Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gluten Free Cooking Tips #9 -- Spice It Up

Cooking Tip#9
Spice It Up: Gluten Free Herbs and Spice Mixes to Keep on Hand

Herbs and spices can make all the difference when cooking meals. You can use as many or as few as your family prefer. It’s important to remember when you’re first learning to use spices to start with a small amount and gradually build up to the amount that your family likes. A little cumin, garlic, oregano, or basil can go a long way!

I have very limited cabinet space at home, so to save a little bit of room I buy several seasoning mixes that contain 3-4 herbs in one container. Generally if you like oregano, you’re also going to like basil and garlic…so therefore why not use all three in one in an Italian seasoning mix?

I really like McCormick Gourmet Seasonings blends. McCormick will list any gluten containing ingredients on their label! My favorite mixes they sell are:

  • Greek Seasoning -- containing onion, oregano, spearmint, garlic, and salt (really excellent on chicken and zucchini!) 
  • Herbs De Provence -- containing rosemary, marjoram, thyme, and savory (very good in stews & soups and on roasts!)
  • Chinese Five Spice -- containing anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger (a perfect addition to both savory and sweet recipes -- add it to anything from Chinese recipes to pumpkin pie)
  • Mild Curry Powder -- containing coriander, fenugreek, tumeric, red pepper, and onion (instantly turn leftovers into curry! serve over rice!)
  • Italian Seasoning -- containing marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil (awesome on anything Italian from spaghetti to pizza to pasta salads!) 
  • Poultry Seasoning -- containing thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg (I LOVE using poultry seasoning in soups, chicken, especially in stuffings, etc...) 
  • Cocoa Chili Blend -- containing cocoa powder, chipotle chili powder, paprika (really unique blend that's awesome as a grill rub and to add to chili!) 
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning -- containing onion, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper (simply adding lemon pepper makes chicken go from bland to gourmet) 

It’s also fun to make your own seasoning mixes. Try out this recipe for homemade taco seasoning:
Mix together:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH of garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes (optional), dried oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper
Place in an airtight container and use for any recipe calling for a packet of taco seasoning. 

When purchasing seasoning mixes, make SURE to read the ingredients thoroughly, if you have ANY suspicion of the mix containing gluten do not buy it. I nearly always buy McCormick seasonings because they will disclose all ingredients and the source of the ingredients on the label. You can also check their website for full information on food allergens in their products.

A tip from my husband when using seasonings: “Make sure not to over-season food. You want to taste the actual food you’re cooking along with the seasonings. It’s easy to want to go overboard with your favorite seasonings, so start with a little and add more if you need it.” – Michael Forbes

Reader’s Tip of the Day:
“MY best cooking tip is to never try out a new recipe on company because it might not come out right. Also always make sure you actually have all the ingredients before you start mixing ingredients or you'll have to make a quick trip to the store!” – Michelle P.

Please visit each topic in "10 Days of Gluten Free"
From: May 7th - May 18th

10 Days Gluten Free GIVEAWAY!
Included with this awesome series is a giveaway on each blog once the two weeks are over! I will be giving away a brand new copy of Carol Fenster's cookbook, "100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes." This is one of my FAVORITE gluten free cookbooks with an awesome collection of Carol's absolute best recipes.

The Giveaway Nitty Gritty: 

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older. 
  • You are allowed one entry per "10 Days of Gluten Free" blog post for a total of 10 entries on this blog. 
  • Enter by leaving a comment (WITH an email address to contact you) on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts). 
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm eastern time on May 18, 2012. 
  • No purchase is necessary. 
  • Odds of winning are based on the number of entries. 
  • The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email. 
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen
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  1. I love reading the posts in this series each day. Your ideas are always useful and make me smile.

    One thing I have done in the last few years, partly because I feel yucky when I'm wasteful, was to put fresh herbs that we got in our weekly produce box in a pretty glass or jar on the counter to dry. I add new herbs each week. They dry nicely and take up very little space. I can then just pinch off a bit of whatever sounds good. I must admit, if we get an herb I don't like, I toss it in the compost right away.

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! We use a lot of herbs and spices as well as onions and garlic. I can put up with a lot of things, but bland, flavorless food is not one of them. Great post Carrie!

  3. silkrug-4@juno.comMay 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Herbs are great to add that like extra something

  4. Thanks for your posts! They continue to be helpful.

  5. I have several of these mixes, a few I make myself, and then tons of other dried seasonings. I use herbs out of the garden when possible, but I love using herbs in cooking.

  6. My BF got me a spice rack for xmas one year, it was one of the best presents!

  7. thanks, I'll get a lot of use out of the taco seasoning recipe

  8. Thanks for the recipe for the taco seasoning. Also thanks for sharing the different ways of combining herbs. I will have to try that.

  9. Thank you for the tips and the giveaway.

  10. Very helpful. We also love McCormick spices!

  11. Thank you!

  12. Great advice. Even if you have a favorite spice blend, if you use that same one on everything, all your meals will start to taste the same! It's so much better to have several to switch between.