In the Pantry: DIY Seasoning Blends

Did you know that you need only about 10 spices in your pantry to make almost any spice blend? This week on "In the Pantry," Aida Mollenkamp shows you how to make three spice blends that all start with the same base ingredients: onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.

Each of these three recipes makes about half a cup's worth of seasoning blends, says Mollenkamp. Mix them, put them in jars with tight-fitting lids, and "store them in a cool, dark place, and they will last for months. You could even make them for an easy holiday gift."

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Taco Seasoning Blend
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Add all of the spices to a small bowl and mix. Mollenkamp says she uses this blend not only for tacos but for fajitas and chili.

Cajun Seasoning Blend
2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Add all of the spices to a small bowl and mix. "I use the Cajun spice mix on everything from a good bread pudding to really nice barbecue chicken or even just a sprinkle on my next scrambled egg dish," says Mollenkamp.

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Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add all of the spices to a small bowl and mix well. Use as a rub on chicken or fish before roasting or grilling.

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