Homemade Creole Seasoning

I love making my own seasoning mixes. Not only do they allow me to tweak things to my family’s liking, I can also make sure all ingredients are fresh and of course it’s a lot cheaper to mix your own than to buy prepared mixes.

This creole seasoning mix couldn’t be simpler. It’s great for seasoning rice, soups,stews and meat dishes. My husband also loves to use it on chicken and pork when he’s grilling.

Creole Seasoning Mix
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  1. Mix all ingredients and store them in an airtight container. Use them to season your dishes to taste.


Creole Seasoning being sprinkled into a chicken dish

Homemade Pizza Bread

We’ve had pizza bread for dinner around here for as long as I can remember. We’ve made it with toast, English Muffins, tortilla pizza etc. My  personal favorite though is French Bread Pizza. My friend Christine – The Menu Mom was kind enough to share this recipe with us.

French Bread Pizza
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • ½ C pizza sauce
  • 1-2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • favorite pizza toppings
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice a loaf of French bread in half, and arrange the halves on a cookie sheet. Brush a small amount of olive oil on each half of bread, and bake for 4-5 minutes until lightly golden.
  2. Spread ¼ C of pizza sauce on each half of the bread, and sprinkle each half with ¼-1/2 C mozzarella. Arrange your favorite pizza toppings on top of the cheese. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.


For the pizza bread below I used some leftover spaghetti meat sauce and sliced up some roma tomatoes. These are great for using up left overs.

French bread pizza with hamburger pepperoni tomato and melted cheese

Onion Ring Recipe

I love fall. It’s getting cooler and of course there’s football. I’m not the worlds biggest fan, but it’s nice to curl up on the couch with my husband to watch the game. A few weeks ago he mentioned that he missed hanging out with a beer and an order of onion rings to watch the game, I decided to make up a batch for us. It took some trial and error, but I finally came up with something that’s just as good as the onion rings you get at your favorite pub or sports bar.

Homemade Onion Rings
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1 to 2 onions
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Start by heating the oil. You can use a deep fryer or a sturdy pot and a thermometer. Heat the oil to 365 F. If you don't have a thermometer, you can heat the oil over medium heat and once the better is ready, drop a little bit of it in the oil. If it fries up quickly, bubbles and turns golden brown it's the right heat.
  2. While the oil is heating, slice the onions into thick slices. About ¼ of an inch is good. Separate them into rings.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Drop each onion ring in the flour mixture and turn it over to make sure it is well coated. Set the onion rings aside.
  4. Mix the egg and milk in with the flour and stir everything together to form a smooth batter.
  5. Dip each onion ring into the batter. I use a fork for this. Let any excess batter drip off, then coat the onion ring in bread crumbs. From there gently side the onion ring into the hot oil and work on the next one.
  6. Keep an eye on the onion ring that's frying. You want to let it go for about a minute and then flip it over and fry it for another minute or so. When the onion ring is golden brown, take it out of the oil and set it on a plate lined with paper towels.
  7. Keep frying the onion rings a few at a time until the whole batch is done. Sprinkle them with a little salt and serve right away.



Sweet Hot Dog Relish

Is there anything better than a nice hot dog fresh of the grill? It’s one of my favorite cookout things. Plus it’s frugal and easy to make. To me though what makes the dog is the toppings. You need some good mustard, a little ketchup and of course some relish. While the stuff from the store will do in a pinch, this homemade version is so much better. Make up a batch and put it out at your next cookout.

