Cream Soup Mix

homemade cream soup mix

Canned cream of “___” soup, how I love thee!  Let me count the ways.  You don’t curdle in the slow cooker. What kind of chemical wizardry allows this?  Any dish I pour you in, becomes an instant child favorite.  You are a time saving genius.  But alas, you carry a suitcase full of MSG headaches and I’m afraid what your chemical  wizardry will do to my insides.  We won’t part ways forever….I’m just saving you for special times. Read more

Homemade Seasoned Salt

homemade seasoned salt blend

Seasoned salt gives that little something special to homemade baked fries, vegetable dips, and tacos! We are big fans of Lowry’s seasoned salt, especially since is MSG free, but homemade mixes are my thing too!

Homemade Seasoned Salt Blend

1/2 cup salt

2 Tbs sugar (or truvia)

4 tsp paprika

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp ground celery seed

Combine all and put in a shaker jar.  (Did you know parmesan jar lids fit on regular mouth mason jars, and spaghetti jars etc…?)

Homemade Alfredo Sauce Mix

Alfredo sauce is mostly cream and butter with a touch of garlic and maybe some white wine.  This recipe is a lot lighter than that, but still gives the creamy texture and mouthful of flavor that you’re hoping for.  The original mix I created has pasta already in it for a fast skillet in 1 dish, but you can leave it out to just make the sauce for pizza or something like that.  If you want it to be REALLY rich and creamy, when preparing the final dish replace a cup of milk with a can of evaporated milk.

homemade light alfredo sauce mix

8 oz Fettucini, broken into pieces (whole grain pasta works fine)

2 T flour (or 1 Tbs Cornstarch for gluten free)

2 T powdered instant skim milk

1/2 t basil

1 t lemon pepper

1/2 t garlic powder

1 t salt

1/2 C parmesean cheese

Mix all in a quart bag. To prepare. Pour mix into a skillet with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of milk. Stir well until all the powders are blended and noodles are well moistened. Bring just to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it cools. If you like, stir in sauteed vegtables, cooked chicken cubes, turkey sausage, or shrimp.

You can also make the mix without the pasta and just make sauce.  To prepare stir the mix with 1 cup of milk and cook and stir until thickened.  It makes a nice sauce for Alfredo pizza :).

Homemade Pizza Crust Mix & Pizza Sauce Mix Too!

Homemade pizza crust mix

This pizza crust recipe started as the commercial recipe for the pizza shop in Lamoni, Iowa that fed the college students at Graceland. It was a local favorite and I was elated when the recipe made it’s way into my hands. It has been reduced in size to make 2 large pizzas (13-15 inches each) and then formulated into a mix.  We use fresh ground hard white whole wheat flour at our house, but white all-purpose flour yields results more like what you would expect from a restaurant. Half and half is a nice compromise :).

See my notes at the end for Gluten Free

Pizza Crust Mix

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs dry active yeast

2 Tbs sugar

In a quart  or gallon size baggie, combine the flour, salt, yeast and sugar.  To use pour the mix into a large bowl and add 1 2/3 cups warm water and 1 Tbs olive oil.  (If you use a gallon size baggie you can pour the water and oil right in and knead everything through the plastic. Knead until the dough comes together (I use a kitchen aid with a dough hook.)  Lightly oil the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes (up to an hour) to allow the gluten relax so you can roll it out.  You can add 1/2 tsp of basil, 1/4 tsp oregano and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder to the mix for an herbed dough.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Top the crust with pizza sauce (or marinara sauce), cheese, and then desired toppings.  before baking brush or mist the edges with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesean cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden.

To make this gluten free, replace the flour cup for cup with gluten free all purpose flour that has xanthan gum in it.  Add 1 tsp of baking powder and when preparing the crust add an extra Tbs of olive oil. The crust will have a different texture and type of rise than gluten crust does, but it is good :).

