Monday, May 16, 2011

Make it Yourself Monday: Italian Dressing


Italian dressing is one of those pantry staples that has a zillion uses: as a marinade for chicken or fish, as an alternative to mayonnaise in a pasta or potato salad, as a mix-in for canned tuna or chicken, or, of course, to season raw or cooked veggies. 
I always like to have some on hand, and I usually can find a good coupon for dressing.
(In fact there are ones HERE, HERE, and HERE.)
Sometimes, though, you just run out, or you want to create a mixture that you can be sure is free of additives, preservatives, or the nefariously omnipresent high fructose corn syrup.
That’s why I generally make my own Italian dressing/marinade. Here’s the recipe I use:
2/3 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup vinegar 
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
pinch of thyme
Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix thoroughly with the liquid ingredients. Store in an air-tight container.
If you are lucky enough to have fresh herbs, by all means, use them, just make sure to chop them really finely.  You might not need to use as much but I would use the same amounts because I like a nice herb-y flavor.
Also, to decrease your cost, if you are using this as a marinade, use cheaper vegetable oil and plain white vinegar. If I’m dressing a salad I’ll use balsamic or red wine vinegar, but if I’m seasoning meat, I usually use the cheaper ingredients.

What pantry items do you like to make from scratch?

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