Sweet Hot Dog Relish
Recipe type: Condiment
  • 5 cucumbers
  • 2 onions
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Start by cutting off the ends of your cucumber. Then cut it in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice and chop the cucumber into very small chunks and scoop them into a glass bowl.
  2. Dice the onion and bell pepper into very small chunks and add them to the bowl as well. Add the salt and stir. Cover the bowl and set it in the fridge for a day. The salt will pull some of the moisture out of the veggies.
  3. Pour the veggies into a fine strainer or line a colander with cheese cloth (or a paper towel in a pinch). Let the salt water drain off, then rinse them with plenty of cold water. Let the water drain out and give the veggies a good squeeze to get as much liquid out as possible. The cheese cloth comes in handy here, but it works just fine without too.
  4. Get out a small bowl or a glass measuring cup (the 2 cup kind with the spout and handle... it makes pouring easy) and whisk the corn starch and vinegar together with a large fork. Add the spices and the sugar. Pour it into a medium sauce pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it quite a big while it's heating to dissolve all the sugar. Add the veggies and simmer everything for 10 minutes.
  5. Allow the relish to cool and scoop it into containers. I keep mine in the fridge. Unopened they last about 3 months. Once the relish is open, we do our best to use it up within 2 to 3 weeks.


Homemade Seasoning Salt

I love using a seasoning salt like what’s sold in stores as Lawry’s Seasoned salt, but I prefer to make my own. Not only is it more frugal, it also allows me to control all ingredients. That means that I know exactly what it is I’m sprinkling on my family’s food and I can control how much of each item goes into the mix (adjusting it for our personal taste and health requirements).

It only takes a few minutes to mix together your own seasoning salt. I recommend you start out with a small batch and tweak it to your own liking. Write down any adjustments you’ve made and then mix up a big batch and store it in a clean, airtight container. I keep mine in a mason jar, transferring what I need into a smaller spice jar that stays close to my stove for cooking.

I sprinkle this particular mixture on pork chops, steaks, and chicken.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Homemade Seasoning Salt
Recipe type: Spice Mix
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp corn starch
  1. Add each ingredient to a clean bowl. I use a glass measuring cup to make it easy to pour the finished mixture out later.
  2. Mix everything until it is well combined and transfer it to a spice jar.

You can easily make this in larger batches.


Spinach and Pasta

I love simple dishes that can be trown together in minutes. This particular one  is healthy and perfect for those days when you’re eating a little healthier and cutting out meat. It’s also quite frugal. Feel free to use any cheese you like with this dish.

This recipe comes from my good friend Christine – The Menu Mom. I highly recommend her meal planning service.

Spinach Pasta Toss

  • 1 can  (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups  multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup  water
  • 1 pkg.  (9 oz.) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup  Italian cheese

Spinach pastaBring tomatoes, pasta and water to boil in large saucepan; stir. Cover; simmer on medium-low heat 10 min. or just until pasta is tender.

Add half the spinach; simmer, covered, 2 min. or just until wilted. Stir. Repeat with remaining spinach.

Serve topped with cheese.

Bill’s Classic North Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

I’ve often said that if the soldiers had tasted some of the recipes here on the Hillbilly Housewife, the only civil war would have been over seconds at meal time.

Here’s a North Carolina style barbecue sauce that is easy to make and will keep them coming back for more.

Bill’s Barbecue Sauce Recipe

4 cups cider vinegar
1 cup whiskey (optional-Old Grandad works well in this recipe if you do include it)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup ketchup (Heinz is best)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 Tblsp Tabasco or generic
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp corn starch

barbecueBring it slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook longer if thicker sauce is what you prefer. Allow to cool and refrigerate. Will keep for months, if you have any left, that is.

Serving size: 1 large bottle

Great on ribs or pulled pork: use 12oz of peach or apple wood in your charcoal to smoke the meat…makes one heavenly, frugal, bbq meal!

This recipe was submitted by reader William Wilson. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe Bill.

Freezer Pie Crust Dough

There are a lot of ways to use up leftovers, but one of the best ways I know is making a Pot Pie.  Why?  Because the leftovers are almost unrecognizable in a golden brown, flaky pie crust!

It seems that no matter what ingredients I have on hand, when I remember I have pie crust dough in the freezer, I immediately know what to make.  And no one has complained yet.  Yes, I think we can credit the golden flaky crusts.

Of course, having the pie crusts ready and waiting in the freezer is also inspiration for dessert.  If you freeze fruit or berries, too, you can reach into the freezer in the morning and have a delicious pie cooling in the kitchen to enjoy after dinner.

Give this simple recipe a try, stock your freezer, and let me know if having pie crust dough ready when you want it helps you plan and prepare meals and desserts.