Pizza Sauce Mix

1 ½ t garlic salt

2 t basil

1 tsp parsley

1/4 tsp oregano

dash black pepper

dash cayenne powder

To use combine mix with 1-6 oz can of tomato paste and 1/2 cup water.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

homemade ranch dressing mix

Ranch dressing is the ultimate in comfort foods.  It’s makes raw veggies party food.  Unfortunately the secret ingredient in most bottles of ranch is MSG.  That stuff tastes really good and brings along with it a side affect of massive headaches (and mouth rash for my kids.) So here’s a yummy recipe for you that is mostly herbs and dried vegetables.  If you are dairy free you can make it with mayo and unsweetened unflavored almond milk, or tofutti better than sour cream.

2/3 c onion powder

2/3 c garlic powder

½ c salt

2 Tbs pepper

2/3  cup dried parsley

2/3 cup dried chives

¼ cup dill (opt)

¼ cup sugar or truvia (opt)

2 Tbs = 1 mix packet.  Use in recipes or to make dressing add to 1 cup mayo and 1 cup buttermilk, plain yogurt, or sour cream.  You can thin to desired consistency with milk or water. Shake well before using.  This tastes better after chilling for several hours.

Homemade Beef Stew Mix

homemade beef stew mix

Beef stew is one of those dishes that is hard to mess up (if you use the right about of salt.)  Onions and garlic can give plenty of flavor on there own.  Once you taste a stew with just the right blend of herbs, it changes everything.

My mom’s famous stew is embellished with a packet of McCormick’s Stew Mix.  It’s MSG free and I like that.  But I’m also a big fan of homemade mixes.  I can’t claim this one is an exact replica of McCormick’s, but it’s pretty good.  (I leave out the oregano in ours, because I’m not a fan of oregano–it’s okay to adapt it to your tastes.)

Homemade Beef Stew Mix

2 cups Flour  or 1 cup cornstarch

4 Tbs salt

4 Tbs Garlic Powder

4 Tbs Onion Powder

4 Tbs Paprika

2 Tbs Basil

2 Tbs Celery Seed

2 Tbs black pepper

1 Tbs sugar (opt.)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp dried Oregano

2 tsp crushed rosemary

Combine everything in a glass jar.  Use 3 Tbs with 1 lb of hamburger or stew meat, 2 cups of water, tomato juice or crushed tomatoes, and 4-6 cups of vegetables (green beans, potatoes, carrots, corn, celery, onions, radishes, sweet potatoes, or peas.)

Brown your meat first, then coat in the stew mix.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Or just toss your raw meat with the stew mix in the slow cooker, then dump everything else in. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

If you want to leave out the flour or cornstarch completely you can add 1 cup of pearled parley or 1 cup of brown minute rice (gluten free) during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Bonus tip:  When we have leftover bits of vegetables after a meal, I put them in a container together in the freezer.  When the container is full, I have enough for stew.

Homemade Italian Dressing Mix

Homemade Italian Dressing Mix

Italian dressing is the perfect condiment for a romantic date night at home.   It also makes a good chicken marinade and a bread dip. Here are 3 varieties to choose from: Italian Vinaigrette; Creamy Italian, and an Olive Garden variety which is partway between the two.  Here’s mixes for all 3 types for you!

Italian Dressing Mix

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon white sugar or stevia blend

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon dried parsley

¼  teaspoon celery seed

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼  teaspoon dried thyme

Yields: 6 Rounded Tbs

To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix. (You can use plain white vinegar, but white wine vinegar makes it extra special.)

Olive Garden Style Dressing

Whisk 2 Tbs Italian dressing mix with 1/2 cup water; 1/4 cup olive oil; 2 Tbs olive oil mayo; and 1/3 cup white wine vinegar.

Creamy Italian Dressing Mix

1 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbs fresh parsley
2 tbs sugar or stevia blend
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Combine mix with 1 cup of olive oil mayo; 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt and 1/3 cup white wine vinegar.

Spaghetti Sauce Mix

homemade spaghetti sauce mixMmmmm, Spaghetti!  A crowd pleaser for sure. All of these recipes work really well in the slow cooker for hands off cooking that will fill your house with a delicious fragrance.  If you have them on hand, and time to chop, add sautéed veggies too!  Traditional veggies include bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms.  Garden variety sauces may also have carrots, zucchini, or eggplant. Each batch is enough sauce for about a pound of pasta (measured dry.)

