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Homemade seasoning blends delight

Article and photo by Lisa Nicklanovich

Seasoning blends add so much flavor to dishes that it is hard to imagine chili or tacos without them. A simple meal with chicken, beef, fish or roasted or grilled veggies can be elevated to deliciousness with a seasoning mix. Sometimes it is tricky to know which spices blend well together. Store-bought seasoning blends tend to be high in sugar and sodium, and many contain additives. Do-it-yourself mixes allow the creation of flavors to one’s liking while avoiding the additives. Most, if not all, of the spices in the creation are probably already on hand.

Simply whisk the herbs and spices in a small bowl and either use them immediately or store them in a sealed jar for six months to one year. Spices lose their flavor over time and are best when they are fresh, which is all the more reason to create blends and enjoy them. Seasoning blends also make great homemade gifts for the holidays.

Consider these all-purpose blends; try the poultry mix on fish and the seafood mix on veggies, or try the taco mix on baked potatoes or in dips. None of these blends contain salt, so salt your dish to taste before serving.

Mixing spices together to create a custom blend seasons food to perfection and avoids extra sugar, sodium and additives that are often in store-bought seasoning blends. Spices are most flavorful when fresh so use what’s on hand in the pantry to create custom mixes in minutes.

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or more to your liking)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Poultry Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Italian Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¾ teaspoon dried sage
  • optional: a dash of fennel seeds

Seafood Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • dash of allspice

Garam Masala

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


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