Freezer Pie Crust Dough
Recipe type: freezer, dessert, pie
Serves: makes 2 crusts
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 4 to 5 Tbsp ice water
  • plastic food wrap
  • 2 freezer bags
  1. Place the sifted flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl, add the shortening and cut in with a pastry cutter until mixture become crumbly.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the ice water at a time to the dough mixture and toss with a fork, add 1 tablespoon more, toss with a fork, until a dough forms that sticks together when pressed between your fingers.
  3. Form a dough ball, then divide it in half, reform the ball, and flatten slightly.
  4. Wrap each dough ball with plastic wrap, then place each in freezer bag, zip to seal.
  5. You can keep the dough in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  6. When ready to use, remove from freezer and allow to come to room temperature, then remove from plastic bag and wrap and roll out as desired.

If for any reason plans change and you don’t use the thawed pie crust dough right away, go ahead and store it in the refrigerator.  It will keep for about a week more.  Just wrap tightly again in the plastic wrap and freezer bag.

Uncooked Pie Crust

Strawberry Pineapple Freezer Jam

When strawberries are in season, I am always on the look-out for new recipes to use this family favorite.

We have plenty of regulars, even another strawberry freezer jam, but this recipe offers a little surprise – pineapple.  The flavors complement each other so well, and the texture is incredible.

If you’re looking for a new freezer jam to make with your strawberries, give this one a try.  I think you’ll be pleased.

Strawberry Pineapple Freezer Jam
Recipe type: fruit, jam, freezer
  • 1 to 2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, drained, and hulled
  • 2½ cups fresh pineapple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 2 pkgs (1¾ oz) powdered pectin
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 pint size freezer containers with lids
  1. Place strawberries in a large mixing bowl and crush them with a potato masher. You'll use between 1 and 2 pints to get the 2½ cups needed for jam, depending on the size of the strawberries.
  2. Measure out 2½ cups strawberries and place in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the pineapple to the measured strawberries.
  4. Slowly add the sugar and stir until well combined.
  5. Place the cold water in a saucepan over medium heat and add the pectin.
  6. Stir continuously until water begins to boil; boil 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  7. Pour the water mixture into the fruit and stir well to combine; continue stirring 4 minutes.
  8. Pour into pint canning jars or freezer containers; cover.
  9. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, then put in freezer.
  10. Jam will be just fine in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  11. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and allow to come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  12. Always cover and refrigerate any uneaten portions; use within 3 to 4 weeks.


Chicken Teriyaki Marinade Recipe

You can buy Teriyaki marinade at the store, but I much prefer to make my own. Here’s the one I use anytime I make chicken teriyaki from scratch. It makes enough for one recipe and I recommend you prepare this fresh each time. If you want to work ahead, you can mix up the marinade and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days before using it.

•    1/3 cup soy sauce
•    1/3 cup water
•    ¼ cup sake
•    ¼ cup mirin
•    3 tbsp sugar
•    1 tsp grated ginger

Whisk everything together in a bowl. I like to use a fork for this. Sake and mirin are both a bit of a specialty item that give this marinade it’s authentic taste. You can easily substitute a little water and some more sugar (since mirin is sweet), or use a dash of Sherry or Marsala instead.

You can use this marinade in any recipe that calls for Teriyaki sauce. I mostly use it in chicken dishes, but it’s great for marinating pork too.

This homemade version is tastier and even with the investment in sake and fresh ginger less expensive in the long run than the store-bought versions. You can make it even more frugal (though not quite as tasty) with these modifications:

  • Replace the Sake and mirin with a little water and sugar… you may also want to add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice to add acidity.
  • Use powdered ginger instead of fresh.

How To Use The Teriyaki Marinade

You can use this marinade in any recipe that calls for Teriyaki sauce. I like to marinate chicken for at least an hour in it before either stir-frying it, cooking it in the oven or grilling it. As I mentioned above, you can also use it to marinate and season pork or even vegetables. It’s yummy brushed on veggies while you grill or roast them as well.

Discard any leftover marinade immediately or use it during the cooking process.

