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Make-your-own mixtures spice up meal times

Combinations of spices and herbs enhance the flavour of foods but commercially prepared mixes often contain large amounts of salt, MSG, flavour enhancers and preservatives.

By creating your own spice blends, you can lower the salt content and adapt the flavours to your family’s preferred taste, such as more or less onion, garlic or heat.

Reduce duplication and cost by buying a collection of basic spices and herbs and combine them to create your own personalized spice blends.

Montreal Steak Spice

Large spice pieces are characteristic of this spice blend that provides heat and flavour for meats.

  • 2 tbsp. paprika 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. crushed 
black pepper 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. coarse sea salt 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dried minced 
garlic 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dried minced 
onion 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. crushed coriander or just coriander seeds 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dill seed 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. mustard seed 15 mL

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

Use as a rub:

  • 1 tbsp. Montreal Steak 
Spice 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar 30 mL

Mix, then rub into meat, place in a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

Use as a marinade:

  • 2 tbsp. Montreal Steak 
Spice 30 mL
  • 1/3 c. canola oil 75 mL
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar or white vinegar60 ml

Mix and pour over meat in a sealable plastic bag, refrigerate five to six hours or overnight. Yields 12 tablespoons (180 mL).

Quick tip:

After shopping, separate meat into meal sized portions, place in sealable plastic bags, add ingredients for marinade, seal, massage bag to coat the meat, label and freeze. Source: Adapted from www.chowhound.com and Field Guide to Herbs and Spices by Aliza Green.

Bon Appetit 
Seasoning Replacement

I have used the original seasoning to make a vegetable dip that our family loves, but it contains salt and MSG. This version uses less salt but retains the warm celery flavour that enhances vegetables, soups and stews.

  • 1 tbsp. celery salt 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. onion powder 5 mL
  • 2 tsp. ground celery 
seed 10 mL

Combine ingredients in a glass jar and shake to mix. Store in a dark, dry location. Yields three tablespoons (45 mL). Source: Adapted from www.bonappetite.com.

Vegetable Dip Seasoning

Start with Bon Appetit seasoning replacement and add:

  • 3 tbsp. dried dill weed 45 mL

Combine and mix, store in an airtight container in a dark, dry location.

For the vegetable dip, mix:

  • 2 tbsp. seasoning mix 30 mL
  • 1 c. mayonnaise 250 mL
  • 1 c. sour cream or plain yogurt 250 mL

Mix and refrigerate overnight to blend flavours, serve with raw vegetables. Yields six tablespoons (90 mL).

Italian Seasoning

This mixture will give any pasta or sauce an authentic Italian flavour.

  • 3 tbsp. dried parsley 45 mL
  • 3 tbsp. dried basil 45 mL
  • 3 tbsp. dried oregano 45 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dried minced 
garlic 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary, 
crushed 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. course ground black pepper 1 mL

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Source: Adapted from www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com.

Taco Seasoning Mix

This mix offers a southwestern flavour for dips and meat dishes and is good with wild meat.

  • 1 tbsp. chili powder 15 mL
  • 2 tsp. onion powder 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. oregano 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black 
pepper 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (optional) 1 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional).5 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional).5 mL

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl, store in an airtight container. The optional ingredients increase or decrease the heat and salt of the mixture.
Add to browning meat when meat ais partially browned. After completely browned, add 1/2 to one cup (125 – 250 mL) water and cook down to blend flavours.
Yield is equivalent to one package of taco seasoning mix. Use with one pound (.5 kg) of ground meat.

Marinade for meats

To taco seasoning mix, add:

  • 2 tbsp. vinegar 30 mL
  • 1/4 c. canola oil 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. water 30 mL

Mix, add to meat in a sealable plastic bag and marinade in refrigerator overnight. Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com.

It is important to note that the salt amounts in chili powder can vary greatly. Ingredients are listed in descending order on package labels. Check to ensure that salt is not listed as one of the first three ingredients.

Greek Seasoning

Sprinkle or rub on meats or combine with lemon juice to create a marinade.

  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried mint (optional) 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. dried minced garlic 2 mL

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Yields approximately two tablespoons (30 mL). Source: Adapted from www.tasteofhome.com.

No-Salt Seasoning

When first starting a low-salt diet, everything tastes bland until the taste buds have adjusted. This seasoning will help overcome the blandness. Use for seasoning broiled fish, poultry, cooked vegetables, soup and stews or place on the table to be used in place of salt.

  • 5 tsp. onion powder 25 mL
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. paprika 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground celery seed 2 mL

Combine all ingredients in a small jar with a shaker top. Yields five tablespoons (75 mL). Source: Adapted from www.tasteofhome.com.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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