Eco-Saturday: Ditch the packets

Homemade seasoning mixes make nice gifts.
Homemade seasoning mixes make nice gifts, too.

If you’re still buying individual packets of prefabbed seasoning mix for chili, tacos and dip, stop it immediately. You’re putting a lot of unnecessary trash into the landfill and a lot of unnecessary sodium into your body. Grab your blender blades and a couple of Mason jars and get ready to raid the spice cabinet, because I’ve got two quick, easy recipes that will save a few dollars and a few packets. Bonus: They’re completely vegan. Details below the fold.

Leave space at the top to shake it up.
Leave space at the top to shake it up.

Mexican seasoning
This works equally well in chili or tacos. Use 2-3 tablespoons to season a batch of chili or 1 tablespoon to season a pound of taco meat.

1/4 c. onion powder
1 T. garlic powder
1/4 c. ground cumin
1/4 c. chili powder
2 T. paprika
2 T. cocoa (the unsweetened stuff you use for baking, NOT presweetened hot chocolate mix)
1 T. cayenne, chipotle or green chile powder* (or a combination; use extra if you’re a fire-eater)

Put all ingredients in a pint Mason jar and shake it up. It will look like this when you’re done:

Homemade taco seasoning is exponentially better than the storebought kind.
Homemade taco seasoning is exponentially better than the storebought kind.

Ranch dip mix
Adjust the salt up or down to suit your tastes.

2 T. dried parsley
2 T. dill weed
1 T. garlic
1 T. onion powder
1 T. dried minced onion
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. black or white pepper
2 tsp. green chile powder (optional, but this is me we’re talking about, so obviously I had to put a little New Mexico chile in my Oklahoma ranch dressing)
1 T. sea salt or 1 cube vegetable bouillon

Eat your heart out, Hidden Valley.
Eat your heart out, Hidden Valley.

Place all ingredients in a half-pint jelly jar. Screw blender blades onto jar and grind everything to a powder. Shake the jar to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

Action shot.
You know God just invented celery because He was sick of getting the side-eye for eating dip with a spoon.

Use two tablespoons of ranch mix per pint of sour cream or yogurt.

*Ground green chile is hard to find outside New Mexico, but you can make it yourself by drying fresh chiles and grinding them up in the food processor. Just be sure to wear a dust mask so you don’t mace yourself with pulverized pepper.

Emily

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