Sauces and Seasoning Mixes

Homemade Ranch Seasoning (Dairy-Free)

Have you ever read the ingredient label on ranch mix?  Just for fun, I checked the ingredient label of Hidden Valley Ranch mix.

Ingredients: maltodextrin, salt, momosodium glutamate, dried onion, dried garlic spices, modified food starch, less than 3% of: buttermilk, calcium stearate, natural flavor (soy)

Not only is that not allergy-free, it is disgusting! Have no fear!  I have a recipe that is a fraction of the cost but tastes multiple times better. This recipe is so easy and so good, you’ll never buy that HiddenValley stuff again!

This ranch seasoning works exceptionally well on Bacon and Ranch Roasted Cauliflower.


Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Pumpkin themed food and drinks are showing up everywhere.  At my house, we’ve enjoyed Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin pie oatmeal and pumpkin granola (not post-worthy, yet!).  We still have pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin granola bars to make.  Just about all of these recipes call for pumpkin pie spice.  I, of course, have none.  Never fear, pumpkin pie spice is super simple to throw together.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Ingredients for 1 pie (2 tsp):

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/8 tsp Cloves

Ingredients for 5 pies (10 tsp):

  • 1 T plus 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves


  1. Add all ingredients to a small air tight container (recycled spice containers work well) and shake well.

You may also enjoy Italian Seasoning Mix and Taco Seasoning.

Photo Credit: rick

Italian Seasoning Mix

Seasoning mixes are a great way to add flavor to your recipe quickly.  Unfortunately, many premixed spices contain gluten, MSG, and other additives.  Making your own mix keeps your spices “clean” as well as saves you money.  I buy my herbs in bulk from Sam’s and Costco. 

This is my favorite Italian Seasoning mix.  I found it on back in the old days when it was called Recipezaar.  I use it in Spaghetti Zucchini Boats and Italian Sausage and Summer Squash Skillet.



  • 3Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes



  1. Measure all ingredients into a small container with an air tight lid. 
  2. Close the lid and shake well.

You may also enjoy Taco Seasoning and 5 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce in 5 Minutes for $3.

Photo Credit: enigmachck1

Asian Chicken Marinade Recipe

I served this chicken for Mother’s Day dinner.  Most of the men ate the chicken as is while the ladies enjoyed their chicken as the feature of their Asian Chicken Salad.  I reduced the leftover marinade to use as a salad dressing.  This makes enough marinade for about 6 chicken breasts.


  • 1 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Tamari Sauce (Soy-free recipes here and here)
  • 3/4 cup Honey or 1 cup White Sugar (I bet sucanat or brown sugar would be really good!  You would need to heat it to dissolve the sugar.)



1.  Blend ingredients.
2. Marinade chicken at least 30 minutes.
3.  Grill as usual.
4.  Reduce the marinade to use as salad dressing for your Asain Chicken Salad and/or seasoning for your Asian Stir Fry.

You might also enjoy Grilled Pantry Pork Chops, Ginger-Lime Marinade for Chicken and Honey Mustard Chicken.

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This post is part of Tackle it Tuesday, Domestically Divine, Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What’s on the Menu, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, What’s on Your Plate, Made it on Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Mingle Monday, Penny Worthy Project, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, Mangia Monday

Photo Credit: Candy TX’s

Honey Mustard Chicken/Pork Marinade


I love that this recipe uses ingredients I keep on hand. The meat doesn’t need to marinade very long, making it ideal for last minute company.  I haven’t tried this marinade on pork, but I’m sure it would be awesome!  Make sure you grill extra to top a salad for tomorrow’s lunch! This makes enough marinade for 1 pound of chicken breasts.



  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


1. Blend ingredients.
2. Marinade meat for at least 30 minutes.
3. Grill or bake as usual.


I have mentioned before that I like to double or triple the recipe and freeze the marinade and chicken in gallon size baggies for later. When the chicken defrosts it marinades!



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How to make 5 jars of spaghetti sauce in 5 minutes for around $3

I love a truly from scratch sauce with fresh tomatoes from my garden.  In fact, I’ll be posting my favorite garden fresh sauce recipe this summer. But this time of year, I am happy to compromise with this sauce.  It tastes way better than any store bought sauce I’ve tried.

Store bought spaghetti sauce contain ingredients like corn syrup and “natural flavors” which we all know can mean just about anything, including MSG.  It can also be difficult for those of us dealing with allergies to find a jar of sauce that does not contain cheese and soy.

