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.

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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.

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Homemade Breakfast Sausage Mix

Homemade Turkey Breakfast SausageI love sausage!  Especially when it’s part of biscuits and gravy.  That dish was my grandpa’s specialty and his love of it, made me love it too.

Unfortunately sausage is full of grease and is high in calories.  I know fat isn’t the enemy of all fitness, but sausage fat leaves an unsettled feeling in my stomach and affects my kids the same way.

It’s easy to make your own sausage from ground turkey.  It costs less than traditional sausage and has more protein too.

Breakfast Sausage Mix

1/2 t salt

1 t garlic salt

1 t black pepper

1/2 tsp sugar (or stevia blend)

2 t sage

1/8-1/4 t cayenne pepper

Use an electric mixer or your hands to thoroughly combine ingredients with 1 pound of raw ground turkey.  Chill overnight before cooking to allow the flavors to blend.  For maple flavored sausage, add 1/2 tsp real maple extract or 1 Tbs of real maple syrup.  After the flavors have blended you can brown it for bulk sausage or form patties.

Big Batch Sausage Mix

2 Tbs salt

1/4 cup garlic salt

1/4 cup black pepper

2 Tbs sugar (or stevia blend)

1/4 cup rubbed sage

1 1/2  t cayenne pepper

Makes 12 batches.  Use 5 tsp of mix per pound of sausage.

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Posted in Allergy Free, camping, Fitness and Weight Loss, Make Ahead Breakfasts, mix recipes | Tagged breakfast sausage, sausage mix, turkey sausage | 1 Comment

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.
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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.

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Enchilada Sauce Mix

enchilada sauce mix

I love food with Southwest flair.  I could eat it every day of the week and not get tired of it.  Enchilada sauce is not just good on enchiladas.  It’s also yummy over eggs and in casseroles.  Each batch yields about the same as a 20 ounce can of sauce.

One Batch Enchilada Sauce Mix

1 Tbs  chili powder

1 Tbs dried onion flakes

2 tsp  paprika

2 tsp cornstarch or 1/2 tsp glucomannan

1 1⁄2 tsp  salt

1 tsp  sugar or stevia blend

1 tsp  ground cumin

1 tsp  garlic powder

1⁄2 tsp  oregano

1⁄4 tsp  cayenne (opt.  leave out for mild sauce)

To use whisk with 1-8 oz can of tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.

Big Batch Enchilada Sauce Mix

3/4 cup  chili powder

3/4 cup dried onion flakes

1/2 cup  paprika

1/2 cup cornstarch or 2 Tbs glucomannan

6 Tbs  salt

1/4 cup  sugar or stevia blend

1/4 cup  ground cumin

1/4 cup  garlic powder

2 Tbs  oregano

2 Tbs cayenne (opt.  leave out for mild sauce)

Mix well and store in a glass quart jar. Use 4-5 Tbs with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of tomato sauce. (Makes 12 batches.)

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Instant Pesto Mix

instant pesto mix

With pesto a little goes a long way for a delicious fresh flavor. It’s nice to have a jar of this mix on hand as a pantry staple, especially if you use Pesto a lot.

2 cups dried basil

1 cup chopped pine nuts

1 cup parmesan cheese (from the can if you want to store this on the shelf.)

Mix well and store in a quart jar.

To use, combine equal parts mix, water and olive oil.  Let stand until basil is rehydrated and mixture is thick.

Use in any recipe calling for pesto.  It’s especially nice on grilled chicken, in deli wraps, on pasta salads, and on crusty bread.

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Italian Seasoning Blend

Italian seasoning blend

This recipe is one you’ll want to tweak to match your own family’s tastes.  For example, I don’t like oregano, so I sub more basil and parsley to make up the volume.  If you like things hot add crushed red pepper or cayenne to the mix.

Use it when recipes that call for Italian Seasoning, or to sprinkle on ground beef or turkey as you cook it for Spaghetti sauce or Pizza. It adds a nice touch to garlic bread and croutons too.  You can even beat it into your bread dough for a pleasant herb loaf.

Italian Seasoning Blend

3 tablespoons  dried basil

3 tablespoons  dried oregano

3 tablespoons  dried parsley

1 tablespoon  garlic powder

1 tablespoon  onion powder

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp  dried rosemary

1⁄4 tsp black pepper

1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix well and store in an airtight container. Yield: 11 Tbs plus 1/2 tsp (about 3/4 cup)

Big Batch Italian Seasoning Blend

3/4 cup basil

3/4 cup oregano

3/4 cup parsley

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup onion powder

4 tsp dried thyme

4 tsp rosemary

1 tsp black pepper

4 tsp red pepper flakes

Yield: Scant 3 cups

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Smart Tiles Installation and Review

Smart Tiles Installation and ReviewMix month is still going strong and I have a big line up for you next week!  But for the weekend I wanted to show you some progress I’m making in the girl’s bathroom. In July, I’ll have a whole month of house projects and frugal nesting ideas for you–this is just a sneak peek :).

Smart Tiles generously supplied the tiles for this post (after I begged them) and I honestly thought I would have it up and ready for them in April.  If you remember, the space looked like this–very green:

Girl's bathroom before

I stripped the wallpaper and the popcorn ceiling and was stuck with how to repair this:


…and many areas like it.  I finally hired a drywall guy to rescue me.  He was amazing and affordable and I wish I had called him months ago.

This week, I primed and painted the space.  It is white, white, white…from the ceiling to the floor.  To keep it from being boring and cold, I have lots of gold accents and dramatic floor to ceiling curtains planned. Plus texture from faux bamboo shades, terry cloth rugs, and hexagonal tiles.  These, to be exact. #onsalenow

I chose these tiles because I want the space done quickly without messing with concrete backer board, wet saws, adhesive or grout.  Yet, I needed something to look great, be durable, and create a waterproof area.  I was not disappointed.

Here’s a before and after picture:

Smart Tiles Before and After

The sink will eventually be white too.

I made a video for you showing how they work :).

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Posted in Decorating, Frugal Living, Sponsored, Tutorial, VLOG | Tagged bathroom remodel, smart tiles | 6 Comments

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.

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