Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Originally posted April, 2010

Save money by making your own taco seasoning mix. It is SO easy! And healthy!  And you can put it in a jar (my favorite part)! Actually, even if you don’t have a jar obsession like I do, I recommend putting this mix in a jar as the flavors are strong and will absorb into a plastic container, or mingle with other items it may be sitting beside in your pantry.

Homemade Taco Seasoning MixYum

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup onion powder
  • ⅛ cup ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a jar and shake!

Um, after you put a lid on…then shake. The jar. Shake the jar. With the lid securely on the jar.

Taco Seasoing Mix

Three Tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix is equal to one 4-ounce package of taco seasoning mix. I would recommend adding 3 Tablespoons of mix to one pound of browned ground meat for tacos.

I would also recommend shaking again before each use to make sure the spices are well distributed throughout the mix.

The jar. Shake the jar. You can shake all you want, but if you don’t shake the jar, your spices won’t be distributed evenly.

Just wanted to be sure I made the instructions clear in regard to the shaking.

Great. I can see it now. Husbands everywhere will walk into the kitchen and see their wives shaking (boogie down).

He will look questioningly at his wife, smile and say,

“Taco night again?!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipes that use Taco Seasoning Mix

As you can see, having this seasoning mix on hand is super helpful. Just grab it, shake it, and stir it into whatever you are cooking. Love it!

More Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes! Italian and Thousand Island

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

Originally posted June, 2009

After sharing the Ranch Dressing Mix recipe, several of you asked for different varieties of healthy salad dressing recipes. I’m excited to share my recipes for Italian Salad Dressing and Thousand Island Dressing!

What makes these salad dressing recipes better?

  • These use real food ingredients – choose to use healthy oils and other ingredients you feel good about feeding your family. I use olive oil for these.
  • These save money – they cost much less than buying them pre-made! The price of Italian Dressing Mix can add up!
  • You can make Italian Dressing Mix ahead of time so all you have to do when you need dressing is mix it up!

Italian Dressing MixYum

More Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes! Italian and Thousand Island
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried celery flakes
Instructions
  1. Shake ingredients together and store in a jar.
  2. To make Italian salad dressing: Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with ¼ cup vinegar (I prefer red wine vinegar), 2 teaspoons water and ½ cup olive oil.

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing

Besides salad dressing, use the Italian Dressing Mix to make:

Use Italian Dressing to marinate chicken for the best grilled chicken!!

And now for another of our favorite salad dressing recipes:

Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower)
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup pickle relish
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 hard boiled egg, chopped (optional)

Mix ingredients, cover and chill.

Homemade Thousand Island Salad Dressing

So…what’s your favorite kind of salad dressing? (mine’s ranch)  Have I come up with enough healthier dressings (aka dressings with NO high fructose corn syrup or MSG) to tickle your fancy…or should I keep playing?

I’m determined to come up with Caesar and Blue Cheese. But my attempts at these so far are not share worthy!

Whole Wheat Quick Baking Mix

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

Originally posted February, 2013

Over the past few years, I have had many requests for a mix recipe which will replace boxed “Bisquick”. I had never used bisquick very much before we started our healthy eating journey, therefore I didn’t know that I’d have much use for a healthier version. And so, this recipe request continued to get pushed to the bottom of my “to-do” list.

Whole Wheat Quick Mix

For shame.  I didn’t know what I’d been missing!  Last summer, I finally gave this recipe a try. Once I figured out the right combination of ingredients, I learned that it takes just a few minutes to put this mixture together. And the recipes you can quickly whip up once you have this convenience food on hand? Every single one we’ve tried has been a hit! I love this!  It is inexpensive, is made with real ingredients I feel good about feeding to my family, it saves time, and the food prepared with it tastes great. Does it get any better than that?

Whole Wheat Quick Mix

Yum

10 cups whole wheat flour (I use flour made from freshly ground hard white wheat)
1/2 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sucanat (optional)
2 teaspoons sea salt (I use Redmond Real Salt)
2 cups organic palm shortening or butter

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sucanat and salt. Thoroughly cut in palm shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Store Whole Wheat Quick Mix in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Here are several of the recipes you’ll find here at Heavenly Homemakers to use along with the lovely mixture you just put together. Think of how much time and effort you’ll save!

 Quick Mix Biscuits

Quick Mix Fruit Pizza

fruit_pizza_3

Quick Mix Honey Cinnamon Muffins

Quick Mix Very Vanilla Cookies

Quick Mix Pancakes

Beyond those, I’ve come up with a pie crust, waffles, and more muffin and cookie recipes. I’m telling you, this mix is so versatile and easy.

It’s recipes like this that make my Oh, For Real! Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy book so much fun. It’s all about making your life healthier and easier. Anytime you can take one recipe and adapt it to make many other healthy food recipes, we have a winner!

