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Food & Recipes
Articles: Food

Make Your Own Mixes & Convenience Foods

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Have you ever run out of an essential ingredient to your cooking? I know that I have done this many times. It can be particularly frustrating when you happen to be in the middle of making a dish and can’t proceed until you hit the supermarket. Wouldn’t it be great to have a few recipes in your back pocket for times like these?

Not only are these recipes easier on your wallet than the store bought varieties, but they can also be better for you. Many seasoning packets and mixes are riddled with MSG and other additives- things that our tired bodies just don’t need. Instead of reaching for that prepackaged mix, reach for these recipes instead. Feel free to make adjustments to your own tastes and dietary needs.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Seasoning Mix (submitted by Marva)


4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. Use this as a substitute for store bought pumpkin pie spice. Yield: 7 1/2 teaspoons.

Homemade Poultry Seasoning Mix


2 tsp. ground sage
1 ½ tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. ground marjoram
¾ tsp ground rosemary
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp finely ground black pepper

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. Use this as a substitute for store bought poultry seasoning.

Homemade Rice Seasoning Mix


¾ cup chicken bouillon granules
½ cup dried parsley
1 tbsp. basil
1 tbsp dill weed
2 tbsp, dried onion flakes
1 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)

Mix together and store in an airtight container. When preparing rice, combine 1 cup rice, 2 cups water, and three tablespoons of the seasoning. Bring your water to a boil and add rice & seasoning. Reduce to simmer and cook for eighteen minutes.

Homemade Baking Mix (AKA Bisquick)


5 ½ cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp baking powder
1 cup shortening

Mix all ingredients well until crumbly. Store in an air tight container.

Homemade Italian Dressing Seasoning Mix


1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp ground oregano
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp salt (adjust to your own personal preference)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground basil
¼ tsp ground thyme
½ tsp dried celery flakes

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  To prepare the dressing: Mix two tablespoons of the mix with ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, and ½ to 2/3 cup olive oil or canola oil.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix


½ cup dry buttermilk
1 tbsp dried parsley, crushed
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and grind until it becomes a fine powder. Store in an airtight container. To prepare the dressing: Combine one tablespoon mix with one cup of mayonnaise and one cup milk.

Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Puree



Cut up your pumpkin and dscard peels and any blackened areas. Prepare the pumpkin as you would squash by cutting it into small cubes. Fill a pot with the pumpkin and two inches of water. Cover and boil until soft. Drain water and process in the blender. Freeze in a freezer bag in two cup portions (approximately the size of a can of pumpkin). When puree is thawed it will be a little more watery than the canned version. Just drain a little of the water off and use as directed in your recipe.

Homemade Croutons


6 slices of bread (any kind, but don't tell Martha!)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano, liberal sprinkling of garlic salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube bread into desired size and toss into a bowl. Sprinkle all of the seasonings on top of your bread cubes. Drizzle olive oil over the cubes and then toss gently with your fingers. When all pieces have been coated, put cubes into a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Allow to cool. Place in an airtight container and these can be stored for up to weeks in this container.

Make-Your-Own Stove Top Stuffing


6 cups cubed bread
1 tbsp parsley flakes
3 tbsp chicken-bouillon powder
¼ cup dried minced onion
½ cup dried minced celery (or fresh celery may be sautéed and added just before cooking)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp sage
1/3 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and bake for eight to ten minutes, turning to brown evenly. Cool. In a plastic bag or bowl, toss the cubes with the rest of the ingredients until well coated. Store in a tightly closed container in the pantry for up to four months, or in the freezer for up to a year. To use: Combine two cups stuffing mix with ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Stir to combine thoroughly. Warm on the stove top or in a microwave. Stir again just before serving.

Homemade Shake & Bake


4 cups flour
4 cups ground inexpensive crackers
4 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp garli powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp paprika
¼ cup vegetable oil

Mix well and store indefinitely in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Homemade Onion Soup Mix


¾ cup instant minced onion
4 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup beef-flavored bouillon powder
¼ tsp celery seed, crushed
¼ tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients and store in an airtight container. To use, add two tablespoons mix to one cup boiling water. Cover and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Make-Your-Own Canned Tomato Soup


6 ounce can tomato paste
24 ounces milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed

Put tomato paste in a small saucepan. Add the milk, salt, & celery seed. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup


½ cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla

Mix the cocoa & the water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Boil three minutes. Add the salt & the vanilla. Pour into a sterilized pint jar, and store covered in the refrigerator.

Homemade Pancake Syrup


3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp maple extract

Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn off burner, but leave pot on burner until the bubbling stops.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk


1 cup instant nonfat dry milk solids
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 tbsp melted margarine

Combine all ingredients and process with an electric mixer until smooth. This can be stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used.

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup


1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ tsp poultry seasoning
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp parsley
Dash of paprika
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup flour

In a medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, ½ cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining one cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until the mixture boils and thickens.

Hobo Pop Tarts


1 package of store-bought pie crust
Jelly of your choice

Roll the dough out flat on a cookie sheet and score it with a knife into squares. Bake until almost done (as directed on the packaging). Spread with jelly or preserves. Bake three more minutes. Put two of the squares together to make a homemade toaster pastry.

Homemade Cocoa Mix


4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Place mix in a sifter and sift to make a really fine powder (or you can use your food processor for this step). Store in an airtight container. Add ½ cup of mix to an 8 ounce mug and fill with hot water

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix


1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¼ tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder.  Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.