I am thrilled to share with you my secret to making 5 jars of spaghetti sauce in 5 minutes for around $3! I buy the large can of tomato sauce at Sam’s (or Costco) for $2.33.  I also buy the spices in bulk at Sam’s or Costco.

The hardest part of this recipe is opening the large can!  A regular electric opener won’t work.  I use a manual can opener.  Once I have the can open, I add the spices directly to the can and mix with a cheap immersion blender (like this one).  That’s it! It’s ready to be added to cooked ground meat or frozen for later.

But, you ask, doesn’t spaghetti sauce need to simmer?  I used to simmer it before adding it to the jars but I find that cooking the sauce with ground meat is enough simmering time to combine the flavors.

Bella enjoys this sauce over Mrs. Leeper’s Rice Shapes For Kids.  I have enjoyed this sauce in spaghetti, ravioli and lasagna.  We are meat sauce people.  If you prefer to go vegetarian, you probably need to add olive oil. Becca wrote this in the comment section:

As a vegetarian, I have to say: Adding olive oil will not give you the good flavor of adding something cooked in the oil.  This is really easy to do with kale, even if it is frozen, because it cooks so fast–give it 3 minutes in olive oil in the bottom of the pot, maybe with a clove of crushed garlic or some bits of onion, and then add the sauce and heat it up.  Kale is crazily nutritious and cheap, too!

Thank you so much Becca!

As a side note, my family of six really needs two pounds of beef in their spaghetti sauce to fill them up.  I buy organic, grass-fed beef from a local farmer which is a little pricier than store bought beef.  I can’t stand to use two pounds of beef in one meal, so I add a can of rinsed black beans to stretch the beef.  At first my kids acted like I was torturing them with beans, but they have gotten used to it.  If you want to try adding beans, don’t blame me if your kids won’t eat their dinner!  🙂


  • Contadina Tomato Sauce – 105 oz. can  (I buy this from Sam’s for $2.33.)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder or 1 Tbsp Dried Onion Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Pepper


1.  Open the can of tomato sauce.

2.  Add the seasonings directly to the can.

3.  Blend with an immersion blender or long spoon.

4.  Divide sauce between 5 recycled spaghetti sauce jars or storage baggies.

5.  Store sauce in the freezer.

You may also enjoy:







This recipe was shared at Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, Make a Food”e” Friend, Mingle Monday, Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival, Mouthwatering Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Made By You Monday, My Meatless Mondays, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Delectable Tuesday, $5 Dinner Challenge, It’s a Blog Party, Tip Me Tuesday, 2 Maids a Baking, Tuesdays at the Table, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tackle it Tuesday, Domestically Divine, Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What’s on the Menu, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, What’s on Your Plate, Made it on Monday, Thrilling Thursday, Strut Your Stuff, Full Plate Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, PennywisePlatter Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday,Real Food Weekly, Foodie Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Potluck, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Allergy Friendly Friday, Friday Food Linky, Seasonal Saturday, Sugar Free Sunday, Seasonal Sunday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, These Chicks CookedReal food, low cost challenge


Ginger-Lime Marinade for Chicken Recipe

This is one of my favorite chicken marinades.  The ginger and lime together gives the chicken a little zing.   This marinade makes enough for 6 chicken breasts/whole legs or 12 thighs/drumsticks.  The chicken is good alone, over a bed of rice or as a kabob.  I like to grill extra and use the leftovers for fajitas.


Mayonnaise Recipe (Egg-Free, Soy-Free)

This is one of those recipes that has changed my life.  I cannot believe how easy it is to make!  Even my Hellman’s loving hubby gives this mayo a thumbs up.

¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup water
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp rice flour
1 tsp arrowroot
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp honey
¼ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp sea salt

Blend all of the ingredients until it magically thickens up.  It takes my Bosch blender less than 30 seconds on medium high.  Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.  This recipe makes about ½ cup of mayo.

This recipe is based on a recipe found in Cooking Free : 200Flavorful Recipes for People with Food Allergies and Multiple Food Sensitivities.  Thanks to adventures of a gluten free mom for sharing.

Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Recipe

Did you know most taco seasoning mixes contain wheat and MSG?  Making your own taco seasoning is not only easy but cheap!  In fact, in order to save money, I started making this mix long before we had allergy issues to deal with.  I purchase large bottles of spices from Costco or Sam’s for $3 to $5 each.

The Ingredients:
1/4 Cup plus 1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 tsp Oregano
2 1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Black Pepper (optional)

Measure all of the ingredients into an air tight container and shake it up.  Add 2 Tbsp of taco seasoning to 1 pound of cooked ground beef.  This works well in all things Mexican including taco soup and taco potatoes.

Photo credit: Elin B