Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making it from scratch: Stephanie's spice mixes

We've been following A Year of Slow Cooking since its first year.  It's still among my top ten (maybe top five) favourite food sites.  I've also bought the two Make It Fast, Cook It Slow cookbooks.  Not all the recipes have been winners here, but several have become regulars.

The site has a couple of hidden bonuses.  One is pretty obvious: all the recipes give gluten-free options.  This isn't something that currently applies to our family, but it's good to know anyway, especially if you might be cooking dinner for a gf friend sometime.

The other bonus is that, because of the gluten-free recipes, there are alternatives given for things like taco seasoning mix.  This is a good thing for us in several ways.  First, homemade spice mixes are lower in sodium, which is still something we're trying to watch around here.  Some Squirrels also get sick from eating MSG. 

Second, although seasoning packets aren't terribly expensive, mixing your own is probably a better deal.  I also find them a frugal option since they help to make a tasty meal out of other simple ingredients.  Ground beef plus spices makes taco filling; then you add whatever other bean, cheese and vegetable toppings you have, and wrap in tortillas or serve over rice or corn chips (for taco salad).

Plus you don't have to remember to buy taco seasoning, or sloppy joe spice, if you already have the makings for it on the spice shelf.  And, if you're really organized, you can even mix up extra and store it in sandwich bags to make it all as easy as ripping open a packet.

And the last good reason, for us, is that Steph's spice mixtures pretty much suit our cupboard staples and our tastes (with the exception of rosemary, which two Squirrels can't eat).  When you find something that works for you, you stick with it.

So I'm passing on the links to a couple of Year of Slow Cooking mixes that have worked for us, plus the spaghetti sauce mixture that I worked out from a Hillbilly Housewife recipe.  Thank you, Steph!

Sloppy Joe Seasoning  I used this a few nights ago to make a Hamburger Assistant-type meal in a skillet:  a pound of ground beef, a can of tomato paste plus water and seasonings, leftover cooked pasta, and a bit of cheese.

Taco Seasoning.  This one is in More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow under "Taco Dip," but the spice mix doesn't appear on the Year of Slow Cooking website. It's the same recipe as the one in this blog post, minus the teaspoonful of salt.

Enchilada Sauce

Mama Squirrel's Diner-Style Spaghetti Sauce


Fatcat said...

Yes, I love her site too. I am gluten free and it's so nice to have recipes that are free of "cream of something" soups.

Mary Ann said...

We love her Rotisserie Style Chicken. I make the seasoning in a big batch and have it on hand!