Like what you see here? We’d love to get to know you better! 

Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Ideas

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

Originally posted March, 2009

Lookie what’s growing in my garden! Those cute little lettuce leaves will soon be cute big lettuce leaves. I can’t wait! I’ll be needing my homemade salad dressing before we know it.

lettuceingardenmay09sm.JPG

I don’t actually have an exciting salad recipe for you. I’m not terribly creative like that. My salad recipes almost always look something like:

  1. Wash and tear up a bunch of lettuce or spinach and put it in a bowl.
  2. Add whatever other raw veggies you have.
  3. If you’re feeling especially crazy, throw in some dried cranberries or raisins.
  4. If you want your salad to be your main dish, add some chicken, cheese and hard boiled egg.
  5. Grab a fork.

Homemade Salad Dressing Ideas

This is why I’m so excited about the above carnivals. However, I do have a fun idea for a salad dressing that I discovered one day when I was dinking around in the kitchen. Are you ready? It’s a novel idea.

Orange juice.  The juice from an orange. Fresh squeezed orange juicy goodness.

It’s refreshingly simple. And yummy. And it contains no high fructose corn syrup or MSG.

spinachsaladsm.JPG

Now that I’ve shared that enlightening salad tid-bit, I’m very excited to share another healthy homemade salad dressing idea!

Rhonda sent me a wonderful Ranch Dressing Mix recipe!! I used to use Simply Organic brand because I trust it more than other brands. But now, thanks to Rhonda, I can make a super healthy (and much, much less expensive) Ranch Dressing any time I need to!

Ranch Dressing MixYum

Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Ideas
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 5 Tablespoons dried minced onions
  • 7 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Mix together and store in an air tight container.
  2. For dressing: Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.
  3. For dip: Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream or kreme fresh.
  4. Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend nicely.

I use Hain Safflower mayo and Homemade Buttermilk.

Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix
The jar on the right is the mix, which costs pennies compared to a packaged mix! The jar on the left is the ranch dressing all made up and ready to go on our salad.

ranchdressin2sm.JPG
You HAVE to try this dressing! It tastes so…so real. And fresh. And pure. It’s delicious, simple and healthy! Obviously, you eat it on lettuce and other veggies – so that gives you wonderful, healthy…healthiness. (And of course, great servings of more fruits and veggies!)

Rhonda even suggested using this ranch dressing mix in my Ranch Potato Wedges recipe. It works GREAT!

I shall never buy another ranch dressing packet again. Rhonda – you rock!

And try squeezing an orange onto your salad sometime! See what you think! (Ever tried it before?) 

Homemade Onion Soup Mix (with No MSG!)

Save money and use real food ingredients when you make Onion Soup Mix!

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

Originally posted March, 2011

So far in this Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge, we’ve come up with recipes for Homemade Tator Tots, Healthier Chocolate Milk and Teriyaki Sauce. I attempted a recipe for corn tortillas and while they tasted pretty good…they were NOT easy to make, they fell apart and looked ugly. I’m going to keep working on that one until I come up with a corn tortilla recipe that doesn’t take the whole afternoon to make. :)

This new recipe in The Challenge was super easy to put together! Vicki, one of our readers, sent me an Onion Soup Mix recipe to try and WOW is it simple! I tweaked it a teeny tiny bit, but really, this recipe is more Vicki’s than mine.

What I love about this recipe is that I didn’t have to look high and low for the ingredients.  Many onion soup recipes I found call for some sort of bouillon. Almost always, bouillon has MSG. There are MSG free bouillon varieties out there, but what if they aren’t easily accessible to you? And so…I was very happy to see this recipe that contained just dried herbs and spices!

Onion Soup MixYum

Homemade Onion Soup Mix (with No MSG!)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup dried, minced onion
  • 3 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sucanat (or sugar if you prefer)
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake.
  2. I'd recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.
  3. Use 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix.  (I actually found that 2 Tablespoons was plenty in a beef stew recipe I tried.)
  4. Store this in a dry, cool place.

onion_soup_mix

I used the Onion Soup Mix in this simple, one dish stew and YUM!
Find the recipe for Simple One Dish Meat and Potato Meal here.

And with that…I have to ask:

SO many of you requested this recipe that I’m guessing you all must have tons of wonderful ways of using Onion Soup Mix? I would LOVE for you to share what you do with this mix!!! I have exactly two recipes that call for Onion Soup Mix. I’m so excited to use this mix in those recipes because I’ve not made them for years. But what else??? What do you make with Onion Soup Mix??

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream – No Churn!

If the Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream would work with three ingredients without being churned, I figured a Chocolate version would work.

I was right!

