Friday, September 16, 2011

Making Your Own Spice Blends

I don't know if you all buy your spices in bulk, but I find that you can save alot of money and if you put together your own spice blends you can save alot of time too!

As I wrote about in my last blog post I make a ton of chili. Mark likes it, Gabe likes it, it's fast, highly nutritious with the addition of a ton of veggies, and talk about versatile. Pick your beans (or no beans) pick your protein, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, sausage....the possibilities are endless. The great equalizer is chili spices. The only spice you really need is red chili powder.

My basic blend is always:

2 tbl red chili powder
2 tbl paprika
2 tbl oregano (ground or leaves)
2 tbl cumin
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

I almost always have these spices in my pantry. If I'm missing one, it's not a big deal. The only other thing I add to my pot of chili is one or two canned chipotle peppers that I keep in the fridge.

Other additions can be your own personal taste.

garlic powder
onion powder
chipotle pepper powder
cocoa powder


Since I've been testing recipes I stocked up on my chili spices at the Mexican market. For $.99 a packet I usually refill my spice jars as I need them. It never occured to me to refill my spice jars with the blend already measured out until the other day! DUH! But then again I never make pot after pot of chili. Although it only takes minutes to measure out, most of the time is spent retrieving all of the spices from my cabinet, if you do it ahead of time it takes 1 second.

I was able to pre-fill about 10 spice jars. I'm so happy, and I'm ready for the next pot of chili. Now that I'm comfortable with using dried beans, my PC and I are only about 30 min away from the next batch!


Hanneke said...

Yummy!!! I make a lot of my own spices as well. Lately I am into curries and Ethiopian spices. The possibilities are truly endless. I love cooking at home and am becoming a true food snob....LOL

Maribel said...

It's like those spice packets they sell at the grocery store!

JenG said...

I like how you did your jars, they look pretty. I would have just blended them all together.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I love Indian food flavors, I've even put garam masala on a dessert pizza! Ethiopian hasn't really made it's way where I live...all of the Ethiopian restaurants look suspicious....

As far as being a food snob....I just want people to prepare and cook their own foods. After that how "clean" the ingredients are or how much they eat is secondary. Taking responsibility for feeding yourself and your family is what's important.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I remember buying those "spice packet", lol I used to love the one for "swiss steak". Good God that seems like forever ago!

What kills me is that some people still use "onion soup mix", in other words, salt and dehydrated onion, or what about the good ole can of "cream of mushroom soup"! Good God. (I'm not trying to hate!)

Tracy Reifkind said...


I didn't do it on purpose! I lined up the empty jars and started with one spice in each, then the next, and then the next...topping them all off with a bay leaf...happy accident.

Maribel said...

I tried a recipe once that was just diced chicken breast with a can of cream of mushroom soup served over rice. My husband said "never. ever. ever. feed me that again" LOL! I actually thought it was tasty in that synthetic fake food kind of way.

JenG said...

I have a rule that I try to live by - we eat nothing out of a can. My biggest problem with that was tomatoes, until that is I found Pomi. That was my latest and greatest food find - ingredients: tomatoes. That's it! 10mg of sodium!! :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


my fav, and it's still not that bad, is Kraft Mac n Cheese mixed with cream of musroom that I think about it it is kind of yucky....

Tracy Reifkind said...


I agree with the canned tomato thing, but not because the tomatoes are in a can but because I don't like to eat tomatoes out of season.

I can easily go the whole winter and Spring without them, that's why I freeze so much of my own homemade tomato soup and sauce. Until I learn how to can my own, and really I'm just too lazy to learn, or maybe the whole "canning" thing intimidates me, I rely on my freezer.

I've been to Italy a few times, once specifically to cook. The Italians don't use Pomi, and it's available there, the Italians use canned tomatoes, so if I absolutely have to use canned I buy the Italian brands.

Looking in my pantry right now I only have the only canned products I have are:

1 can of diced tomatoes for emergency.
10 cans of Herdez green salsa verde (sit was on sale at Target for $.59 a can
2 cans of Herdez salsa ranchera
1 can of lite coconut milk (I may or not use it within a years time)

that's it.

oh....and cat food!

JenG said...

I also looked in my cupboard after posting that and I also have canned clams (I buy them a lot) stewed tomatoes and coconut milk.

I love San Marzano tomatoes, so I understand the canned tomato thing. But what I like about Pomi is the 10mg of sodium. Did I say like? I mean love. :)

Alison and Larry said...

I would love to see a "Thai" or Asian spice jar equivalent. I love the green curry sauces in the jar, but they are loaded with sodium and other scary stuff.