Today I am going to talk a little bit about onions and onion soup mix. Onions generally keep for some time, but if they are starting to go “south” as they say, chop them up and put in the freezer. Put the chopped onions in 1/2 c. amount in snack bags. Put the snack bags into a large freezer bag and freeze. The onions can then be removed as needed and added directly to soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles.
One of the handiest things to have in your kitchen is onion soup mix because there are so many things you can do with it. Purchased onion soup mix is expensive and high in sodium. A homemade version of the mix can be made in less than 5 minutes with ingredients probably on hand, and will be lower in sodium even with using the instant beef broth granules. If sodium is a concern, use low sodium granules. Note: The mix in the photo above is not as brown as some would be due to the brand of instant broth I used.
The mix can be stored in an air-tight container and measured out as needed, or 5 T (the equivalent of 1 envelope of mix) can be measured into snack bags and stored in a larger plastic storage bag. Dividing the mix up ahead saves time when using it.
An advantage of homemade mixes is that they can be customized to a person’s tastes. After trial and error, this is my version of homemade onion soup mix with several recipes to use it in. I like to place my dried onions in a 350 degree oven and toast them for about 3 minutes, but that is optional. Watch them carefully.
Homemade Onion Soup Mix
3/4 c. dried onion flakes, toasted if desired
1/3 c. instant beef broth granules
1 T. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. black pepper
Combine all ingredients together, blending very well. Store in an air-tight container. When ready to use, shake container well and use 5 T. for 1 envelope of mix. This can also be divided up into 5 T. amounts and stored in snack bags. If using for onion dip, spread, or rice add 1 t. dried parsley to each 5 T. mix
5 T. Onion Soup Mix
1 c. sour cream or cottage cheese (put through a blender)
Mix soup mix and sour cream or cottage cheese together and let chill at least 1 hour.
For Onion-Cheese Dip add 1 T. grated Parmesan Cheese to above mixture.
5 T. Onion Soup Mix
1 pkg. (8 oz.) softened cream cheese, reg., low-fat, or fat-free
Mix soup mix and cream cheese together, blending well. Let chill at least 1 hour.
Onion Rice Pilaf
1 T. butter or olive oil
1 c. rice, uncooked
1/2 c. vermicelli or thin spaghetti broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 T. onion soup mix
1 1/2 to 2 c. chicken broth or water.
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add rice and vermicelli and cook until vermicelli is browned, watching carefully and stirring often. Add onion soup mix and chicken broth or water. Bring to boiling, reduce, cover and simmer until rice is done and liquid is absorbed. I give a range on the water because most directions call for 2 cups water to 1 c. rice, but I have better luck with 1 1/2 cups. Serves 4.
Curried Apricot or Peach Chicken
Chicken: may be whole, cut-up; skinless thighs, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts-enough for 4-6 people
1 bottle (8 oz.) bottle Catalina Dressing or make your own.
1 (10-12 oz.) jar apricot or peach jam
5 T. onion soup mix
1/2 –1 t. curry powder
Place chicken in a foil-lined baking pan. Combine Catalina Dressing, jam, onion soup mix, and curry powder. Pour over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour depending on what chicken parts you use. Sauce is good served over rice or couscous. Makes 4-6 servings.