Make Your Own Mixes and Save a Bundle
They’re convenient and tasty, but have you ever considered the high cost of your favorite prepared mixes and spices?
In less time than it takes you to run to the market to pick up a box of Rice-A-Rani or Shake’N Bake, you could make them yourself — and save a bundle in the process.
With each of these “copycat” recipes, I’ve indicated the price of the real thing (with all of its mystery and often unpronounceable ingredients) in my grocery store. It’s difficult to say for sure what these recipes will cost by comparison because there are so many variables, but I can assure you it’s pennies, not dollars!
LIKE LIPTON ONION SOUP MIX
3/4 cup dry minced onion
1/3 cup beef bouillon powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed celery seed
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients. Store in tight-fitting container. About 5 tablespoons of mix equals 1 1.25-ounce package Lipton Onion Soup Mix. To make Onion Dip: Mix 5 tablespoons soup mix with 1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream.
The real thing: $1.67 for a 2-ounce packet.
2 cups uncooked rice (not instant or Minute Rice)
1 cup broken vermicelli pasta pieces (find in the pasta aisle)
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
6 tablespoons instant chicken OR beef bouillon powder/granules
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Mix all ingredients together, and shake or stir well. Store in airtight container. Place 1 cup mix and 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
The real thing: $2.00 for 5.9-ounce box, or $.34 per ounce
LIKE SHAKE’N BAKE
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chicken-flavored bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Shake 2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken or 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 to 2 pieces at a time) in a plastic bag with this coating mixture. Discard any remaining mixture and bag.
Bake at 400 degrees F in ungreased or foil-lined baking pan until cooked through, bone-in for 45 minutes and boneless for 20 minutes. Do not cover or turn chicken during baking. Yield: This recipe will coat a good-sized chicken or several fish filets.
The real thing: $2.99 for 4.5-ounce box, or $.67 per ounce.
LIKE EMERIL’S ORIGINAL ESSENCE
5 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Mix together and store in a tightly covered container. Be sure to yell “BAM!” when dispensing onto everything from meat and poultry, to vegetables and side dishes.
The real thing: $3.79 for a 2.8-ounce bottle, or $1.35 per ounce.
Question: What other recipes like these would you like to see? Let me know, and I’ll do my best to come up with them for a future column.
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