Make your own marinades and spice mixes

This summer, I’ve been experimenting more with using what I have around the house instead of purchasing marinades and spice mixes. Most marinades and spice mixes have lots of sodium and cost a fortune. There has got to be a better way. There is.

I started with a recipe for fajita seasoning. There are many out there but I like the one I linked to. I had all the ingredients in my house and it also works well for tacos. Doing a Google search for fajita seasoning or taco seasoning recipes will provide you with lots to choose from. Generic fajita and taco seasoning packets in my grocery store cost at least $.99 (I’ve seen some as high as $1.79). The flavor I got from the homemade mix was so much better than the packet. I’ve even used it on grilled meat.

This inspired me to get more creative in my own kitchen. When I was little, there was a local restaurant that served grilled chicken with a raspberry dipping sauce. I wanted to try to recreate something similar. I decided to create a raspberry marinade for grilled pork chops. Here’s what I used:

Seedless raspberry jam

Dijon mustard

Balsamic vinagar

Extra virgin olive oil

I used equal amounts of each item, whisking the first three items together in a bowl and then whisking in the oil. I also added a pinch of salt and pepper. At this point, you should test the marinade. If it’s too sweet, add more mustard. If it’s too tangy, add a bit more jam. You can play with this marinade until it fits your taste buds. When you are pleased with it, place your meat in the bowl and toss. Cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Then you can cook the meat however you prefer. I used a grill pan. If you have extra marinade and wish to use it as a sauce, you’ll have to put it in a sauce pan and simmer it for five minutes. That’ll kill off anything that might linger from the raw meat and the sauce will reduce.

I really liked the sauce and my husband did too. We will be experimenting more with stuff we have in the fridge.