My Philosophy on Food

Over the past five years, I have turned into what some may call a food snob – I call it food enlightened. I’ve become hyper-aware of those dirty little secrets in our food supply: MSG, trans fat and hydrogenated oils, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, BHT and other preservatives. With each discovery of something else that is chemically derived and hiding in my favorite foods, I purge my pantry. Is it too much to ask that my food not be laced with chemicals??

Making this change is hard. Some of the most common offenders are things I grew up enjoying – condensed soups, ranch mix, onion soup mix and taco seasoning.  So I went on a mission to find substitutes for some of these items, made only from real ingredients found in my kitchen. I scoured the internet to find recipes that don’t taste like a knock-off of the “real thing”.  I will admit, you do sacrifice some of the convenience, but for me, being able to eat guilt-free is worth a few extra minutes. One day I may even make this stuff in large batches (like I keep saying I’ll do) and save myself some time on those hectic weeknights!

Below are some of my favorites of these copycat recipes.


Ranch Dressing Mix

1/2 cup dry buttermilk
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients together and use just like you would the ranch packets. I typically use this for ranch dip and add it to a 16-oz container of sour cream.


Taco Seasoning

2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano

Mix together and add to 1 lb of ground beef, ground turkey or shredded chicken. I also use this as a marinade/rub for chicken I plan to grill by adding some olive oil to the seasoning mix.


For this recipe, I haven’t used it in all the ways I previously used Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix, but it does make some awesome dip!

French Onion Dip

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (I use sweet)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups sour cream

1)  Heat oil, add onions and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until caramelized (20 minutes). Let cool.
2)  Add remaining seasonings and cooled onions to sour cream. Stir well and serve with potato chips.


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