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Gifts From Your Kitchen

Homemade gifts of food are as thoughtful as they are tasteful. They make lovely hostess and holiday gifts, as well as being a great "welcome to the neighborhood" gift, too!

Here are four gift recipes from drink mixes to cookies. With a little imagination, fun containers, some colorful ribbon or raffia and assorted garnishes such as cinnamon sticks, wrapped candies and dried peppers you can wrap these yummy gifts in a festive manner.

One last word of advice, before using dried herbs and spices in any type of gift mix, be sure to check for good color (no fading) and an aroma that's strong and not musty.


MEXICAN SEASONING MIX

1/4 dried onion flakes
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro leaves

1. Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 3/4 cup.

DIRECTIONS FOR GIFT RECIPE CARD:
To make beef taco filing, brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, stirring to crumble; drain well. Stir in 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons Mexican Season Mix; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Serve in taco shells with desired accompaniments.


BEAN-PASTA SOUP MIX

3/4 cup dried onion flakes
2 (1/2-ounce) jars dried celery flakes
1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
3 tablespoons dried basil leaves
3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 (2 1/4) ounce jars beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas
1 (16-ounce) package dried black beans
1 (16-ounce) package dried kidney beans
1 (16-ounce) package dried navy beans
1 (16-ounce) package small shell pasta, uncooked

1. Combine first 7 ingredients; divide evenly, and place in 6 airtight plastic bags. Add 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon bouillon granules to each bag. Label "Herb Mix" and seal.
2. Combine black-eyed peas and next 3 ingredients; divide evenly and place in 6 airtight plastic bags. Label "Bean Mix" and seal.
3. Place 1/3 cup pasta into 6 airtight plastic bags. Label "Pasta" and seal.
4. Place 1 bag herb mix, 1 bag bean mix, and 1 bag pasta in a gift container; repeat procedure with remaining bags.

Makes 6 (3-bag) gifts.

DIRECTIONS FOR GIFT RECIPE CARD:
Sort and wash bean mix; place in a Dutch oven. Cover with water 2-inches above beans; soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain. Combine beans, 3 quarts water, herb mix, 1 carrot, chopped, and 2/3 cup chopped cooked ham in Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained, and pasta; cook 15 to 20 minutes.
Note: To use the quick-soak method, place beans in a Dutch oven; cover
with water 2-inches above beans. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cover,and let stand 1 hour. Drain.


HOT COCOA MIX

1 cup powdered nondairy coffee creamer
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup mint chocolate chips
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

1 Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 1/3 cups mix.

DIRECTIONS FOR GIFT RECIPE CARD:
Add 2/3 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup Hot Cocoa Mix. Makes 1 cup serving.

Note: Package mix in a plastic bag and give in a holiday mug with gift
recipe card attached.


SPICE COOKIE MIX

1 (18.25-ounce) package spice cake mix
1 cup regular oats, uncooked
1/4 firmly packed brown sugar

1. Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container.

Makes 5 1/4 cups.

DIRECTIONS FOR GIFT RECIPE CARD:
Place Spice Cookie Mix in a large bowl; stir in 1 large egg, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Drop by round teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes 5 dozen.


For more great gift ideas from your kitchen visit our collection of Recipes for Gift Foods & Mixes in a Jar.

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