef or turkey. Drain. Add seasoning to taste and 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2/3 cup water. Simmer until thickened.

For Chili: Add seasoning as beef is browning.

Beef Stew Seasoning
½ part oregano
1 part basil
2 parts salt
2 parts pepper
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts paprika
1 part celery seed
2 parts onion powder
2 pinches rosemary

We use 1 Tablespoon of this to season a pot of stew.

Seasoning Salt

3 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash dill

And a new one we tried last night — we sprinkled it on chicken breasts and sauteed them in canola oil. So yummy! I got the recipe for the spice mix from Chef Michele.

Adobo Seasoning (makes 1/2 c.)
3 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

Use to season your favorite Latin American dishes.

What spice mixes do you use to save time in the kitchen? Try a homemade version and let us know how it goes!

3 Responses

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  1. Brooke said, on January 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    i do this for tacos, and make several batches at a time. my MIL gave us some “snack sized” zip lock bags (they were too small for her to do anything with) and i make up about 3 or 4 taco “packets” whenever i run out.

  2. Kristen said, on January 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    These look great, thanks for the recipes

  3. […] Homemade Taco Seasoning […]

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