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream Bowl

Several suggested that if we added whole milk to the cream/sweetener/vanilla combo it would scoop out nicely. I tried that on my round two of ice cream and didn’t find it to work as well as the milkless version. I’ve decided to stick with only cream and not add milk. I’m curious what you discovered if you tried the recipe!

The only adjustment you need to make to make a chocolate version is to simply add cocoa powder to the vanilla ice cream recipe. (And if you want Chocolate Mint, just switch the vanilla extract with some mint extract. Easy!)

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice CreamYum

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream - No Churn!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients together with a hand mixer or in a high power blender until they have thickened - but have not yet turned into stiff whipped cream. (The mixture should still be runny.)
  2. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish.
  3. Cover and freeze for about three hours.
  4. Scoop and serve right away.
  5. If ice cream has been in the freezer overnight, you may need to let it sit out to soften for a few minutes before serving.

Low Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream

If you didn’t guess already, this ice cream tastes delicious in my favorite Coffee Milkshake. Follow the recipe here, scoop in some of this chocolate ice cream, and you’ll have a Chocolate Mocha Milkshake.

Still to come as I continue to experiment – Low Sugar Peaches and Cream, Strawberry, and Peanut Butter Ice Cream! Hmm, while I’m at it, I suppose I should try a Mocha Ice Cream. This is too much fun.

Easy Blue Raspberry Salad

Blue Razz Salad

Back when we embarked on a Shaved Ice Business (which seems like thousands of years ago), the favorite flavor many kids chose was “Blue Razz.” Those were the early days of our healthy eating journey when I was learning more about the nastiness of artificial colors and flavors. I just couldn’t get over the fact that fun and gimmicky names really did market themselves well, even if they didn’t make sense. After all, raspberries aren’t blue.

I’m such a boring, practical mom type.

Me: Children, why would you want to eat something that isn’t true to its name?? Raspberries aren’t blue, you know.
Children: Maybe because we’re kids and it’s FUN!!?!?!!!!
Me: Fine. Turn your tongue, lips, and teeth blue. Rot your insides. I don’t even care.

None of these words were actually spoken out loud.

All of this is irrelevant to what I’m about to share, but it did occur to me as I was playing with this recipe that indeed, we were creating a Blue Razz Salad. But instead of a fake blue with a freak flavor, we’re using real blueberries and actual raspberries. Who knew real food could turn out something so fun and trendy? (We all knew this. None of this shocks us. We already know that real food tastes good and that actual fruit is very pretty.)

Blueberry Raspberry Salad

Blue Raspberry SaladYum

Easy Blue Raspberry Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice (I used 10ish drops of stevia)
Instructions
  1. Make a blueberry "syrup" by cooking blueberries in a small saucepan on low until they have cooked down and thickened. (Add a little sugar or honey to this if you like.)
  2. In another saucepan, make a raspberry "syrup" in the same way. Both fruits take 10-15 minutes to cook down and thicken. Stir occasionally.
  3. If you want your salad to be creamy, blend the cooked fruits until smooth. If you don't mind chunks of fruit, leave the cooked fruit as-is.
  4. In the meantime, whip cream, vanilla, and sweetener until thick.
  5. Fold thickened fruit into the whipped cream until just mixed.
  6. Cover and chill salad for at least 2 hours before serving.

Blue Raspberry Salad - no sugar added!

I find this salad to be perfectly sweet because of the fruit and stevia (read more about stevia here), but we all know I’m the one who likes unsweet tea and barely sweet treats. Therefore, if you find that you would like this to be sweeter than it is, simply add a few teaspoons of sugar or honey to your fruit while it is cooking.

Now I invite you to make and eat what tastes delicious and will not make your mouth look like you are turning into a Smurf.

How to Make Raspberry Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea

Yep. I’m on a fruity tea kick. You probably will be too after you try these. So far we’ve got:

raspberry tea

Today I present you with Raspberry Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea. Before you add a bunch of sugar, you might test it to see if you like it as-is, or at least with less than your usual amount of sugar. The fruit really adds a delicious natural sweetness that we are loving!

Raspberry Sweet (or Unsweet) TeaYum

How to Make Raspberry Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea
 
Author:
Serves: ½ gallon
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts of water, divided
  • 4 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 4-8 tea bags of your favorite black or green tea, depending on how strong you like your tea
  • Liquid stevia, honey, or sugar to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 quart of water and the raspberries to boiling. Add a teaspoon of sugar or honey if you like. This will help make a "raspberry syrup."
  2. Simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Mush the raspberries in the water and add the tea bags.
  4. Allow tea to steep for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Strain tea into a ½ gallon jar or pitcher.
  6. Add a quart of water.
  7. Stir in stevia or sugar if you want your tea sweetened.
  8. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  9. Serve over ice.

