Thrifty Thursday: Making Meals and Mixes!

One Pot Meals and Making Your Own Spice Mixes, that is!

Mmmmm…. food!  I love food!  I like to cook food (well, at least when I’m NOT pregnant), and I love to eat food!   But I don’t love the extra salt, MSG or the high prices that are often attached to convenience/pre-packaged foods.  So this week, it’s how to make your own spice mixes, and how to cook some economical, healthy alternatives to make it through a busy week. 

I’ve already raved on and on about my favorite cookbook, Glorius One Pot Meals by Elizabeth Yarnell.  I am mentioning it again, because, well, I love it and use it all the time!  She did just come out with a revised edition of the book, and she has a good website as well:

The GOPM recipes are easy to double or triple and make great leftovers and lunches.  I find this to be an economical (both in time and money) way of cooking.  They take less than an hour and are all cooked in one pot (a dutch oven).  The book is also a great way to ease yourself into using more whole, healthy foods if you’re not used to cooking that way yet.  It does not use condensed soup or soup mixes or any prepackaged items.  And it’s less than $13!

We have two other “one pots” in our kitchen: the soup pot (which I talked about last week), and the crock pot.  I don’t use my crock pot nearly as often, since I quit working outside the home, but it is such a great time and money saving tool.  My only caution (and this is the hippie in me) is to avoid the temping recipes calling for those salt-laden condensed soups, etc. 

My favorite thing to make in the crock pot is chili.  Red chili.  I make it on the stove top as well, but it’s awesome to throw it into the crock pot first thing in the morning, and have it hot and ready after a day of snowshoeing (or whatever) out in the cold.   Which brings me to the first homemade spice mix:

Chili powder. Instead of spending money on the chili powder in the spice aisle, just make it yourself (minus the MSG) from spices you probably already have and can certainly use in other dishes separately.  Here’s the recipe I use:

  • 1 TBS paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper (I like more… mmmm, spicy!)
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander

Add that, some minced garlic along with a bay leaf and some parsley to your pot and, voila! Better than any chili powder you can buy.

Here’s one I’ve wondered about for a long time:  Baking Powder.  I’ve known baking powder was made from baking soda, but only recently did I find out what else went into it (thank you Better Homes & Gardens!):

  • 1/4 cup cream of tartar (I use this in my biscuits all the time)
  • 2 TBS baking soda
  • Sift the ingredients together 3 or 4 times until well blended.  Store in an air tight container.

You can find some other mix recipes (for example, taco seasoning), along with some other handy, money saving kitchen tips at

Bon appetit!  

Find more ways to save this week with Genny, Katie Jean & Tracy.

***I had to edit this post today when I noticed a trend starting on Tracy’s blog: her Marathon Cooking Sessions!  Check out what she does (with a friend, the Smartie!) to save money on those last minute meals;  Here and Here!  Way to go.  I wish I could say I was doing this…. I will have to get this kind of thing scheduled!  Perhaps Genny will be up for marathon cooking together??  Tracy – I hope you don’t mind that I shared!!***

Categories: Food, Recipes, Thrift | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Thrifty Thursday: Making Meals and Mixes!

  1. and NOW i’m hungry! great tips anisa…

  2. Anisa

    Tracy is doing what I really wanted to make this post about… Make ahead meals. That would save so much on the night when you just don’t feel like cooking. If you have stuff in the freezer that you can prep without thinking, it’ll keep you from ordering pizza or take out and busting your budget! Yay Tracy!

  3. Ooooh, I am so buying that book! What a great use of my dutch oven it will be! Thankyou for the tip.

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