Tag Archives: Spice Mix

Bacon Salt

Bacon Salt 4594

Well, today is a very good day, for two reasons: 1) it’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day, woohoo!! And 2) it’s my birthday! Yep, another thirty-something one for me.

Bacon salt 4613

So this month I was assigned the awesome food blog Get Off the Couch and Cook, and it makes me rather sad that I never knew about Sashi and her cool blog before. We share the same cooking philosophy, namely that of stop eating processed food/fast food/take out, it’s horrible for you and the environment! Not to mention, cooking from scratch is easier than you think, cheaper, healthier, and oh you know, it tastes way better.

Bacon Salt 4619

When I found out that SRC reveal day would coincide with my birthday, I figured I would make one of Sashi’s cakes. But then I ran across her recipe for Bacon Salt (!!!!!) and decided that it’s my party and I’ll bacon salt if I want to. 🙂

bacon salt 4590

Thanks to a common-cold-turned-ear-infection, I haven’t put this bad boy to use just yet, but I did sneak a taste, and I’m *extremely* eager to use it. I’m thinking possibly crusting burgers or sliders; maybe baked into cookies? And Matt really, really, really wants to rim a margarita glass with this bacon salt goodness. The only question being, of course, what kind of margarita? I’ll let you know. 😉

Bacon salt 4642

Be sure you check out Get Off the Couch and Cook! Thanks for such a genius idea, Sashi!

{One Year Ago: Pork Schnitzel Sandwiches with Pinot-Blackberry Gravy}
{Two Years Ago: Pork Tinga Tacos, Blondies, White Chicken Chili, Mediterranean Baked Feta and Tomatoes}

Source: Get Off the Couch and Cook

5-6 strips of bacon
¼ cup kosher salt

Cook the bacon until dark golden brown and crisp either on the stove top or in the oven (I used the stove top, but Sashi instructs to bake the bacon at 350° for 10-15 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels and cool completely.
Using different, clean paper towels, blot the bacon with paper towels to remove as much grease as possible.
Chop the cooked bacon, removing any large pieces of fat. No need to be fussy with this step. Press the bacon pieces once again with a clean paper towel to remove as much grease as possible.
Add the chopped bacon to a mini food processor and pulse until the bacon is finely ground.
Pour the bacon onto yet another clean paper towel and blot away any grease one more time.
Transfer the bacon to a small bowl and add the salt. Use your fingers (or a small whisk, but your fingers really are better) to incorporate the bacon into the salt as evenly as possible.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks

My Mom’s Blackened Catfish

My mom's blackened catfish 081

Would you even believe me if I told you Matt and I both got sick AGAIN?!?! Third time this year… He’s doing much better, but I have been hit with bronchitis and another ear infection, so I’ve been a bit slow lately. Time to play catch-up!

Last week I blogged My Mom’s Taco Salad, which is delicious and one of *very* few salads I would willingly eat growing up. This catfish is another one of hers that I ate often as a child, and one I always loved.

Mom's blackening spice rub 073

Truth be told, my family of origin are/were not big seafood people. We rarely had fish at home, occasionally salmon cakes, and let me tell you, shellfish absolutely never graced our dinner table. But catfish was the crowning exception to this “rule.” Catfish we did have on a regular basis, and everyone loved it. Well, come to think of it… I know I loved it, I know both parents loved it; Megan did you love it? If not, you faked it well. 🙂

blackened catfish 076

This is not my blackening seasoning used on this fish – I’ve stuck to Mom’s version here, and I love it! Childhood faves definitely deserve a space on the food blog, I think, so I’m very happy to be posting this one today. Oh, and this seasoning works beautifully on chicken breasts, chicken wings, shrimp, other fish fillets, etc. So even if catfish isn’t your thing, take note of the spice rub and use it on your favorite protein.

My Mom's Blackened Catfish 097

{One Year Ago: Orecchiette with Heirloom Fingerlings and Asparagus Pesto}

2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp steak seasoning
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne
2 catfish fillets
2 tbs unsalted butter

Mix all the spices, including the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Blot the catfish dry with paper towels on both sides. Liberally rub the blackening seasoning onto both sides of the fish. Pat them in with your palms.
Place a cast-iron or other nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the butter. Once it is fully melted, swirl it around the pan to evenly coat the entire surface. Carefully add the fish to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until just cooked through. Depending on thickness of fish, this will take anywhere from 7 to 12 minutes total. It’s done when it can flake apart with a fork or the edge of a metal spatula. Remove the fish to a cutting board and serve immediately.

Curry Powder

Homemade Curry Powder

Happy Friday! Concluding Homemade Spice Rub Week, we have one of the most common spice mixes out there – curry powder. This is very easy to make at home and you will not believe how fragrant it is. I toasted and ground the spices myself, but you could use already-ground versions for an even faster and easier mix. This curry powder is on the hotter side, as I used about a teaspoon and a half of crushed chili flakes. You can back off on that amount or omit it altogether for a mild curry powder.

toasted spices for curry powder

And here’s a recap of the week!

