Sunday, March 24, 2013

Time Saving Tip: Home Made Spice Blends

I like to keep my meals simple, healthy, and tasty.  Therefore, I keep a well stocked freezer and pantry filled with wholesome foods: salmon, lean meats and chicken, frozen veggies, and healthy grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat breads.  I also cut down meal prep time by creating my own home made spice blends for often cooked meals: grilled chicken with seasoned veggies, chicken fajitas, and lean, slow cooked burrito bowls. 

Two things happened that led me to creating these blends.  First, I compulsively buy spices when I'm at the store "just in case" I'm running out, and ended up with an oversupply of my most often used spices (basil, parsley, thyme, garlic, oregano, cumin). 

Second, I let small things, like taking time to put together a chicken rub or veggie seasoning, become an obstacle from putting together yummy tasting meals.  (Does that make me lazy, or just busy?)  As you probably know, a little seasoning goes a long way with chicken and veggies.  

Thus, the idea of pre-blending my often made spice mixes, was born:

The above mix is the veggie seasoning I use most often for green beans but also for peas.  It is equal parts basil, parsley, and thyme.  I add it after sauteing my veggies with olive oil, onion, and garlic: 
I of course prefer fresh herbs whenever possible, especially on veggies.  But when I'm in a pinch to pull together a quick meal and I'm grabbing green beans out of the freezer (my favorite is Trader Joe's frozen haricot vert), I always opt to add seasoning - even if it is dried. 
The spice jars I used here are leftover Market Pantry Target brand jars that I saved when I was done with the spices.  I used leftover chalkboard contact paper to mark each spice blend.  I'm stocking up now on these spice jars because I have big plans to do a little of this after harvesting herbs from my garden this summer:
...and this:
The above herbs - rosemary, thyme, marjoram, savory, basil and lavender - are used to create my FAVORITE blend: Herbs de Provence.  It smells wonderful slow cooking all day with chicken, carrots, red potatoes, pearl onions, and mushrooms.  Just coat chicken breasts with the Herbs de Provence and garlic powder or garlic salt, dredge in flour, and saute until golden brown:
Then add to the slow cooker with a cup of chicken broth and veggies:
Cook on low 6 - 8 hours and season with fresh thyme.  So easy and it tastes so good.

I created blends for veggies (equal parts basil, parsley, and thyme), chicken (equal parts garlic and paprika),  slow cooked Santa Fe Chicken (via Skinny Taste) burrito bowls (equal parts cumin, garlic and onion powder - I use this one for chili as well and add an equal part of chili powder), fajitas, and taco's.  Stop back by later this week and I will share my fajita recipe (here).  The spice blend for this fajita recipe, which I got from my mom, is honestly the best fajita blend I've ever tasted!

Do you have any spice blends that you think would work well with this idea? Share them here!
Also, I'm sharing this little time saving tip with Shauna and her readers over at Satori Design for Living.  She is compiling a post of household time saving tips from several bloggers to share later this week.  You can read the post here.  Be sure to stop by and check it out for more time saving ideas!
For those of you reading my blog over email subscription, my feedburner link had some troubles last week and my last post was never sent out.  Check it out here, if you care to see my new mudroom coat hooks and my ideas for my own mudroom makeover:
If you click on over, you will see that I've updated my blog to include new social media links (more ways to follow me than you will EVER need, but I'm just covering my bases here!!!!!): I've created a Facebook page for Inspired Living as well as links to my Pinterest Boards, Bloglovin, and Google + profile.  I will begin sharing my posts through these pages making it easier to follow along.


  1. Homemade spice blends are such a great idea! I used to buy taco seasoning all the time, but realized I had all the spices already on hand so now I just make my own. My taco seasoning recipe is 1T chili powder, 1t smoked paprika, 1t cumin, 1/4t cayenne, 1/2t salt, 1/2t pepper, 1/2t corn starch. It works the same as the store bought packets and I think it tastes so much better.

    PS - I love your spice jars! The display is really cute :)

  2. Love this idea...I may have to steal and am going to try that chicken recipe...STAT!

  3. Making my mouth water just seeing this! I love this idea. My favorite thing to do is get spices in bulk because it saves SO much money (makes me want to go and preach it!), and getting in bulk would be perfect for making mixes. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  4. great timesavers! look at your organization mad skillz. my spice cabinet is a big ol mess that would make you cringe, but it sort of brings me a smile. i grew up in 'mrs. perfect's house' where every linen closet and cupboard was immaculate and organized. so it's one way i have always rebelled! your spice jars look tidy and amazing!


  5. I'm laughing right now if that is the impression I gave you!!!! :) I took these out and put them on the counter because my spice cabinet is a very scary place. No matter how hard I try I can't get THAT together....or my large utensil drawer. I have to open it and stare into it for two minutes before I can find what I'm looking for, thus wasting the time I just saved with my preblended spcies!!!

    My mom's house is pretty organized too. She comes over and tries to get me in shape and sometimes it works....sometimes it doesn't.

  6. Yum! I love homemade spice blends, they always seem better for some reason. I would love for you to share this at what i am eating

  7. Homemade spice blends?! I've never really even thought of making my own - I'll have to try some of yours out!! It's such an awesome idea.

  8. Good idea. I have some oregano that probably should be dried - it is a little strong when it is fresh.

  9. Love this post! Have been wanting to try making my own home made spice blends! Thanks so much for linking up at Give Me The Goods Monday! Can't wait to see what you link up next week!
    Amy from

  10. Ohhh Great ideas with the target herb glass containers! I'm running to target! I will be using that mix for the veggies and let you know how that turns out! Your chicken looks GOOOOOD! ugh now I'm hungry! lol

  11. I love homemade spice blends, and yours sound fantastic! I don't think it makes you lazy... it makes you smart. You're skipping the fillers and stale spices often contained in the store-bought stuff. Such a great idea that I've Pinned it. If you haven't already done so, please come join my How-To Tuesday link party. It would be great to have you join!

  12. Nice idea on the herb glass containers.......Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick