A simple and easy way to flavor your meals can be found right in your spice cupboard. Mix up your own spice blends to add spice and save money. This recipe for Jamie’s Spice Mix will add zest to any meal.
The spice of life is …. spice, of course. You can have a sparse pantry, but as long as you’ve got some spices, a few veggies, a solid protein, you’re good to go for a delicious dinner.
Generously douse a chicken breast or a ground meat patty with a favorite spice mix, grill or sauté it until done, and serve alongside some steamed veggies for a deliciously simple dinner that’s packed with flavor!
Why Make This
It saves money. One of the ways that I dramatically cut grocery costs years ago was to switch from buying expensive spice mix and blends to mixing my own. I buy spices in bulk at a greatly reduced cost, storing the extras in the freezer to extend their shelf life. When I want a seasoned salt or blend, I mix my own.
It makes for easy flavor. Having a spice mix makes for easy ways to add flavor to foods, whether cooked veggies, meats, sauces, or grains. This blend is fabulous on grilled meats, stirred into marinades, sprinkled on buttered pasta, and mixed into dressings. I’ve topped bread sticks and pizza dough with it, flavored marinara sauce with it, and stirred it into pulled chicken.
One of my go-to blends, this spice mix is based on one that my sister mixed up for her wedding favors years ago. When quizzed, Jamie told me she bought large cartons of a variety of spices and just dumped them in a bowl. Ha!
I’ve made some tweaks and measured things out so all of us can enjoy it. You’ll need the following herbs and spices:
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- celery seed
- lemon zest
- cayenne pepper
In many of my early batches I used dried lemon peel that you can find in the spice aisle of your local store. Mixing this blend with dried lemon peel makes it shelf stable.
However, since fresh lemons are easier to come by, when I make this blend with fresh lemon zest, I simply store the mix in a covered jar in the freezer. This preserves the fresh zest.
You can create your own spice blends by just heading to your cupboard and choosing some favorite flavors. Consider these flavor profiles:
French: thyme, tarragon, herbs de Provence, bay, chervil
Indian: tandoori spices, garam masala, curry, tamarind, cardamom, cumin, coriander, fenugreek
Italian: garlic/garlic powder, oregano, fennel, lemon, rosemary, basil
Mediterranean/Greek: oregano, rosemary, bay, thyme
Mexican: cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander
That depends on where you buy your spices. Buying large cartons of spices at warehouse stores and restaurant supply spaces (like Costco and Smart & Final) will generally get you a better price on spices than buying them in small jars at the grocery store.
Recipes that Use Jamie’s Spice Mix
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Jamie’s Spice Mix
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp celery seed optional
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Place the mixture in an airtight plastic container or freezer bag and store in the freezer.
This post was originally published April 11, 2013. It has been updated for content and clarity.