Convenience mixes are so… convenient. They are so ubiquitous these days that most people don’t give some of them a second thought, let alone know how to make, say, Italian dressing, without a packet of Good Seasons. We’ve come a long way since our grandparents’ cupboards! Unfortunately, along with convenience come preservatives and other less desirable (and often unpronouncable) ingredients. For those of you who have the time and the inclination to DIY these mixes ahead of time, you can have that same convenience PLUS the comfort of knowing every single ingredient you are putting in your food.
The first post in this series is on DIY salad dressings. Once you make your own salad dressing and see how cheap, easy, and tasty it is, I can almost guarantee you won’t ever want to go back to the bottled varieties. And now that spring is here, try using fresh herbs instead of dried for outstanding flavor, especially in vinaigrettes! The rule of thumb for fresh vs. dried herbs is 1 Tablespoon of fresh = 1 teaspoon dried.
Salads, By Anil Wadghule via Flickr
Vinaigrette Dressing Mix from Budget 101
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped dried chives
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- dash ground red pepper
- dash fine-ground black (table) pepper
Combine ingredients in a ziploc bag or airtight container. To make dressing, add contents plus approximately 1/4 c. vinegar and 1 c. oil (I personally prefer more vinegar, less oil) in a cruet and mix well. Let sit at least 30 minutes before serving.
What You’re Missing Out On: Sodium Citrate, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum
Hidden Valley Ranch Mix from copycatrecipeguide.com
- 15 saltine crackers *
- 2 Tablespoons dried dill weed
- 2 c. dried parsley flakes, minced
- 1/2 c. dried minced onion
- 1 c. dried buttermilk powder
- 1/4 c. onion salt**
- 1/4 c. garlic salt**
- 1/4 c. onion powder
- 1/4 c. garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
* to make this recipe gluten-free, substitute Rice chex for Saltines.
** to make this recipe low-sodium, omit onion salt and garlic salt and use 1/2 c. each onion powder and garlic powder, and use unsalted crackers.
In a blender or food processor, pulse saltines to a fine powder. Add parsley, buttermilk, onions, and dill weed and pulse again until all ingredients are blended to a powder. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to an airtight container and store up to one year.
To make dressing: mix 1 Tablespoon of powdered mix, 1 c. mayonnaise, and 1 c. buttermilk. For a lowfat version, substitute fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt for mayonnaise, and/or skim milk for buttermilk. Makes 1 pint.
What You’re Missing Out On: MSG, Modified Food Starch, Guar Gum, Maltodextrin, Calcium Stearate, Soy
And finally, I found this dead-end pin on Pinterest, and was unable to find its source even by using Google Search by Image. If anyone knows where it came from, PLEASE let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. I am guessing perhaps it was scanned from a print magazine?
More Salad Dressing Mix Recipes from Budget 101