Zippy Spaghetti Sauce Mix

This Spaghetti sauce is a step up from traditional.  Dried mustard and brown sugar gives it a special kick that will leave your guests asking what your secret is.

2 Tbs minced dried onion

1 ½ T brown sugar

2 ½ t salt

1 ½ t celery salt

½ t dry mustard

4 bay leaves

1 dash cayenne

½ t oregano

To make sauce fill your slow cooker with 1-2 pounds of browned ground beef, spaghetti sauce mix, 6 ounces of tomato paste and 2-28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes.  For even more flair add 2 tsp of worcestershire sauce. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Big Batch Zippy Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1 cup minced dried onion

3/4 cup brown sugar

6.5 Tbs salt

1/4 cup celery salt

8 Tbs dry mustard

1/4 tsp cayenne

4 t oregano

Makes 8 batches.  Combine everything and use 4.5 Tbs per batch.  Add your bay leaves separately.

Traditional Spaghetti Sauce Mix

2 Tbs dried minced onion

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp basil

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp sugar or stevia blend

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

dash of cayenne

Combine sauce mix with 1 6 oz can of tomato paste;  2 -28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes; 1-2 lb browned ground beef; and 1/4 cup of white wine (opt.) Remove bay leaf before serving.

Big Batch Traditional Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1 cup dried minced onion

8 tsp garlic powder

8 tsp basil

16 tsp dried parsley

8 tsp sugar or stevia blend

8 tsp salt

4 tsp dried thyme

4 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp cayenne

This makes 8 batches of sauce.  Use 4 1/2 Tbs per batch.  Add your bay leaves in separately from the mix.

Cinnamon Syrup Mix

cinnamon syrup mix

Syrup solutions usually call for 2 parts sugar to 1 part water boiled together for 1 minute.  My husband’s mother used 2 cups brown sugar and 1 cup water.  After we married I got the secret recipe and added 1/2 tsp of real maple extract to it to make it my own.  Then I learned by adding a little flour, cornstarch, or glucomannan for thickening, I could reduce the sugar by half without missing any of the sweetness.  This reduced sugar recipe (it’s hard to tell by the first ingredient, I know…) has extra flavor from cinnamon and nutmeg.  It’s a family favorite, especially around holiday time.

Cinnamon Syrup Mix

Combine the following 4 ingredients into a quart jar.  Shake well.

3 C sugar (or xylitol)
3/4 cup flour, or 6 Tbs cornstarch,  Or 2 Tbs glucomannan powder
1 T cinnamon
1 1/2 t nutmeg

To use, pour 1 C mix and 2 C water into a sauce pan.  Cook and stir until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 t maple extract (optional.)

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Homemade Pancake Mix

Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

On our recent camping trip, I made 2 kinds of pancake batter in advance (regular and protein) and froze them in ziplock baggies.  In the cooler they helped to keep other foods cold and were thawed by the time we needed them.  I clipped off the end to pipe into the pan.  That worked REALLY well, except that the protein batter stuck to the pan (it needed extra grease.) Plus the zip wasn’t quite sealed so when I went to pipe the protein batter in the pan it popped out the back of the bag, all over my hoodie, my shoes, and the ground under our cook tent.  Ewwww.

black billed magpie

 Click photo for source.

The rest of the week a black billed Magpie kept trying to come in and eat the batter off the ground.  He was  beautiful and  bold, and looked like a giant dragonfly in flight. Magpies are surprisingly big birds, similar to the size of a crow.  My close friends know I’m terrified of birds, but this one was so lovely and stayed just far enough away, that I could enjoy him, almost.

6 cups of whole wheat flour (or unbleached)

6 Tbs sugar (or your favorite granulated sweetener)

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbs baking powder

2 cups instant powdered milk (If you leave this out, just use milk instead of water when you prep it.  Almond milk works for those who are dairy free.)

6 Tbs butter (or oil)

Combine the dry ingredients, then cut in butter until it is finely blended.  (To make it faster you can melt it and stir it in well.)

To use:  Mix 1 1/8 cups mix with 1 egg and 1 cup of water.  Cook on a griddle set to 350 degrees.  Serves 2-3

For chocolate pancakes add 1 Tbs of cocoa powder with the egg and water.