Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Happys #4 - Spice Mixes

Last one! This was a special gift I made just for my BFF Sharonda. She's recently discovered how easy it is to make taco soup. It seems like every time I've seen her in the past two months we've been in the store getting taco seasoning  and ranch dressing packets to make soup! So, for her special Christmas happy, I made her some homemade seasoning mixes of each. I love these recipes because I can use considerably less salt than the store bought mixes and with the taco seasoning I can control the heat by keeping it pretty mild in the mix and adding a little red pepper or chili powder as I use it (or not, depending on who I'm feeding!). The taco mix is the one I've been using for a while at home.

I haven't actually used the ranch mix before, so I can't promise it's good (Update - Sharonda said it was yummy and she used all of it over Christmas!) If it's not I found at least a dozen different versions I can try. This one was a combo of some different ones, and it makes a lot. I filled that jar and another smaller jar. It would be easy to half or third this recipe for a smaller amounts. You can get close on the amounts that don't divide equally.

Ranch Dressing Mix

1 1/3 cup dried parsley
5 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp onion powder
2/3 cup dried minced onion
1 Tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup buttermilk blend powder

Mix everything but the buttermilk powder together and run through a food processor or blender (I used my little mini-chopper) to make a more powdery consistency. Add buttermilk powder and stir together. Store in air tight container.

3 Tbsp = 1 packet of mix

Salad dressing - In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup plus 6 Tbsp buttermilk and 3 tablespoons mix. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  

Ranch dip - In a small bowl, combine 2 cups (16 oz) sour cream and 3 tablespoons mix. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Taco Seasoning Mix

1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup chili powder
3 Tbsp salt (feel free to use less, I usually do)
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes or 1/2 Tbsp ground red pepper
2 tsp beef bullion
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Mix, stir, store in air tight container.

2 Tbsp = 1 packet of mix

To make taco meat - add 2 Tbsp mix plus 1/3 cup of water for each pound of ground beef.

I bought the jars at Kroger on sale for like $1.50 each. I had some other spice jars I'd planned to use but the mouths were too small to actually dip a tablespoon into them, so I decided to get some wide mouth jars. Since both recipes call for measurements in tablespoons, I included a Tbsp measuring cup from the sets I got at Fred's. I printed the tags with the amount to use and the recipes I included under each mix. I also put the ratio to make 1 packet on the label for easy reference, since I knew she'd be using it to replace "packets" in the taco soup recipe.

Whew. I think that covers everything I've made (so far) for this holiday season. I'd love to fill up a dozen tins with fudge and spiced almonds and caramel filled truffles... sigh. If I start making that stuff I'll go broke and then scarf half of it before it ever sees a tin. Maybe next year I can do a combo of gifts in a jar and baking. I'd like to try some soup mixes in a jar next year too!

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