Thursday, September 8, 2011

0 Steak rubs, premixed spices and home made breaded topping vs Kraft Shake 'N Bake

Here's the rub...  Rubs, premixed spices, toppings and marinades aren't worth what you're paying for them. You can buy all of the spices necessary for a rub and mix them together as needed for just a few cents a meal, McCormick Grill Mates seasonings cost almost $3.00 a package! And if you're buying a marinade, at almost $4.00 a bottle you're spending most of your money on water and thickener!

I was in the store the other day and a woman was looking for steak rub. I asked her why she didn't just use a little garlic powder, pepper and paprika. With the look she gave me, you'd think I was from outer space! But if you look at the ingredients in the McCormick's below, you'll see that's about all that's in it.

Another time I saw a mother and daughter looking for “Pumpkin Pie Spice” - this time I didn't bother talking to them, but I did listen. When the mother discovered that the premixed spice costs $9 she decided it wasn't worth it and told her daughter that she'd go home and “look up a recipe” for pumpkin pie. It would probably cost less than $9 total to buy all of the spices individually and they only cost about a penny per teaspoon per spice to use!

Home made rub – 1 Tbl garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black & ½ tsp red pepper = .20 cents

McCormick Steak Rub – Salt, spices (including black and red pepper), garlic, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor and exractives of paprika. = $2.98

Lawrys Caribbean Jerk Marinade – High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Lime Juice, Salt, Papaya Juice, Onion Powder, Spices (including allspice, chili powder and cilantro), modified food starch, garlic powder, molasses, caramel color, sugar, anchovies, xanthan gum, potasium sorbate, sodium benzoate, natural flavors, tamarind, paprika, oleoresin, coloring

Ugh, look at all of those unnatural ingredients! Just make your own – get creative, you can do it! Try some vinegar, orange juice, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and paprika...maybe some brown sugar...I bet it tastes very similar.

Home made breaded topping mix
1/3 c Bread crumbs (or 1 slice of whole-wheat whole grain bread – toast it in the toaster and then crush it up)
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp oregano (optional)
¼ tsp salt (optional)

Price of home made topping mix: About .18 cents or less
Price of Kraft Shake 'N Bake: $3.25

Ingredients in Home made breaded topping mix – This is difficult... whatever's in your bread or bread crumbs, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt.

Ingredients in Kraft Shake 'N Bake - Enriched wheat flour, riboflavin, folic acid, wheat flour, maltodextrin, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, bleached wheat flour, salt, paprika, malted barley flour, spices, mustard flour, natural flavor, yeast, dextrose, caramel color, dried garlic, sugar, dried onions.

Time to prepare home made topping mix: 3-5 minutes (how long does it take to make toast?)
Time to prepare Kraft Shake 'N Bake: None

Well, as far as ingredients this is probably not that different, depending on your bread crumbs or bread used. But, holy cow! You're saving $3.07 on your topping alone!!!

Before I get to today's recipe I just wanted to say I got an email from a reader (thanks for the email, Cheryl) concerning portion size. She is trying to figure weight watcher points. I have a hard time with this because everyone eats differently.  I did promise however that if I am comparing to a name brand, I will give their recommended portion size. Future articles will discuss adding more vegetables to your diet, which ones are better for you and which ones are better to avoid, eating less meat, eating more seafood, etc.  You can email me directly at

In today's recipe it calls for 2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts – I recommend you buy them deboned and skinned because they're not that much more expensive than whole breasts and you will throw so much weight away in just bones alone, it's also healthier to throw the skin away. If you're looking at a whole breast of chicken, meaning a right breast and a left breast – one half would be a portion.  If it's a Dolly Parton size breast, eat only half of that! While you may think I'm joking, they are growing them bigger these days with genetic manipulation and special feeds, those poor chickens can't even stand up.

We only need about 5.5 oz of protein a day and eating more of it only hurts your body (eating too much meat can cause osteoporosis, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, etc), so keep your meat portions small, increase your veggie intake, cut your carb intake and cut out processed foods! Half of your plate should be fruits/vegetables, your meat/protein should be no bigger than a deck of cards, the remainder of the plate should be your carbs (made up of whole grains if possible). Please keep coming back and reading future articles, I'll be covering more about nutrition over time.

Breaded Chicken Breasts
2-4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
home made breaded topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place topping mix on a plate. Rinse chicken breasts under running water. Dredge chicken in topping mixture. Put on an lightly greased baking sheet, bake for about 20-25 minutes. Serves 2-4 people.

You can  make these without the breading and they're just as delicious, just season the chicken with the spices - be careful not to overcook.  In addition, you can add more spices - ones that YOU like...that's the point of cooking yourself, you get it the way you like it, not the way someone else thinks you'll like it.

This is a 30 minute meal and would taste great with pickled beets (September 2nd blog), a side salad and corn on the cob (or frozen corn or low sodium canned corn).

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