Every Saturday, we post a piece from the CHG archives. This one is from February 2008.
The more I learn about saving cash on food, the madder I get with myself when I knowingly waste money. While this holds true for every aspect of grocery shopping, it’s double the fury when it comes to McCormick-style seasoning packets. Why? Well, almost any pre-packaged spice mix, rub, or powder can be made at home for a fraction of the price. Oftentimes, it’ll taste better, too.
Case in point: I’ve been running out of chili powder for almost a month now. It occurred to me several times to buy some, but always in places like the Q Train or the bathroom at Barnes and Noble. Finally, last Wednesday, I couldn’t wait any longer. My Turkey Chili with Beans needed a massive ¼ cup of the stuff. Pressed for time, I scrounged up a few dollars and hightailed it to Key Food, where naturally, they were all out. Rendered temporarily insane by sheer desperation, I bought a single packet of McCormick Original Chili Seasoning Mix.
It cost $2.39. ($2.39! Seriously! Not kidding! I just about choked.)
Slightly perturbed, I raced back home and immediately Googled homemade chili powders. Turns out, this Recipe Zaar mix could have been made under five minutes with spices I had lying around. Plus? PLUS? My calculations put it at a grand total of $0.18.
Needless to say, duh.
Yet, there was a silver lining, as a post was born. Listed below are roughly 33 recipes for 21 common seasoning mixes. Also included are five excellent Master Sites, in which you’ll discover dozens more concoctions beyond your wildest, spiciest dreams.
With the exception of Essence of Emeril and the Recipe Zaar Chili Powder, I haven’t tried any of these, so I’m referring them blindly. Also, I didn’t include any barbecue rubs. This is for two reasons:
A) There are approximately a billion available all over the web, and
B) I’m a born and bred New Yorker. I don’t wanna embarrass myself claiming to know anything about BBQ. (Bagels and pizza? Another story.)
Enjoy, and please go crazy in the comments section if you know of any other resources.
All Restaurant Recipes
Recipe Goldmine: seasoning search part 1 and part 2
Recipe Zaar: herb & spice mixes and marinades & rubs
Top Secret Recipes main page and search function
Chinese Five Spice Powder
Chow Recipe Source
Alton Brown/Food Network
Emeril’s Essence/Creole Seasoning/Bayou Blast
Emeril Lagasse/Food Network
Herbs de Provence
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Price Smart Foods
Old Bay Seasoning
Paul Prudhomme Seasoning
Astray.com (Cajun Meat)
Paula Deen’s House Seasoning
Paula Deen / Food Network
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Shake and Bake: