A close up of a green plate

Make Your Own Mixes


They’re convenient and tasty, but have you ever considered the high cost of your favorite prepared mixes and spices?

In less time than it takes you to run to the market to pick up a box of Rice a Roni or Shake ‘N Bake, you can make it yourself, and save a bundle in the process.

A close up of a green plate, with Onion and Food.com

photo by gailanng

With each of these “copy cat” recipes, I’ve indicated the approximate price of the “real thing” in my grocery store as this goes to print. It’s difficult to say for sure what these recipes will cost by comparison because there are so many variables, but I can assure you it’s pennies, not dollars!

Like Lipton Onion Soup Mix

  • 3/4 cup dry minced onion flakes
  • 1/3 cup beef bouillon powder
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar


Combine all ingredients Store in tight fitting container
About 5 tablespoons of mix are equal to one 1.25-ounce package.
Onion Dip: Mix 5 tablespoons with one pint of sour cream.
The real thing: $1.29 for a 1-oz. packet!

Like Rice-a-Roni

  • 2 cups uncooked rice (not instant or Minute Rice))
  • 1 cup of broken vermicelli pasta pieces, (find this in the pasta aisle)
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
  • 6 tablespoons instant chicken OR beef bouillon powder/granules
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


Shake or stir dry mixture well. Place 1 cup mix and 2 tablespoons.

butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

The real thing: $1.99 for 10.8-ounce box, or $.18 per ounce)

Like Shake’N Bake

  • 2/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning


Shake 2-1/2 pounds bone-in chicken or 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, moistened, 1 to 2 pieces at a time, in a plastic bag with coating mixture. Discard any remaining mixture and bag. Bake at 400 degrees F in ungreased or foil-lined baking pan until cooked through: Bone-In: 45 minutes. Boneless: 20 minutes. Do not cover or turn chicken during baking. Yield: This recipe will coat a good-sized chicken, or several fish filets.

The real thing: $3.09 for 5.29 oz. box, or $1.58 per oz.

Like Emeril’s Essence

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme


Mix together and store in a tightly covered container. Be sure to yell “Bam!” when dispensing onto everything from meat and poultry to vegetables and side dishes.

The real thing: $5.99 for a 3.15 oz. bottle, or $1.90 per ounce.

You can find dozens of ideas and recipes for making your own spice blends, dressings and mixes in my handy booklet, Make Your Own Mixes. It’s available as a printed booklet for $6 or an eBooklet to download for $3.99.

To order either version: Visit our bookstore; call 800-550-3502; or send your check or money order to Debt-Proof Living, Dept. MIXES, PO Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

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2 replies
  1. lgj says:

    I always enjoy posts like this one with ‘make-it-yourself’ recipes. However, when I was looking over previous recipes from you that I have saved, I was shocked at the one for Paula Deen’s ‘The Lady’s House Seasoning: 1 CUP SALT, 1/4 cup black pepper and 1/4 cup garlic powder. I couldn’t believe the extremely small amount of ingredients added to the large amount of salt! Now that I have noticed it, I am hoping it was a misprint and I just missed the correction.

    • DianaB says:

      Perhaps the measurements are correct, considering there is quite a lot of black pepper and garlic powder to salt in that mix. There is more salt than pepper or garlic powder anyway, and I guess I would have to try it first. I don’t suppose you would use more than a couple of teaspoons of the mix at a time. At least there is no butter in it (LOL).


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