Out here in the backwoods, one of the goals is to feed our family more natural foods. To that end, we prepare a lot of things you can find in the grocery store, ourselves, to avoid preservatives or any other additives that may be in the store bought packages.
This week I made some Italian Dressing Mix. I used a recipe I found over at Mrs. Survival, except that I didn't put the parmesan cheese in until I actually made it, because I used real parm that I had bought on sale and stuck in the freezer, not the shelf stable kind, and I added a teaspoon of dried red bell pepper-and I didn't add the wet ingredients. If you're making this Italian Dressing Mix yourself, you can use 6" x 6" sheets of aluminum foil or baggies to store it in. This is a great mom and big kid time together project, too.
I made eight packets of the Italian Dressing Mix. I used one last night to make an herbed butter to put on home made bread to go with dinner (I added 1 tsp of garlic to 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter, plus one packet of Italian Dressing Mix). I usually use it as a marinade or rub when cooking chicken, although I do actually use it to make Italian Dressing when we have salad for a group of people, like for church or a party (we don't eat Italian Dressing much at home). It's going to taste different than what you buy at the store but it is an amazing dressing.
I buy my herbs and spices at HerbalCom.com and their prices are ridiculously inexpensive, but their products are fantastic, and they have a good selection of organic herbs. You do have to buy by the pound, so I also bought a bunch of gallon jars for the bulkier herbs (parsley, chives, etc) and use regular canning jars to store less bulky herbs. But in buying that way I get a larger selection than I would get locally, I cause less waste because I'm not buying eleventy billion little plastic spice bottles, and I always have what I need for putting together bulk recipes like this. Thankfully herbs have a long shelf life, so even herbs that I don't use as often such as cilantro, I can store for quite awhile, although I also share some of those with friends. I order from them once a year.
The best part of all of this is that it took me about 15 minutes to make all eight of those dressing packets, and I made them for pennies each!
What's your favorite DIY in the kitchen recipe?