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Ron Haynes writes for The Wisdom Journal, a blog about making wise choices, improving your finances, and having a better life.  He’s a fellow member of The Life Skills Network, which is a network dedicated to getting the most out of life.

I love to make my own seasoning blends. It allows me to tailor the flavors to my particular tastes, and it also allows me to adjust the heat so my kids will enjoy their food as well. To top it off, I’m able to avoid all those unpronouncable chemicals that look like someone just ran their hands over the keyboard when coming up with a name (sodiumbicloroethylphosphotrimethylnitrite80 anyone?).

Here’s a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Seasoned Salt

    6 tbsp salt (I prefer Kosher)
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 tsp marjoram
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    2 1/4 tsp paprika
    1 tsp dry mustard
    1/4 tsp onion powder
    1/8 tsp dill
    1/2 tsp celery salt

Put all ingredients into a mini food processor or spice blender and give it a whir on low. Use anywhere you want a kick of flavor!

Blackened Seasoning

    4 tsp ground paprika
    2 tsp dried thyme
    2 tsp onion powder
    2 tsps garlic powder
    1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
    2 tsp salt (Kosher)
    2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste – be careful!
    1 ttsp dried oregano
    3/4 tsp ground cumin
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a jar, give it a good shake, and store in a cool, dark place. Shake up the jar well to distribute the spices before each use. I use this by putting a light coating of butter on a piece of chicken or fish, then covering it in the spice blend. Place the prepared meat on a scorching hot iron skillet (hint: use the grill outdoors to avoid setting off the smoke detector), and cook through, turning once. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Poultry Seasoning

    1 tsp Kosher salt
    1 tsp white pepper
    1 tsp paprika (try smoked paprika for a twist!)
    1 tsp dry mustard
    1/2 tsp ground bay leaves
    1 tsp garlic powder

Measure all ingredients into a jar or zip top bag, seal and shake well. Rub well into poultry before baking, grilling, or tossing in the crockpot. It really does jazz up poultry and keeps it from tasting bland.

Taco Seasoning

    1 tbsp chili powder
    2 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp powdered oregano
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together. This makes the equilivant of a 1/4 ounce package of commercial taco seasoning mix. You can mix this into ground meat, or use as a seasoning rub before grilling chicken or skirt steak. We use it primarily for tacos and burritos and it tastes so much better than the commercially available mixes.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

    2 tbsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp ground cloves

Measure all ingredients into a jar or zip top bag. Mix it into one cup of brown sugar, 2 cups of baked pumpkin, 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and two egg yolks. Then fold this into two whipped egg whites and 1/3 cup of sugar and bake in a prepared pie shell for a wonderful pumpkin pie.

Dry BBQ Rub

    6 tbsp brown sugar, tightly packed
    2 tbsp Kosher salt
    1 tbsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
    1/2 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp garlic powder

Measure all ingredients into a jar or zip top bag. I rub this mixture on a pork shoulder and then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I take the shoulder out and let it come to room temperature, then smoke it at 190 degrees for 20+ hours with hickory smoke. Again, my mouth is watering…

Southwestern Seasoning Blend

    2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
    1 tbsp ground coriander
    1 tbsp Kosher salt
    1 tbsp dried oregano
    2 tbsp paprika
    1 tsp black pepper
    2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper

Measure all ingredients into a jar or zip top bag. This is a mixture that you can use on just about anything when you want that Southwest flavor kick. Try it on eggs, fish, or chicken for a powerful Tex-Mex taste.

Be willing to experiment with these and try some variations if you dare! Be careful when handling two things though, raw eggs or meats, and red pepper or cayenne. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling meat and whatever you do, don’t rub your eyes for at least two days after touching cayenne … trust me … the voice of experience!


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