Friday, May 26, 2017

Nine Spices You Don't Need

FaceBook recipes for tiny kitchens

Another segment in the Cheapskates on the Move series:  If you are a follower of Odin Eats on FaceBook (link:, there is nothing new for you here. (Except an Avery template for printing labels!)

Substitutions or recipes?  If you have a well-stocked spice rack, there are nine spice blends you don't need to buy.

Whether you are trying to avoid gluten, control sodium or you're just "OUT" ("Who can be out of Chili Powder?"  It happens), Google is your friend. For the home chefs who are also "tiny-living in a boat or rv", this is nine less jars taking up space in the spice rack.  This also keeps your spices fresh, rotating everything out quicker (onion powder, for instance solidifies quickly in the Caribbean).   An added bonus is the ability to adjust for your preferred taste.  And why lay out more money, when it's all sitting right there in the cupboard?

TIPS:  Whole spices last longer than ground (mortar & pestle or small coffee grinder dedicated to spices).  Spices should be swapped out every 1-3 years or when their scent and taste start to fade (mark the date opened on the jar in permanent marker.  I found jar on the boat from 2012!).  Storing in glass jars is preferred since ziplocks can allow moisture in (if you must, use higher quality freezer bags or food quality storage bags).  Measure spices away from the stovetop instead of tipping the jar over a steaming skillet helps keep moisture out. Heat is also the enemy, so the spice racks right above the stovetop are shortening your spices lifespan.

Before we start, some recipes can be pared down to a single-serving for a recipe.  Others are more difficult.

 A 4 oz or 1/2 cup wide-mouth canning jar is excellent for spice recipes than are harder to reduce OR so you can dip in with a Tablespoon (ie. Taco Seasoning or Garam Masala). Try Amazon, WalMart or Ace Hardware:

Consider swapping out the metal canning lid with a plastic lid (especially on a boat).  Harder to find but again Amazon, WalMart or Ace Hardware (in canning season):

These Avery "Print to Edge" 2" round stickers (#22807) work nicely on canning lids and look nice on gifts (A pumpkin butter fetish in 2013).  Try Amazon or an office supply store:

Empty spice jar, canning jar, refill old jar

Spice jars are for those recipes that may require sprinkling (Chai).  We also keep these on the spice rack in the galley for inspiration.  I think I broke a lid or two so buy a few spares or try using discarded spice lids ($0.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond, ask at Penzey's for extra lids):

Avery 2"x2" "Print to Edge" Labels in Kraft Brown (#22846) are perfect for these spice bottles:

I've done the work for you.  If you bought the labels above, you can download this document & hit print.  No more digging for the recipe (these are the spice jar-size recipes.  See recipes below for smaller portions).  It also includes some bonus mixes including Greek, Julia Child's, No-Salt and Jerk.  Print using Avery's number or cut out & laminate on with scotch tape or packing tape. is good place for finding spice blend recipes and reducing by adjusting servings.  Be careful, though--it gets "confused" about reducing below 1/8 tsp so double check the proportions.  Note: A normal sized spice jar holds 6 Tbsp (3 tsp is a Tbsp. How are your fractions?)

ANOTHER NOTE:  In the US, I recommend Penzey's Spices.  I can attest to the fact their spices don't have a fillers because they clump in the Caribbean.  They are also sold in ziplock bags so you can refill your glass jar (save the planet & money!).  I also like Badia-brand (WalMart, ethnic aisle or anywhere in the Caribbean.  In smaller proportion ziplocs & CHEAP)

According to Odin Eats, you can't have enough of (Do you see a trend here?):
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Ground Pepper (fresh ground as you cook, ground in the following recipes)
Chili Powder  
We use this a lot, so we're always out.  
1 Tbsp (OK, this adds up to 2.75 tsp. but if you do "slightly rounded" you're close enough)

1/2 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 rounded tsp ground cumin
1/4 rounded tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne

Taco seasoning  
#TacoTuesday Some mixes use flour to prohibit clumping.  If you're celiac, this is problematic.  Nowadays, many manufacturer's have switched to corn starch, a whole other can of allergies.  However, everyone can benefit from controling the sodium (and preservatives).  A commercial "packet" is the following:

1 Tbsp chili powder (see above)
1 1/2 tsp cumin (you can't stock enough cumin!)
1 tsp salt, (cut in half or optional)
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
(Optional:  cornstarch and a little water will thicken things up like the commercial packets, but we don't find it necessary)

Emeril's Essence or Cajun seasoning 
Excellent on meat.  This was my "salt & pepper" for years (this makes a spice jar):

1 1/4 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp salt, optional or reduce
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp dried thyme

Italian Seasoning 
I'd never heard of this until I found the Italian Sausage recipe below.  My Penzey's jar says: 

  • Turkish oregano
  • Basil
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme 
  • Rosemary
These are all basics in my pantry except marjoram, so I exclude it.  Close enough.  A 1/8 tsp of each for the Italian Sausage.  Also good on chicken, in homemade marinara or pizza sauce...

Italian-Style Sausage 
Excellent in pasta or in Baked & Stuffed Acorn Squash. 

1 lb ground pork, beef, or turkey 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1/2 tsp salt (already reduced from original recipe) 
(1/2 tsp dried parsley, optional) 
1/2 tsp Italian-style seasoning (oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary) 
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 tsp crushed fennel seeds (Or sub anise) 
1/4 tsp paprika 
1/4 tsp dried minced onion 
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 

Garam Masala 
This isn't always easy to find and taste varies wildly.  It should really be made from whole spices & toasted then freshly ground but this will work.  This recipe is easy and is nice on potatoes, curry, or in a spicy mayo!
This proportion is a little heavy-handed for my chickpea curry, but I like it like that:
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
= 4.75 tsp (recipe calls for 4)

Means "seasoning" in Spanish & is also a commercial brand that covers a good 1/4 of an aisle in a big Puerto Rican grocery.  This recipe (From that is frequently shared on Puerto Rican cooking sites) is free of MSG & you can control the sodium.  This makes approximately 1 1/2 tsp which equals one commercial sazon packet.

1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground annatto seeds (achiote) or turmeric or paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt, optional
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Pinch ground black pepper

Pumpkin Spice (approx 1 1/2 tsp)
Pumpkin pie's of course, but also Fall smoothies, oatmeal or coffee

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 t ground allspice or cloves

Fun in coffee or smoothies.  (It also smells fabulous!  I think it's the cardamom).  This makes a spice jar:

1 1/4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
3/4 Tbsp ground cloves
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Share your spice mixes below!  Tell us what you made with the mixes above!

FaceBook Odin Eats: @OdinEats or The Boat Galley Cookbook "Substitutions"

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