Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Mix

I'm having one of those days. You know, THOSE days. Full of tantrums and teething and sleep deprivation. As soon as the kids were in bed I was hit with a wave of exhaustion and hunger. So I knew I needed a little pick me up so I could get a few things done this evening.

Everyone has their comfort food snack, mine is cinnamon toast. I used to eat it all the time back when I was a student trying to finish up projects. It's so cheap and easy and always available. The ingredients are always in my house.

Cinnamon Sugar Mix

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

This amount is enough to almost fill one of those little spice jars from the dollar store. I like them because they have a shaker lid.

I ended up having 3 giant slices. This combination of cinnamon and sugar was the perfect mix.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Garlic crouton mix

Lately I've been craving the 'all you can eat salad' from Eastside Mario's/Olive Garden/ect. The only problem is I don't feel like spending a ton of money on a meal or a take out salad. I was trying to think what was so delicious about THAT salad when it was just a few basic ingredients that we already have at home. Then it hit me... CROUTONS!!!!

Garlic Crouton Mix (single use)

1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Yes, it really is that simple. 3 ingredients to season.

What else you'll need

4 slices of bread
1/4 cup butter

Slice bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl with a lid.

Melt the butter and stir in the mix. Pour onto the bread cubes, then put the lid on the bowl to shake it around until cubes are nicely coated.

Spread cubes evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees until golden brown, flipping once.

These were amazing! They satisfied the urge for expensive salad and then some. Fresh, homemade croutons are in a complete league of their own. My husband begged for salad. My daughter called them 'toast cookies'. I had to make another batch because they went so quickly. I can't believe how expensive those crappy ones at the grocery store are in comparison.

I am hooked.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oatmeal Cookie Mix

My mom used to buy those packaged oatmeal cookies when we were kids, those kind that came in those little packets of 2. This week I wanted something simple with a similar taste so I decided to mix it up in the kitchen...

Oatmeal cookie mix (single use)

1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Big batch

5 cups quick oats
4 cups flour
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

It's important that you use quick oats- regular oats will give the cookies that dry, cardboard taste but quick oats make for a smoother cookie like those you can buy.

What else you'll need

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg (or substitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend butter, egg and vanilla and then stir in 3 1/4 cups of mix.

Roll dough into balls and flatten with a fork on a cookie sheet.

Bake for approx 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Oh... Wow! These were good. So good that after I had eaten one and gone upstairs to put the baby down for a nap they were all gone when I got back downstairs 2 minutes later. I guess I'll be making more....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ketchup Mix

There's always that one food you run out of but keep forgetting to buy every time you go shopping and for us lately that's been ketchup. One day I REALLY needed ketchup for my grilled cheese, but the baby was sleeping and I was home alone with no car. I knew I had to make do with what was in the house.

I looked at dozens of ketchup recipes and did 3 different test runs to get it just right. It's not exactly Heinz (if it were someone would probably have to kill me), but I have tasted and tasted until I've got it close enough.

Ketchup Mix (single use)

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
pinch cloves
pinch allspice

Big Batch (makes about 8 uses)

1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice

If you're making a 'single use' batch you should use brown sugar, as it will give that hint of molasses taste that's in commercial ketchup. I wouldn't suggest it for the big batch though as brown sugar tends to clump when stored over time. White sugar will also taste fine.

What else you'll need

1/3 cup hot water
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons vinegar

Combine 2 1/2 tablespoons of mix with water and stir well, then add vinegar and tomato paste. The hot water will dissolve everything and prevent lumpy, grainy ketchup.

The end result is so good that I might just switch to homemade. It's SO much cheaper to make your own and this way you know there isn't any MSG in it. It certainly did the trick for my grilled cheese...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lemon Dill Tuna Seasoning Mix

There was nothing to eat for lunch the other day so I went digging through the cupboards and found a can of tuna. I wanted something flavored so...

Lemon Dill Tuna Seasoning Mix (single use)

1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried lemon peel

What else you'll need

1 can tuna, drained
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine seasoning with tuna, oil and lemon and mix well.

I made a regular sandwich for myself and a seaweed wrap for my husband who is doing the paleo thing lately.

I like pickles on mine.

I rounded the meal out with some leftover veggies and dip.

This will be added to my 'there is nothing in the house for lunch' list of tricks up my sleeve. It was delicious!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BBQ popcorn and chip seasoning mix

Lately my oldest daughter's favorite snack is 'pawcorn'. I wanted to introduce her to some different flavors, but I didn't want her eating all the MSG and crap in the commercial seasonings so today I decided to mix it up...

BBQ popcorn and chip seasoning mix (big batch)

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

I put mine in a spice jar from the dollar store with a shaker lid. There was a little too much so I'm going to use the extras as a rub for chicken or fish at dinner time.

What else you'll need

Plain popcorn
Butter or oil (optional)

I saw on pinterest that you can make microwave popcorn in a pyrex bowl. You just put 1/4 cup of popcorn in the bowl, cover it with a plate and microwave for about 2 1/2-3 minutes. Remove the VERY HOT plate using oven mitts immediately so it doesn't get soggy.

Once the popcorn is ready drizzle it with oil or butter (unless you're doing the dieting thing... we're not...) and then sprinkle seasoning on liberally....

BBQ 'pawcorn' was a huge success! It tasted just like BBQ chips so I'll be using it on chips or french fries next time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Parmesan Herb Panko Crust Mix

We eat a lot of chicken and fish and I'm always on the lookout for new tastes to give us some variety. I very much enjoyed my cajun crusted sole, so I wanted something with the same crunch with a different taste.

Parmesan Herb Panko Crust Mix

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt

What else you'll need

1 tablespoon oil
4-6 pieces of fish or chicken
egg for coating (optional)

Combine mix with oil and stir well.

Coat each piece of fish/chicken in beaten egg (optional, I always skip this) and then dip it in the coating mix. Since I don't use egg I sprinkle the rest on top of the pieces when I'm done for extra crunch.

Bake the fish or chicken in the oven until golden brown (temperature and time dependent on what you're making)

I served mine with homemade fries, veggies and salad. It was very delicious. The Parmesan adds a salty taste, so you can probably omit the salt if you're on a low sodium diet.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cajun Kale Chip Seasoning

When I first heard about kale chips I was very skeptical. How can something that's half broccoli, half lettuce taste like chips? But everyone I knew kept raving about them, so I figured they must be right. And then one day in the grocery store I saw bags of seasoned flavored kale chips for sale for $7 for a tiny little bag, yet a giant bunch of plain kale was only $1.99. I knew at that moment I needed to mix it up...

Cajun Kale Chip Seasoning (big batch)

1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

What else you'll need

1 large bunch of kale
2 tablespoons oil

Kale comes in gigantic bunches, so this will make several batches.

For each batch tear 2 large kale leaves into small pieces like you would romaine lettuce for a salad.

Toss the leaves with oil and 1/4 teaspoon seasoning mix and spread evenly on a baking sheet.

To make kale chips that are neither soggy nor burnt, I put them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes(until you hear a sizzling noise) and then turn off the oven and let the tray sit in the warm oven for 5-10 minutes to dry out without burning. This makes for perfectly crispy chips.

These didn't taste ANYTHING like I expected them to. They were delicious and snacky and tasted nothing like regular kale! My husband, who always complains about broccoli ate two trays of them in one sitting. They were insanely good, and I'll be making them a lot!