First up we made Homemade Cajun Seasoning, for spicing up all those New Orleans-inspired recipes I love so much.

homemade Cajun seasoning






Secondly, I showed you a homemade Ranch seasoning packet you can make yourself, thus avoiding all the chemicals and excess sodium that comes from the store-bought packets.

Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packet






And thirdly, we made an All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix. This replaces all those store-bought packets labeled Chili Seasoning, Enchilada Seasoning, Fajita Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, etc. It’s easy and a great template that you can work with to tailor to your own tastes. Make it hotter, make it milder, make it chipotle, add some lime zest, whatever you want!

Mexican/Tex-Mex Seasoning






And as usual, here’s a recipe round-up from the blogosphere of other spice mixes you can easily make yourself.

Apple Pie Spice from My Baking Addiction
Homemade Blackening Seasoning from The Texan New Yorker
Homemade Garam Masala from The Wishful Chef
Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning from Simply Scratch
Homemade Old Bay Seasoning from The Texan New Yorker
One Minute Taco Seasoning from See Aimee Cook
Onion Soup Mix from Heavenly Homemakers
Pumpkin Pie Spice from My Baking Addiction

Now go make some delicious Indian food!

spices for curry powder

{One year ago: Beans and Greens Soup}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

10 cardamom pods
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 to 2 tsp crushed chili flakes
1 tbs ground turmeric

Add the cardamom pods, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick pieces, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and chili flakes in a small skillet. Toast over medium heat, shifting the pan around to avoid scorching any spices. When the seeds become aromatic, 2 to 4 minutes, remove from the heat.
Pick out the cardamom pods and move them to a small cutting board. Release the seeds inside by pressing on each pod with the back of a spoon. Discard the pod shells and transfer the seeds to a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that is only used for grinding spices. Add the toasted spices and the turmeric to the spice grinder.
Grind the spices together until they are a fine powder. Let cool briefly, then transfer to a jar. Store in a cool, dark place.

All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix

Mexican/Tex-Mex Seasoning

Welcome to day 4 of Homemade Spice Mix week! In deciding which spice blends to create at home, it was obvious that I should do something Mexican related. If you peruse the spice packet section at the grocery store, there are tons that relate to Mexican and/or Tex-Mex cuisine. There’s chili seasoning, taco seasoning, fajita seasoning, enchilada seasoning, and on and on.

Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Rub

They aren’t all that different from each other, and yes, they are mostly sodium and chemicals with a little bit of chile powder and cumin. So much easier to mix up your own at home. And this little mix is incredibly versatile. It works on any protein in really any form of Mexican or Tex-Mex dish. I’ve long thought that having separate packets for all the different dishes was purely a marketing ploy.

As written, this will approximate the amount in one grocery store packet. You can, of course double or triple the recipe and keep a jar on hand. Also, this isn’t terribly spicy as written – it’s meant to be a template that you can work with; if you want it hotter, simply add some cayenne or ground chile de arbol. Also, switch out half or all of the ancho for chipotle chile powder for a Chipotle Spice Mix! And stay tuned tomorrow – it’s gonna be a good one to round out the week! Enjoy!

All-purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix

{One year ago: Gin and Orange Juice Braised Endives}

1 tbs ancho chile powder
2 tbs cumin
½ tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp cinnamon, preferably Mexican (canela)

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl; whisk to combine. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Make Your Own Ranch Seasoning Packet

Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packet

In my quest to switch my cooking from using lots of processed goods to from-scratch, it probably goes without saying that those seasoning spice packets simply had to go. They’re chock full of chemicals, many include MSG, and tons of sodium. One that I used to occasionally use was the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Packet.

homemade ranch seasoning packet

We all love our ranch dressing flavors, and that particular packet is popular for a reason. A couple years ago, I set out to make a homemade version. The verdict? So easy, and you probably already have the necessary spices and dried herbs sitting in your pantry right now! It seemed like a perfect addition to my Homemade Spice Rub Week.

homemade ranch seasoning

As written, this is about the same amount of spice mix as you’d find in a store-bought packet. You could easily double or triple the amounts to make a whole jar to keep around. Enjoy!

make your own ranch seasoning

{One year ago: Basil and Blood Orange Salad}

2 tbs onion powder
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
½ tsp garlic powder

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Use immediately or transfer to a small, covered container and store in a cool, dark place.

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

So yesterday was fairly eventful! The Super Bowl. Of course. But also making headlines was actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic and untimely death. Such a fine actor, I always enjoyed his movies. Though he only had a supporting role in it, I think Almost Famous is my favorite movie of his. His excellent work will be missed. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.

homemade Cajun seasoning

So my theme this week is Homemade Spice Rubs! I’m sharing recipes for making your own so you can avoid buying those awful seasoning packets that are mostly sodium, and not spend extra money on the jarred spice blends. It’s so easy to make your own if you keep a well-stocked spice pantry. And of course the homemade versions are way more flavorful, and no MSG, ever!

I’ll start with Cajun seasoning. Of course any grocery store will sell a jar of this, but I’ve found all of them to be way too salty and not particularly well balanced. Time to make my own, and it was definitely easy enough.

