Make-Ahead Dressing Mixes

Make Ahead Salad Dressings

So this week it’s still just too hot to being cooking up a storm in the kitchen, but at the same time I don’t want to appear to be completely lazy. So what’s the compromise? Make-Ahead Mixes! No heat, or actual cooking, just a lot of mixing together of dry ingredients for future use. It will make you look super prepared and all Martha Stewart-y, and they can act as hostess gifts in a pinch. Just put one this week’s recipes in a nice jar with a tight lid, and attach a tag on what to add when it comes to actually making the recipe, and you look like you are super organised and put together! Oh, little do they know!

Today’s recipes are for salad dressings, and are pretty much completely fool-proof to both prep and then make when actually needed. I would suggest storing your mixes in mason jars, as 1) they’re super cute and trendy (c’mon, do you need another reason?) 2) they provide a tight air-proof seal and 3) are re-usable. You will note that these dressings call for the use of “salad oil”. This is just any neutral flavour oil, such as vegetable, canola, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, etc. You can use olive as well, but it tends to have a bit more flavour, so I would only use it in dressings that would call for a Mediterranean flavour profile, like the Caesar or Greek dressings. You can also play around with the type of vinegar used; using red wine one day, and balsamic or tarragon the next. It’s all about personal preference.So having all said that, I hope you enjoy these dressings which can be used on your favourite salad, roasted veggies or as a dip!


Vinaigrette Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons finely chopped dried chives
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
4 teaspoons vinaigrette mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
2 teaspoons vinaigrette mix
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Buttermilk Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
9 tablespoons parsley flakes

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
2 tablespoons dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk

Combine the buttermilk mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Caesar Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried lemon peel
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 2 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup Caesar dressing mix
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Combine the Caesar mix, oil and lemon juice in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Celery Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons celery seeds
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon Mix
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


French Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 5 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup dressing mix
¾ cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup vinegar

Combine the dressing mix, ketchup and vinegar in a blender and slowly add the oil through the top while the blender is on. The dressing should thicken up, but not be too thick. Chill until ready to use.


Greek Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup dried marjoram
¼ cup dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ cup dried mint leaves

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 24 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 ½ teaspoons Greek dressing mix
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


“Hidden Valley” Ranch Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
8 saltines
1 cups dried parsley flakes, minced
¼ cup dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
2 tablespoons onion salt
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a food processor or blender, and process until they are completely powdered. Pour the powder into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 30 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon ranch mix
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of buttermilk

Combine the ranch mix, mayonnaise and buttermilk oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Honey Citrus Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 ½ to 3 tablespoons grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon dressing mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange juice

Combine the dressing mix, vinegar, oil, honey and juices in a small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Italian Herb Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
¼ cup parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried oregano, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried basil, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried marjoram, crumbled
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 15 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon dressing mix
¾ cup warm water
2 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the dressing mix, water, vinegar, and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Taste and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the dressing mix if you want a stronger flavor. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Mint Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
3 tablespoons salt
½ cup sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup dressing mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the dressing mix, vinegar, and oil in a small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Thousand Island Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
⅛ cup finely crushed saltine crackers (about 3-4)
⅛ cup dried minced onion
⅛ cup garlic salt
⅛ cup onion salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon dried dill weed

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 15 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon of dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup chilli sauce (if you don’t have this, just mix 5 tablespoons ketchup with 3 tablespoons of horseradish)
¼ cup pickle relish, well drained

Blend well, refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to marry, and then serve with salad or veggies as a dip. This dressing will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Chicken & Sausage GumboSure, you may have heard of Gumbo, but do you know where it got it’s name from? Well, we can’t be 100% sure, but we do know that the dish we know as Gumbo originated in southern Louisiana from the Creole people during the 18th century. It typically consists primarily of a strongly flavoured stock, okra, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables, which can include celery, bell peppers and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu (Native African) word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw (Native American) word for filé (kombo). The dish is the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana. The recipe below actually uses all 3 types of thickeners, though the filé powder is optional (more for taste rather than a thickener). In my mind, 3 is better than 1! This recipe will serve about 6 people.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup and 2 teaspoons oil or fat rendered from cooking sausage*
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small/medium onion, diced
1 small/medium green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces sausage, sliced
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 ¾ cups stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
1 ¼ teaspoons white sugar
salt to taste
2 ½ teaspoons hot pepper sauce, or to taste
¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend, or to taste
1 ½ bay leaves
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ of a 398ml can crushed tomatoes (about 200ml)
¾ cup tomato sauce
¾ teaspoon gumbo filé powder
2 ½ teaspoons oil or sausage drippings
1 cup frozen cut okra, thawed
2 ½ teaspoons vinegar

* Cook’s Note: This recipe calls for the use of sausage; you can use any type you like, though if using a raw one, I suggest either completely removing it from the casing and cooking it up like ground meat, or cooking it whole with the casing still on, then slicing it up thick and adding it to the pot later. Just be careful when stirring the dish later that if you’ve cut up the sausage that it doesn’t crumble and break up too much! Remember, save the drippings from cooking the sausage, and use it in place of oil in this recipe. It adds so much more flavour than regular cooking oil!

Directions:

Make a roux by whisking the flour and ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons oil/sausage drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown colour. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage and chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Whisk the roux mixture into the boiling stock. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of filé gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

Meanwhile, heat 2 ½ teaspoons of oil or sausage drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Continue to simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of filé gumbo powder. Serve over hot rice.

Chimichurri Spice Blend

Chimichurri Spice

Chimichurri is a green sauce used for grilled meat, originally from Argentina.It is based on finely-chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar. In Latin American countries outside of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, variations often focus on coriander leaf (cilantro) for flavor.

The origin of the name of the sauce is unclear. The Argentine gourmet Miguel Brascó claims that the word chimichurri originated when the British were captured after the British invasions of the Río de la Plata. The prisoners asked for condiment for their food mixing English, aboriginal and Spanish words. According to this story, che-mi-curry stands for “che mi salsa” (a rough translation is hey give me condiment or give me curry). The word then corrupted to chimichurri.

Another theory for the name of the sauce comes from the Basque settlers that arrived in Argentina as early as the 19th century. According to this theory, the name of the sauce comes from the Basque term tximitxurri, loosely translated as “a mixture of several things in no particular order”.

No matter where the word or sauce originated from, it is delicious as a rub over meats and fish or if you want to make it into a marinade or condiment sauce, whisk about ½ cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar together with ¼ cup of the spice mix.

This recipe will make about ¾ cup

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoons dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried savoury leaves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 to 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Transfer to airtight container. Note: This spice mix can be made 1 month ahead. Store at room temperature.