One of the strategies I’ve used for increasing my “Make Your Own” recipe options at dinner time is to get more familiar with my jars of ground spices. It’s much easier to start eliminating processed foods and those pre-packaged spice mixes once you get more comfortable with how to flavor and season your meat and vegetables yourself with the jars of spices you probably already have in the cupboard.
Many of the DIY spice recipes out there on the internet have you mixing up a large batch of a spice mix (like taco seasoning for instance) but that’s not really my preference. I like to just sprinkle in the needed spices for a recipe as I’m cooking. It leaves a little more room for creativity and adjustment as I cook and I don’t feel like there’s a big ole batch of a mix sitting around waiting to be used up (Arrgh . . . tacos again ?!?).
BUT that being said, there are a couple DIY spice blends that I love and always keep around. I always have a little jar of my homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning and my homemade Chicken Seasoning and I’ve found them so helpful over and over again.
That’s why I decided to give another spice blend a whirl that’s a lot like these two favorite spice blends of mine . . . I mixed up a homemade version of Emeril Essence so I can add a little homemade BAM!
There’s a recipe both on the Food Network site and on chef Emeril Lagasse’s own website for his spice blend. Is he really giving away his secret recipe? Well, I guess only Emeril knows for sure, but what he’s shared is a great blend of spices so I’ll take it!
And like I said earlier, I’m not really crazy for making large batches of spice blends so I’ve adapted his recipe to make it in a size that’s more my style.
Here’s how to do it:
DIY Emeril Essence Spice Blend
- 3 teaspoons Paprika
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground (Cayenne) Red Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer to a spice jar or other small covered container. Sprinkle on meats or vegetables before cooking to add extra flavor.
One thing to note with this spice blend is that it does have a little “heat” to it because of the cayenne red pepper. If you want a little less heat, or if you’re using it for meals with small children, you might want to reduce the cayenne to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon instead of using the full teaspoon.
More Ways To Use Ground Spices
I have an assortment of recipes on this site for ways to use ground spices, but I thought I would list some of them here together to give you a few more ideas for putting those spices in your cupboard to good use:
Taco Meat Seasoning – The spice combination I use to flavor one pound of ground beef for tacos
Fajita Spice Blend – Many of the same spices as for tacos but a slight variation for fajitas
Chili – I know there’s tons of ways to make chili, but here’s the spices I sprinkle in
Crockpot Vegetarian Chili – A vegetarian twist on chili
Jazz Up Your Rice – It’s so easy to sprinkle a few spices into the water before adding the rice
Italian Seasoning Blend – A simple replacement for the pre-made Italian seasoning blends.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend – Another blend that’s easy to mix together yourself
Popcorn Seasonings – There are three recipes here and I love Recipe #1 for vegetables (instead of popcorn!)
And I know I mentioned them already, but these two are favorites of mine so here they are again . . .
Montreal Steak Seasoning – I love to sprinkle this over our steaks before grilling
Chicken Seasoning – Great for adding a boost of flavor to chicken meals