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Kaylor: D.I.Y. spice mixes

By Staff | Dec 15, 2017

Making your own spice blends is a win-win idea that gives your food a pop of flavor while reducing sodium. Herbs come from the leaves of shrubs. Spices come from other parts of plants.

Did you know? Many store-bought spice blends are high in sodium. For example, 1 teaspoon of garlic salt adds about 970 milligrams (mg) of sodium to a recipe, while 1 teaspoon of garlic powder adds only 2 mg of sodium.

Make it your own: Make changes according to what you and your family enjoy for spice level. Try new flavors or stick with your favorites. Experiment with different amounts and varieties of spices and herbs to find the blend that you enjoy most.

Mix it up: When you have an assortment of herbs and spices on hand, you can be creative in your kitchen. Enhance the flavors of baked chicken breasts, vegetable medleys, popcorn, tacos and even everyday burgers with herbs and spices. Create a new dip for veggies, fruit and crackers by adding your favorite seasoning blend to low-fat sour cream or nonfat yogurt.


* Maintain the flavor of your spices by storing them in a cool, dry, dark place away from the oven, stovetop, microwave and dishwasher.

* For best quality, use ground spices within six months and whole spices within two years. Use a permanent marker to label the containers with the date of purchase.

* Start with just a small amount of seasoning. Test the recipe to see if it needs additional flavor before adding more seasoning.


– 1 tsp. parsley, dried

– tsp. garlic powder

– tsp. onion powder

– 1 tsp. oregano, dried

– 1 tsp. black pepper

– 1 Tbsp. chili powder

– 1 tsp. paprika

– 1 tsp. cumin

Use in soups, ground beef for tacos or in enchiladas.


– 2 Tbsp. onion powder

– 2 Tbsp. onion flakes

– 2 Tbsp. parsley, dried

– 1 Tbsp. garlic powder

– 1 Tbsp. dill weed, dried

– tsp. thyme, dried

– 2 tsp. pepper

Use in stuffed bell peppers or pasta, or on toasted garlic bread.


– 1 c. low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt or sour cream

– 2 Tbsp. Ranch Blend

Combine yogurt or sour cream with the ranch blend. Serve cold.


– 2 Tbsp. basil, dried

– 2 Tbsp. oregano, dried

– 1 Tbsp. thyme, dried

– 1 Tbsp. rosemary, dried

– 1 Tbsp. garlic powder

– tsp. onion powder

Use in yogurt as a dip with celery and carrots, or on baked chicken or popcorn.


– 1 Tbsp. canola oil

– 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

– 1 tsp. garlic, minced

– small onion, minced

– 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

– 2 Tbsp. Italian Spice Blend

– 1 tsp. cumin powder

– 3 large bell peppers, red, green or yellow

– 1 c. low-sodium chicken broth

– c. tomato paste

– c. brown rice (dry) prepared according to package instructions

– c. cheddar cheese, shredded

– 1 (6 oz.) plain Greek yogurt, optional

1. Prepare brown rice according to package instructions.

2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, then add onion, garlic and cilantro. Saut for about two minutes. Add the ground beef and season with cumin and Italian Spice Blend. Cook the meat until the juices run clear and it is no longer pink (internal temperature 160 F).

3. Add tomato paste and c. of the chicken broth, mix well and simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and cheese.

4.Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove all the seeds. Place open side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Completely fill each pepper half with the beef mixture. Pour some of the leftover chicken broth on the bottom of the baking sheet.

5. Cover the top with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes. If desired, top with a dollop of yogurt and serve.

Makes six servings. Each serving ( stuffed pepper) has 260 calories, 9 g fat, 20 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 220 mg sodium.

From: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, Ph.D, R.D., L.R.D and Tracey Dillon, Dietetic Intern, NDSU Extension Service

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