I don’t know about you guys, but there are two ways I usually cook Italian:
- a) I find a marvelous recipe and really do it right – sometimes one of the many fresh, quick Italian recipes, or other times a marvelous masterpiece!
- b) I throw together a quick dinner with a nod and a promise: making cutlets, doctoring (or making a quick fresh) tomato sauce or otherwise trying to get dinner on the table in a jiffy!
The latter is when I turn to an Italian Spice blend – when I want to add some of that Italian flair but only have minutes to get something on the table for those who are going to seemingly expire right before my eyes if they don’t eat! Here’s one I use often, that has pretty much the whole gamut of Italian flavors!
Feel free, of course, to customize this to your own taste!
Italian Herb Blend
If you routinely make recipes using fresh garlic and onion, omit garlic and onion powder. Notice there is no salt, add if you wish.
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix all together. Gently shake before using as settling will occur. Use as you would any Italian Seasoning.
If desired, add a bit of dried lemon or substitute lemon pepper for lemon, a few dried bell pepper flakes or a touch of fennel.
When I use this, or any dried herbs, gently crush to help release the oils in the dried herbs before adding to recipe.
How to use:
Use this over chicken, pork or in or on other meats. Add to a tomato or pizza sauce. Sprinkle over pizza, especially a frozen or “dull” carry out. Jazz up spaghettie sauces, like my Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (or oven roasted ones) with this seasoning.
I use this in “Chicken Italiano” a simple one-pan dish that’s a standard at our house when I’m in a hurry. It’s great with Chicken Parmesan, too. Don’t forget to add a bit to a frittata, especially ones using tomatoes or zucchini. Or perhaps a bit over some garlic toast.
An Italian Spice blend like this is a lifesaver to have around when you’re in a hurry to dress a salad. Sprinkle some over greens mixed with cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.
A quickie dressing: Use about two tablespoons of the Italian seasoning to 1/4 cup of vinegar (white wine, red wine or a combination) and 1/2 cup of olive oil (another oil may be used). Add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey, if desired, and a teaspoon of Dijon will helpl emulsify. Place everything in a jar and shake until well blended. Improves as it sits.
There are a myriad of ways to use an Italian seasoning, and I’ve only scratched the surface! Let’s just say it’s a handy thing to have around, especially when you don’t have the time or inclination to measure out a lot of ingredients and/or fresh ones aren’t available.
If you’d like to see more of my spice & herb blends, check out Spice, Herb & Flavor Packet Substitutes. I’m adding as I go along!