Cajun Seasoning

So, what a boring game last night! Well, I’m sure it was great for all the Seahawk fans. But the commercials suddenly became way more interesting, right? I thought I would share the best #SuperBowl tweets I saw last night, just for a laugh. Oh, and was it just me, or did anyone else mishear the voiceover who introduced the half-time show say, “Get HIGH for the halftime show!”, instead of “Get HYPED for the halftime show!”? I seriously thought that’s what they said for a split second, and I was thinking “well, if the halftime show is going to be anything like it’s been in years past, that might not be a terrible idea…” But anyways, enjoy the tweets! And feel free to add any that you saw.

Eli Manning’s playing a better game just by watching. #SuperBowl from @RadioJJ

“It’s not about scoring, it’s about going out there and having fun.” The Denver Broncos #SuperBowl from @TheStateFarmGuy

Karl Rove asked Megyn Kelly to go down the hall and check with Fox Sports because his numbers show Denver winning the Super Bowl. from @TeaPartyCat

Weed is legal. So they still have that going for them. Which is nice. #Broncos #SuperBowl from @Do512

Do Super Bowls have mercy rules? You know, like in 8th grade girls’ soccer? from @meganromer

I haven’t seen a choke this bad since Mama Cass said “hmmm the ham sandwich looks good. Send one up.” from @BrigadierSlog

The #Broncos need to let some Doberhuahuas out on the field. #LovedtheAudiCommercial #SuperBowl from @TamraWard1

The rugby team from Alive had a more enjoyable flight home than the Broncos are going to have. from @JimNorton

See you Wednesday with more spice rubs you can easily make yourself!

Cajun seasoning

{One year ago: Black Pepper Bacon Waffles}

Source: Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs and Marinades by Steven Raichlen

¼ cup kosher salt
2 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs ground black pepper
½ tbs cayenne pepper
½ tbs dried thyme
½ tbs onion powder
½ tbs garlic powder
½ tbs gumbo file powder (optional)
1 tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp ground bay leaf

Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Make sure you work out any lumps so the mixture is uniform. Transfer to a spice jar and store in a dark, cool place. Makes half a cup.

Homemade Blackening Seasoning


Happy Friday, y’all! Here’s to a great weekend! I’m very excited to be attending a book signing for Jennie for her new book Homemade with Love tomorrow night. I’m combining it with a much-needed date night with Matt (see, I’m efficient!), so I suppose it works out quite nicely that he likes hanging out in bookstores.


This is my favorite blackening seasoning. I made it up myself, through a looootttt of trial and error over the past few years, and I have to admit that I kind of love it! It is very versatile; I’ve used it on shrimp, salmon, tuna, catfish, tilapia, in crab cakes, chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, chicken wings, and I have big plans to crust turkey burgers with it soon. You could add it to breading before frying something too, that would be great. I also have half a mind to throw a little bit into some cheese sauce for mac and cheese sometime. Hmm… that sounds good, I’ll keep you posted!


And while I still have you, I’m quite excited to announce that I’m doing a blog series over the next couple weeks on some of my favorite food blogs! I picked ten food blogs that I follow, and I’m featuring one of their recipes that I made, with my own photographs. It should be great fun! And for the record, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are literally thousands of food blogs out there, I read many of them, and if I featured every single blog that I read, I might literally never make any of my own recipes again!


So enjoy this blackening seasoning and stay tuned next week!

2 parts Old Bay seasoning
2 parts garlic powder
1 part dry mustard
1 part sweet paprika
1 part onion powder
1/2 part cayenne pepper
1/2 part ground coriander
1/4 part black pepper

A part can be whatever you want it to be. If I’m doing 2 servings, then 1 part equals 1/2 a teaspoon. If I need more, then 1 part will equal anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix together thoroughly; I’ve found it’s easiest to do this with clean fingers.

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning


Hello blogosphere, I am back from the dead flu and extremely happy about it! I can truly report that the nasty virus has finally decided to leave me be, and that my dear husband did not catch it from me, which is a huge relief for both of us. I’m also ecstatic to get back to cooking, something I couldn’t really do whilst feeling so yucky.

I, like so many others, feel very strongly about not using those spice and flavoring packets you find in most grocery stores. They are mostly sodium and chemicals. Your food will be healthier and taste much better if you just use the pure spices themselves. But, a few months ago, as I was looking for something in my pantry, I came across my box of Old Bay seasoning. It got me wondering if it’s all that different from using one of the spice packets I abhor so much. Truth be told, probably not.


So I knew I must fix that hypocritical aspect of my pantry by making it from scratch. I did quite a bit of research online and adapted my own from a combination of several sources and a bit of trial and error. I’m so glad I did this! Homemade is so much better than the store-bought stuff. And I know for certain because I did a side by side comparison with a sautéed piece of flounder. We got two fish fillets, spiced one with the boxed commercial stuff and one with the homemade version. We both definitely noticed a difference and we infinitely preferred the homemade Old Bay. So give this a try, especially if you use lots of Old Bay in your cooking. It’s really worth it.


*Note: you may have trouble finding ground bay leaves in your regular grocery store, but they can easily be obtained online.

Adapted from several different sources

1 tbs celery salt
1 scant tbs ground bay leaf powder
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. It works best to just use your fingers. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.