Whenever friends watch me in the kitchen, I’m pretty sure I make them nervous.
“How do you ever know how much seasoning to put in without measuring?”they always question.
“I just taste it and keep adding until it’s right.”
At first I thought it had something to do with my Type A friends watching a “Type Z” friend cook, but then I realized that there are those who follow recipes to a “T” and those that improvise as they go.
It’s as simple as that.
Yet, one of my sister in laws confessed to stopping right in the middle of a recipe because she reached an ingredient that she didn’t have on hand. She wasted the entire thing because she just “knew” the whole recipe wouldn’t turn out with the missing ingredient. Now, we can’t have.
Everyone needs to feel comfortable enough in the kitchen that they can ad-lib to some small degree and I believe that one of the best ways to begin is by understanding some simple spice and seasoning mixtures.
I had such fun going back and reading an older post, “Following recipes: To Read or not to Read.” Now granted, the comments were my favorite part, but many of those women answering were home cooks.
I made the point of watching the Food Network. You never see chefs following recipes and even on one of my favorite shows, “Worst Cook in America,” they are charged with learning as they go, tasting as they go, enhancing the flavor base as they proceed through the meal.
Hopefully, these five super easy seasoning and rub recipes will help you start connecting what spices go with what flavor bases.
Honestly, take five minutes, grab all your seasonings, and start mixing them together.
It’s a start to really learning how to cook as you go. Because these are so versatile, I use these mixes for so much more than just rubbing onto chicken or meat. I add them into soups, casseroles, and even sprinkle them into sour cream for “gourmet” toppings, but remember, these are just a base, add in other seasonings once you start experimenting with them. If you want more garlic, add some in. These flavors give you a more neutral foundation. We are HUGE garlic lovers, so typically, I triple what I gave you. 🙂
Also know that the measurements given are not large quantities, so feel free to double or triple the amounts for bulk storage.
I’ve already shared my favorite Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. I mix it up in bulk and we go through it quickly. Even our kids use it on everything. They make up taco mix nearly every day and this is a staple mixed right in with the salsa and sour cream.
And don’t forget, while you are digging around in that pantry, print off one of my Pantry Spice Inventory Check Lists to help you get them organized. You will so glad you did.
Homemade Seasonings and Rubs
Combine 2 Tablespoons dried basil leaves and 1 TB. seasoning salt with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Combine 2 Tablespoons garlic powder with 1 1/3 TB salt, 2 TB. dried basil, 2 TB dried thyme, 1 TB cayenne pepper, 2 tsp. onion powder and 1 tsp. black pepper.
Combine 5 teaspoons chili powder, 6 teaspoons ground cumin and 4 tsp. garlic salt with 2 tsp dried oregano leaves and 2 tsp. black pepper.
Asian Seasoning Rub:
Combine 1/2 cup packed brown sugar with 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 tsp. ginger and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more for heat, plus 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes).
Caribbean Seasoning Rub:
Combine 2 TB. vegetable oil with 4 tsp. ground allspice, 2 tsp dried thyme, 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp paprika and 2 tsp cayenne pepper.