a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Use in any recipe calling for dry Italian Salad Dressing Mix, including cheese balls and dip. Use  2-4 T. mix, according to taste.

Don't let the 12 ingredients in this recipe scare you off!  Many, you probably already have on hand.  If you have to buy some of them, check around to see if you have a store that sells bulk spices. We have a health food store that does and the savings are usually worth the time to track them down. Plus, you can buy any amount you want -- even an ounce!  And, for a lot of spices, like dried parsley, an ounce is a lot!

We get a group together and share the costs when we make multi-ingredient things like this. It is a fun reason for a short get-together. Just make sure everyone brings a container to take their mix home.

Update: I just came back from buying the bulk spices for next week's get-together. Nineteen women will be making this Italian dressing mix. Above, I told of the money you saved buying spices in bulk---even if you only buy an ounce or two. Here are some specifics. 

Just for the fun of it, check out the prices of the following bottled spices, generic and name-brand, the next time you go to the store. It is an eye-opener!

These prices are for the dried crushed product, not the powder.

Basil:  Bulk priced at $7.50 per pound---I paid  90 cents for .12 pound which is one full measuring cup's worth!
Oregano: Bulk priced at $8.65 per pound---I paid $2.94 for .34 pound (which is about 5-1/2 ounces) and filled five full measuring cups!
Parsley: Bulk priced at $11.50 per pound---I paid $2.53 for .22 pound (less than 4 ounces) and filled almost six full measuring cups!  Today at the big box store a generic brand of dried parsley worked out to cost $3.00 per ounce which equals $48 per pound!

Italian Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix

The following recipe makes  14 Tablespoons at the approximate cost                                                        of $1.00 (which, at our big box store, is the price of one packet.)

Combine ingredients and store in air tight container.                  
Shake to combine before using.

4 Tablespoons dried oregano
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons dried parsley, crushed
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. marjoram or thyme
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp dried and crushed bell peppers, optional
Sprinkle of paprika

For cheese ball: Soften one block of cream cheese. Stir in 2 T. of mix.  Shape into one or two balls. Roll in dried parsley flakes or chopped nuts. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to blend flavors.

For dip: Stir 2 to 4 T. of mix (according to taste) into 16 oz. sour cream.

For salad dressing: Combine 2 T. mix with 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/3 to 2/3 cup oil, and  2 T. water (if desired).  Adjust measurements to taste.

My dictionary states that cheapskate is a slang term for a person who will not spend money. Yes, I am a cheapskate and proud of it!

'till we eat again ---
              Simply, Gail

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