I don't know about you but I was brought up with packaged food. KD (guilty pleasure), a can of cream of mushroom soup and some meat makes just about anything, Hamburger Helper (ewww). And then there were flavour packages - taco seasoning, onion soup mix, spaghetti sauce mix. There are 1000's of them. Their purpose is clear. Simplicity. There is nothing wrong with simplicity - it's what I personally strive for. But most if not all of these items are absolutely full of preservatives, fillers and who knows what else. Stuff our bodies do not like and certainly do not need. But we all want simplicity right? What to do?

I love to cook, and I love the food that I cook to taste good but when it comes down to it I like it to be quick. I'm not one to cook all day unless I'm using a slow cooker - which I have yet to have a good meal come out of - what is up with that?

So here are a couple of popular mixes that you might like to try. Next time you go to grab a box or flavor packet, perhaps try one of these instead.

The first is a simple Taco Seasoning mix that has no salt and I think tastes great. Nothing in the ingredients list contains the letter 'x' or ends in 'ide' or 'ose'. My wonderful sister-in-law who lives in Mexico will probably laugh and say 'ay caramba Cayla' at my answer to Taco Tuesday - actually we're sister-out-laws which is just the way we like it. But over here in Canada it works quite nicely. We don't know any better eh?

Taco Seasoning Mix

3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or cayenne)

This makes enough for a typical package to use in a recipe. You can adjust the pepper flakes to your family's taste, but it's a good place to start. You can use it in any recipe that calls for taco seasoning mix. Simple. If you want to make a big batch you can just get out your calculator - but I just make it fresh. I don't even measure anymore. Another great thing about this recipe is now you are in charge of the salt. I typically don't add any, but you may want to. The thing is - you know how much you're giving your family which is what we all want right? To be back in charge of what we feed our family?


Another one that was used over and over again by my mother was a box of dry onion soup mix. Sunday pot roast, on potatoes, in hamburgers, and dips. It was used a lot.

I use a recipe that doesn't use beef bouillon. The reason is simple I asked myself "how do they turn beef broth into those little cubes?" Hmmm ... remember I don't just blatantly trust anymore so I found one without the Beef Bouillon. This recipe has salt and sugar in it. I typically cut the sugar. But the goal here is to know exactly what you are putting in your food, right. With this recipe we do.

Dry Onion Soup Mix Substitute

8 tsp dried onion flakes
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley (I've used fresh too just increase qty)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground pepper

(compare the ingredients - which would you prefer to eat?)

If you don't like the Turmeric you can cut it. Your burgers will have a yellow look to them when you use it which can be funny to some. But I think this recipe is flavorful and delicious. Of course tweak things to your family's tastes, but it's a good place to start. You can use it in casseroles, meat dishes, roasted potatoes, that blasted crock-pot or any recipe that asks for a packet of instant dry onion soup mix. Like the taco seasoning this recipe is the equivalent of one packet of the soup mix. You can make it in advance and put it all in a jar waiting for your next pot roast if you like. It will keep for up to six months.

Give these two a try. You never know, you may just like 'em. Or you may say "Ay caramba Cayla' what the heck was that? Fingers crossed.