How to Make Raspberry Sweet or Unsweet Tea

Notice how the Raspberry Tea naturally has a red tint while the Mango and Peach teas have a naturally orange-brown tint? This is the stuff “no artificial colors or flavors” is made of.

Consider the Combo

I’m now excited to try different varieties and combinations of these and other fruits. I’m thinking:

  • Peach-Mango
  • Raspberry-Peach
  • Strawberry?? Do you think that will be good?
  • Something with Lemon and/or Lime?
  • This is where you leave comments giving me your ideas… :)

I’m loving the treat of these iced teas this summer!

Iced Chocolate Using Homemade Nesquik!

Iced Chocolate

When you are the youngest of four boys, growing up in a home filled with silliness and sarcasm, you pretty much have no hope of becoming anything but silly and sarcastic.

Malachi, our 11 year old, barely remembers how to shoot it straight anymore. When we say, “How’s your project going?” he’ll answer with an enthusiastic, “Terrible!” which of course translates to mean, “I’m making some great headway here.”

This is funny-not funny because sometimes I just really need to know the answer to something without being given the run around. And then there is the issue with him using sarcasm around younger kids or unsuspecting adults. Someone might say, “You look nice today, Malachi.” and he’ll come back with with a happy, “I know.” which takes people off guard and I always hope they know he’s kidding.

We’re working on teaching discernment on when to be “funny” and when to simply answer a question already.

In the meantime, I tried a new recipe a readers sent to me that sounded amazing, but then of course, I cut down the sugar so I didn’t send everyone off to Bible class with a major sugar high. I prepared the drink, then ran upstairs to finish getting ready for church. Later when I hesitantly hollered down, “Does it taste okay? Do you like it?” Malachi promptly answered with, “No. It is really not good.”

Oh man, I had hoped this would be a fun, refreshing, filling drink I could make this summer. Oh well, I’d move on to the next idea.

Then he smiled and said, “It’s actually really amazing. Make it again.”

That kid!! I give up.

(Because that’s what frustrated parents do. They give up. They stop trying. There is no other way.)  Weird. It’s as if Malachi comes by his sarcasm naturally.

We’ll continue to work on when to be silly and when to shoot it straight, but according to Malachi, you should definitely not try this recipe. You won’t even like it. It’s disgusting.

Welcome to my world.

Iced Chocolate Using Homemade NesquikYum

By the way, all credit goes to Laura on this one. Not me. Another Laura. Laura D. She emailed me this idea!

Iced Chocolate Using Homemade Nesquik!
 
Author:
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup Homemade Nesquik (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients on high in the blender until smooth.
  2. Serve right away.

You’ll find my easy Homemade Nesquik recipe here.

Delicious and Easy Iced Chocolate

Take note that there’s still quite a bit of sugar in this because I don’t know how to adjust that in my Homemade Nesquik recipe. This makes for a great summer treat, though!

Thank you Laura D. for sending in this recipe idea. Malachi really does appreciate it, even though you might not be able to tell at first. :)

Easy Taco Salad Recipe

I sort of shared this “recipe” back in 2010 when I first posted my Homemade French Dressing recipe. Since then I’ve had several people tell me that they’d prefer me to write out an actual recipe. It’s only taken me 6 years to do it. Therefore, if you have any requests, ask now. First come, first served – I shall answer your requests by 2022.

I hope I’m kidding.

taco salad1

A key player in this salad is the French Dressing. I used to toss this with bottled Catalina Dressing, but the homemade variety is easy and better for us. If I don’t happen to have time to make the French Dressing, we just dump in a little salsa. It changes the taste of this salad, but it’s still a great meal!

I shall now attempt to write down measurable quantities of salad fixin’s to provide an actual Taco Salad recipe. If in fact you don’t follow this recipe precisely, you will still turn out a fabulous Taco Salad. For that matter, since everyone in my family has specific preferences (some like tomatoes, some don’t; some like beans, some don’t) I often lay out all the salad makings and let everyone build their own bowl however they like!

Easy Taco SaladYum

Easy Taco Salad Recipe
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 head lettuce, any variety (we prefer red leaf, green leaf or romaine)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 15 ounces (or 2 cups) of pinto, chili, or black beans
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup French Dressing (give or take)
Instructions
  1. Brown hamburger meat and season with taco seasoning mix (recipe link below)
  2. Chop or tear lettuce into a large serving bowl.
  3. Add cooked meat (cooled), shredded cheese, beans, tomatoes, and chips.
  4. Toss with French Dressing.
  5. Serve.

Other fun Taco Salad toss-in options are:

  • Black olives
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Onions
  • Peppers

I recommend making this Taco Seasoning Mix to have on hand for recipes like this. Easy and delicious!

Easy Taco Salad

We will likely enjoy this Taco Salad every week until the end of summer. How about you? Are you a Taco Salad fan?