Vegetable Chow Mein Recipe

Chow Mein is a very versatile recipe and you can tweak this basic vegetable version to include various meats, seafood and of course you can use all sorts of different vegetables in this. Got some leftover broccoli? Throw it in there. Green beans or snow peas on sale at the grocery store this week, include those.

  • 1 – 14 oz package of chow mein noodles (or spaghetti)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 julienned carrot
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bean sprouts

Start by cooking the noodles according to the package directions, drain them and set them aside. I like to put them back in the pot and cover them with a plate or a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm while I’m cooking up everything else.

While the noodles are cooking, you can prepare your sauce. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil in a bowl and set aside.

With everything prepared, get out your large skillet or wok and heat the oil over medium high heat. One of the reasons I love these dishes is that they cook very quickly because it’s prepared over rather high heat cooked in a little bit of oil. The high temperature cooks these veggies super quick.

Add the julienned carrots, ginger and garlic to the pan and saute until the carrots have softened.

Once the veggies start to soften, add your cooked noodles and sauce. Stir until heated through. Add the bean sprouts and cook for a few minutes more.

Serve and enjoy.

Easy Tortilla Crust Pizza

I have a busy schedule and pizza is always an option but ordering out still takes a while for delivery so one day I made pizza using tortillas instead of dough..

Spray your pan with non stick cooking spray….place tortilla on pan add sauce …whatever you like on it…and cheese…place in oven 400…til cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp usually about ten min…and now you’ve got a prefect thin crust pizza…no more store bought our call in delivery for us….you can also make ahead and freeze the pizza..just place pan in freezer till frozen and put in freezer bag…when want pizza just spray pan and their it in oven..so simple.

(Thank you, Pauline Brookins, for sharing this super easy thin crust pizza recipe.)

My Thoughts on Homemade Tortilla Pizza

I’ve made these in the past, but completely forgotten about them. We had them for dinner last night. I used store-bought tortillas last night, but you can certainly make them with homemade flour tortillas as well.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tortilla Pizza
Recipe type: Main
  • flour tortillas
  • pizza sauce
  • toppings
  • shredded cheese
  1. Heat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Put a flour tortilla on a pizza pan. Spread tomato or pizza sauce on the tortilla then add your favorite toppings and cheese.
  3. Bake for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges of the tortilla start to brown.

I made these last night. Here are a few pictures:

Let’s start with some Salami Pizza.

Before baking

And here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven.

This one is very kid-friendly. You could also use pepperoni or make just cheese pizzas.

For myself, I got a little more adventurous with black olives, ham and fresh basil leaves.

Here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven… the basil didn’t look so pretty, but still tasted really good. I think I’ll add them only at the last minute of baking next time I make these.

The Pizzas where a big hit for dinner and we’ll be making them again very soon.


Ramen Noodle Recipes

My daughter is a big fan of Ramen Noodles, especially the chicken flavor kind. She’s fine with eating them just plain, but I like to play with it and come up with some yummy variations. We’ve tried all sorts of things and I know there are tons of ramen noodle recipes out there.

Here are some of our favorites:

Ramen Egg Drop Soup

Fix Ramen Noodles according to package direction making them rather soupy. Right before they are done, scramble up one egg in a small cup along with a little soy sauce. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot noodles while stirring them in one direction. The addition of the egg makes this a filling snack or light lunch and adds quite a bit of protein.

Creamy Asian Noodles

I first heard about this from my friend Nicole and to be honest I was reluctant to try it…. once I did, we were hooked and make these as an after-school snack all the time. Fix a packet of ramen noodles according to package directions. Go easy on the water. Right before you take it off the stove, add a teaspoon of peanut butter to the mixture.

It’s great just like that, but even better if you throw in some leftover veggies, chopped peanuts or even leftover chicken. By adding chicken, veggies and peanuts, this becomes a full meal perfect for quick and easy dinner.

Ramen Beef Skillet

This makes enough to feed a crowd.

  • 2 packages of Ramen Noodles
  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 lb ground beef

Brown the beef in a soup or stew pot and drain off any excess fat. