I love the ease and accomplishment of getting dinner on the table fast. One of the things I learned about getting done quickly is that those boxed mixes don’t exactly taste great. Not only that, the ingredients! I don’t know what half that stuff is. Good grief. And then there is the sodium and the expense of it all. Doesn’t make sense.

That is until you make your OWN mixes. This is one way to get rid of the chemicals, keep expenses down and get dinner done FAST. Here are a few of my healthy mixes–

One little caveat–the rice mix uses dried onion soup in an envelope. I’m not wild about that particular item, but in a pinch it works fine.

Taco Seasoning:
1 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin (I actually add an extra tablespoon—we love cumin)
4 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine all ingredients and store in a cool, dry place.

When you’re using for Mexican dishes, use about 1 tablespoon or so per 1 pound ground beef, or chicken or beans. More if you like the extra flavor.

Noodle Mix
1 cup instant nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons grated romano cheese
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Combine ingredients and store in a sealable container or zipper topped plastic bag. This will keep for 2 months in the pantry, however, I would personally store in the fridge because of the cheese; plus it will last longer. Mark the date on the zipper topped bag with your Sharpie pen. This recipe doubles and triples well.

To Use: combine 1/4 cup mix with 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup milk. Toss with 8 ounces pasta (cooked).

Homemade Shake and Bake
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and store in a sealable container or zipper topped plastic bag. This will keep up to 4 months in the pantry, depending on the humidity (you may just want to keep it in the freezer). This recipe will also double or triple well.

To Use:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place one cup mix in a plastic bag.

In a bowl, mix an egg and 1/2 cup of milk. Dip chicken pieces one at a time in the milk mixture, then shake one at a time in the plastic bag.

Place on a baking pan and bake for appropriate time (depending on the chicken you’re using—as a little as 20 minutes or up to an hour for bigger, bone-in pieces).

Homemade Flavored Rice Mixes
4 cups uncooked rice (I always use brown rice)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients together and store in a zipper topped plastic bag or sealable container. This will keep up to 4 months if stored in a cool, dark and dry place. With brown rice, you may want to keep it in the freezer.
To Use: Mix 1 cup mix with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, place lid on rice and simmer till liquid is completely absorbed, about 20 minutes or more. Check if you need to.  (I would add an extra half cup liquid for the brown rice)

Variations: to make Vegetable Rice Mix, substitute an envelope of vegetable soup mix.
To make Spanish Rice Mix, substitute 1/2 cup Taco Seasoning (see recipe above) for envelope of onion soup.

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Quick and Healthy Mixes
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