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Make it Yourself Monday: Seasoning and Soup Mixes

As with most of you, I used to use soup mixes and seasoning packets.  Not a lot, as I've always been kinda tight and those little packets and boxes always seemed expensive for what they are.  But I did usually have onion soup mix (usually in a bulk package I found at Big Lots) and ranch dressing mix on hand.  But since changing to all most whole foods these were some of the first things to go (followed closely by canned soup, with the exception of tomato which I just recently kicked).

However, having mixes on hand to quickly season foods when we're in a hurry is nice, and lets face it, some of the recipes calling for these mixes just taste good (at least to me...).  One of my favorite dishes growing up was Chicken and Rice Casserole, the monstrosity of chicken, white rice, canned soup, and onion soup mix.

But news flash- you can make this dish with real food.  Check out this recipe from Stephani O'Dea, the crockpot lady.

That particular recipe doesn't call for any mixes at all- it makes the soup base from scratch and uses seasonings and onion to simulate the soup mix (I added some Worcestershire sauce as well).

And if you have a "can" of homemade cream of mushroom soup in your freezer, it's almost as easy as using the processed crap since you can skip the first step (the broth/milk/flour bit, plus leave out the mushrooms).

(PS- stay tuned for next Monday to see how to make your own "cream of" soups!)

But what about ranch potatoes, or onion dip?  You need the mix to make these, can you do it with real food?

Well, that depends.  Because in order to truly make the mixes you will still have to use what I consider compromise ingredients, like bouillon and dried buttermilk.  So whether or not you do is up to you.

Here are the recipes I use, and how I adapt them.

Ranch Dressing Mix- I leave out the dry buttermilk as I normally use this to either make dip or dressing, and I use buttermilk or creme fraiche in both of those (the real stuff...)

Onion Soup Mix- I actually haven't made this one yet because I can't decide if I am willing to use beef bouillon.  I'm going to check at the Coop to see 1) if they have one with no scary chemicals, and 2) if it's cost effective.

Fajita Seasoning- I couldn't find the recipe I used last time, which didn't call for cornstarch or chicken bouillon, BUT, baring food sensitivities I think the cornstarch may be a good addition as a thickener.

Taco Seasoning- Ditto for this recipe.  I've actually never followed a recipe for taco seasoning, I just season until I'm happy.  But for ease I may mix this up.  And I'm glad to see they use paprika- I always add it to mine, but I thought that was my own genius idea:)

What other kinds of boxed/packet seasonings could you make from scratch?


Brianna said...

my favorite Fajita Seasoning:

1 1/2 t cumin (I LOVE CUMIN!)
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t salt (usually don't use it)
1/4 t red pepper (I usually add more)
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t onion powder

Brianna said...

and I cant believe you didn't find that chicken and rice recipe before. I guess its in the cookbook I have and I think you have the other one.

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