Seasoned Salt

Do you need to spice things up in the kitchen? I don’t know about you, but sometimes regular salt just doesn’t cut it, so it’s nice to have a recipe on hand that you can add to any dish that needs some additional flavor. I came up with this version of seasoned salt when I was tinkering around with rubs and BBQ sauce recipes. (SPOILER ALERT: I’ll also be sharing those recipes this week.)

A pinch packs a lot of flavor, so make a batch, keep it in an airtight container and you’ll have a secret weapon in your arsenal of flavors anytime you’re looking to shake things up. This is the perfect addition to burgers, salads, chicken, beef or even pork and fish. Why buy store bought products when you probably have all the ingredients in your spice rack already? Not to mention that it is super easy to make and can be easily packaged for a cute hostess gift or housewarming gifts.

Seasoned Salt

A quick mixture of common spice rack seasonings make up this seasoned salt. Keep stored in an airtight container to add a little something different to everyday dishes.

Course Spices
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

    Seasoned salt large grains
  2. Depending on the grind of the salt, you may choose to run through the food processor on pulse to break up some of the larger grains of salt.

    Seasoned salt pulse in processor
  3. Or using a sifter will separate the larger grains (recommended if you're going to use the seasoned salt in a shaker).

    Seasoned salt sift
  4. Store the remaining seasoned salt in an airtight container.
    Seasoned salt storage
  5. The seasoned salt is ready to use today, but all the flavors will mingle the longer it stored. Enjoy.

The best thing about seasoned salt, besides the added flavor, is that you can mix up whatever spices you like. Try it with turmeric, or maybe even some dried herbs. What flavors do you like? Let me know in the comments below and check back for my other recipes using this seasoned salt.

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Homemade Kahlua

Homemade rum and coffee liqueur, better known as Kahlua, is so much better than the original. The main reason, it’s way less expensive than buying it from the store. One liter bottle of rum, some very strong coffee, sugar and vanilla will yield a little more than three liters of this rich, delightful, coffee spirit.

I usually use Bacardi rum, but if you like a little more kick, 100 proof vodka or even Everclear grain alcohol (if you can get it) works just as well. Your wallet and your taste buds will thank you. In total, homemade Kahlua costs between $23.00  and $30.00 for three liters of the liqueur ($7.67 – $10.00 per bottle). Whereas, one liter of the original will cost you about $30.00.

A breakdown of your costs are simple. $15.00 (liter of Bacardi) – $22.00 (liter of 100 proof Smirnoff or Everclear). $2.00 for a 2 pound bag of light brown sugar (I know that sounds like a lot of sugar, but we’re using a lot of liquid that needs to be sweetened. Plus, if you measure out and firmly pack the brown sugar, it’s only about 5 cups). Approximately $1.00 for a strong brewed pot of coffee.  This recipe would be an even better bargain if vanilla weren’t so expensive. If you can get an 8 oz bottle of vanilla for $20, using 2 oz (1/4 cup) will add $5.00 to your total.

Don’t use a bunch of your individual coffee pods for this recipe, as it will make your cost even more expensive than the original. Well, maybe not. I haven’t actually done a cost analysis on it, but I drink way too much coffee for those to be cost effective for me on a daily basis, so I don’t imagine it would be economical in this recipe either.

Vanilla has always been on the expensive side, but the last few years, it has really skyrocketed. A higher demand for pure vanilla as opposed to imitation has caused a shortage and driven up the price. It might be fun to experiment with hazelnut extract or almond extract instead of vanilla to see if we can make this recipe even more economical. Plus it would be some fun flavors to add to your favorite cocktail.

After you’ve made the recipe, you should pour the liqueur into glass bottles that have been sterilized then store in a cool, dark place for about 2 or 3 weeks. This product tastes much better after a few weeks, but if you absolutely can’t wait to try it, it is perfectly good to sample it today. I like to make a double batch and make gift bottles for friends and still have an ample supply for me.

Homemade Kahlua

An excellent substitute for  your favorite rum and coffee liqueur. This recipe yields about 3 liters and is easy enough to make, you can double or triple the recipe. 
Course Alcohol, Beverage
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 3 Liters
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 liter rum
  • 1 pot strong coffee use 1 cup ground coffee
  • 2 lbs light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Using a 12 cup coffee maker, brew one cup of coffee grounds with one full pot of water.

    Homemade Kahlua ingredients
  2. Pour brown sugar into a large heat resistant bowl or pot. Pour hot coffee over the sugar and stir until well dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (About 1 hour)
  3. Add vodka and vanilla. Stir until well blended. 

  4. Store in a cool, dark location for 2-3 weeks. 

Have you tried this recipe or experimented with other extract flavors? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 

Taco Night

Does everyone love tacos as much as I do? Tacos have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I think all kids love tacos though, right? I can remember finding out we were having tacos for dinner and just couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could help make them.

My love of tacos didn’t fade into my adult years. I make some variation of them every week. Ground beef, chicken, steak, fish and even pork tacos. Skillet fried, soft shell, crunchy, casseroles, prepared as a dip or, even like the crunch wraps from Taco Bell…just for fun. There are a million ways to change them up, so they never get old. I love to add mango with fish and avocado for a healthier version. Or mix things up with teriyaki or buffalo sauce too. We’ll have fun making up different combinations another time, but for today, I just want to share a simple recipe to get you started.

my version of a taco bell crunch wrap
my version of a taco bell crunch wrap

What makes the taco so good? The seasoning, of course. I admit that, long ago, buying the single packets at the supermarket was very convenient. That’s what my mom used and it was easy. When I started cooking for myself, it never occurred to me to make my own seasoning. Back then I worked two or three jobs and didn’t have time to experiment.

Then, one day, I was craving some chicken tacos, but I didn’t have any seasoning and my car was in the shop, so I couldn’t go to the store. What could I do? I rooted through the spice rack and tried a little of this and little of that, until I found a combination that resembled the tacos I was used to. It took a few experiments after that, but I finally improved my recipe to be a little spicier than the store-bought mix. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This recipe makes enough seasoning for 5 meals. Just store the seasoning in an air-tight container and you’ve got a head start for your next taco craving. Or, if you’re looking for an easy gift idea (see below) for coworkers, neighbors or a unique hostess gift, get some jars, make some cute hats and labels, buy your spices at the big box store and make a ton of the mix. People will taco bout what a great gift idea it is. (Sorry, please forgive the pun.)

Gift Jar with hat
Gift Jar with hat
Taco seasoning mix
5 from 1 vote
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Taco Seasoning Mix

Quick enough to make for tonight, easy to make ahead of time or for unique gifts.
Course Spices
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 5 meals
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 3/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 5 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Store in an air-tight container.
    Mix seasoning thoroughly
  2. Brown ground beef (or meat of your choice) in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Drain the fat then add 3 tbsp of the seasoning mix and 1/2 cup of water. Mix well, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes. The cornstarch in the mix will help thicken the sauce.
    Add seasoning and water
  3. Assemble your tacos with toppings.

    Taco toppings
  4. Enjoy

    Tacos

What is your favorite taco? Comment below and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.