TUTORIAL: Blend Storage (aka: Pantry Makeover!)

As I shared on the Around the Table with Tami Facebook Fan Page last week, (not a fan? click here and LIKE us!), I noticed it was time to refill my Roast Seasoning Blend while following my Meal Plan for Dinner Decisions Week 2.   (the picture below is me setting up to prep 2 meals ahead for dinner this week and put 2 other meals in the freezer for dinners another time...hop over to Facebook Page for rest of the pics)
Just enough left to make one smothered pork chop recipe for dinner and another to bag and put in the freezer!
I knew I needed to replenish several other blends as well, so I decided to make Saturday a 'blending day'!
In addition to making up a variety of the recipes featured in my eCookbook for Entree and Seasoning  Blends, I was inspired to freshen up my storage system as well.  As you can tell in the above picture, I've been using the plastic storage containers with screw top lids for bulk storage, and this is a perfectly wonderful way to keep blends fresh and easily accessible.  I've done it this way for years.  But sometimes a girl needs a change, and while I can't afford to redecorate the kitchen, I thought I'd see what I could do to 'redecorate' the pantry!

And unlike a full kitchen makeover that can takes days and days, my pantry makeover was done in less than an hour.  In that hour I made the following blends from scratch:

  • My Favorite Roast Seasoning Blend
  • Simple Spaghetti Sauce Blend
  • Italian Meatloaf Blend
  • Old Style Meatloaf Blend
  • Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf Blend
  • Basic White Sauce Blend
  • Kansas Style Dry Rub Blend
  • Lemon Pepper with Garlic Seasoning Blend
  • Basil and Garlic Seasoning Blend
  • Southwestern Style Seasoning Blend
  • My Secret Seasoning Blend
That's every recipe featured in the Entrees and Seasonings Ecookbook. Buy Now

I made some in bulk and some as individual portions.  I thought I'd walk you through the steps so you can duplicate it in your own kitchen and be ready to serve any variety of recipes featured on this blog.

It's as easy as 1. 2. 3.! 

Be Prepared! 
Look through the Ecookbook download and select the recipes you want to make.  You may choose to print the entire book or just the recipes for the blends you want in your pantry.  I have the full cookbook printed and keep it in a notebook in my kitchen for easy access.

Once I get my pantry fully stocked with blends, I am more likely to just need to make one blend here and there instead of all of them at one time.  Having the recipes in a notebook makes it easy for me to grab it and make one blend real fast, as needed.

After printing the recipes from the eCookbook, look through each one and gather the ingredients needed.  Do this a few days in advance to give yourself time to shop for the things you need more of.

Set the Stage...
Pull out all of the supplies and ingredients you will need to complete the goal of the day (fill containers with favorite seasoning blends!) Set them neatly in an area away from where you will do the actual blending, but close by so they are easily reached when needed.  Have a section of your kitchen counter space cleared for you to actually work from.  The idea is that you will reset this area each time you are ready to make the next blend, instead of grabbing for ingredients one at a time.  Keeping things organized in the blending process significantly decreases the odds of making a mistake that could cause you to trash valuable spices and herbs (Basil looks a lot like parsley in a container, but tastes very different!)

I use my small island as my work space and a section of the counter as my prep area...
Notice the additional ingredients on the back counter, ready to be pulled to the work space when the recipes call for them! 

I've set up the work space in the picture above to make a bulk recipe of My Favorite Roast Seasoning Blend* (with 25 recipes and counting in the blog data files, I refill this blend quite often!)  Notice that set up includes the measuring utensils and the recipe. I bring a full set of measuring spoons and measuring cups to the work space instead of trying to figure out exactly which ones I need.  It's easier this way and I'm always prepared!

Get to Blending...

Now I'm ready to go through my recipes one by one.  I suggest lining up the ingredients in the order they are listed in the recipe, top to bottom.  I remove the tops from each container and start working left to right.  As I finish an ingredient, I put the top back on the container.  This keeps me from losing my place along the way.    Need I list the distractions that can cause me to forget where I was in the process? (phone, kids, dogs, friends, washing machine buzzing, neighbor at the door..... *shiny object syndrome*)

Sorry...I got distracted there!  Back to the tutorial...

I follow the recipe (top to bottom working left to right with ingredients), putting all of the spices and herbs into the appropriately sized mixing bowl.  When in doubt...go BIG!

I then use a whisk to blend the ingredients together before putting them in my selected storage container.

This blend is ready to go into my container of choice.  Since it makes a lot, I needed something large.  My previous storage choice required 2 1/2 screw top containers to hold a full blend.  I found a set of canisters at my local store that worked well and looks cute sitting on my pantry shelf OR on my counter if I choose to keep this oft used blend in a handy place by the stove.

I especially liked that these canisters came with attachable tablespoons! Perfect for following recipes  without searching the drawers.  

Once the canister was filled, it was time to repeat the process.

  • Pull up the next blend recipe desired.  
  • Remove the ingredients no longer needed from the work space (placing them in prep area)
  • Bring new ingredients needed from the prep area to the work space (setting them in order!)
  • Blend and store!
The only change in the process might be your choice of storage.  For example...

I prefer to store my Simple Spaghetti Sauce Blend in smaller packages instead of larger, bulk containers.  I also like to make and store the individual recipes in small snap top containers.  To make this assembly process fast and easy, I line up my containers on the same work space as the ingredients and fill them with each ingredient.  (put portion of garlic in each container, then portion of paprika in each container, etc...)
When done, I snap on the lids and store the containers in a bucket that fits on my shelf. 

You may notice I have some blends in a baggie in the bucket as well.  These contain the bulk version of this blend that makes 4x the single use blend recipe.  A 6 quart slow cooker will hold a quadrupled Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce Recipe, so I mark these bags with the ingredients needed for a quick slow cooker prep on days I need to refill the freezer with precooked bags of sauce. 

Another new storage choice I am using to 'makeover my pantry' is canning jars.  They are super affordable and CUTE!  The varying sizes allow me to find the jar that best fits the portion of the finished blend.
I've seen labeling ideas on Pinterest that would make these even CUTER in my pantry, but I'm more of a label maker gal!  Maybe my crafty daughter will be inspired to 'pinterestify' my pantry! (I think I just made up a new word!)
I am using these jars to store blends that exceed my main storage capacity OR for blends I don't use on a regular basis. The smaller  pint sized jars in the back ground are holding the extra portions of blends that don't fit into the shakers I like to keep by my stove.  This makes for quick and easy refilling.  When I use the last of a jar to fill a shaker, I know it is time to make a new batch so I don't get to the bottom of the shaker and need to make more at an inopportune moment.

These make great gifts for 
wedding showers, housewarming, 
birthday / Christmas for foodies, etc... 
My favorite 'stove side' shakers are Lemon Pepper with Garlic Blend, Basil and Garlic Blend and Southwest Style Blend.  I know I can grab any of these and shake a little flavor into steaming veggies or stir fry dishes.  They are easy to take to the table too...adding flavor to pastas and other plated dishes.  
I love having a pantry full of my favorite seasoning blends.  
To me it represents CHOICES!  
I can search the blog files by seasoning blend name and find a variety of recipes 
that can be turned into dinner tonight.

All of these blends are featured in my

Entrees and Seasonings eCookBook
Buy Now

Is your pantry full of choices? 
Would love to hear your favorite blends and what's in YOUR pantry!

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1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog in the course of random surfing. Excellent idea!


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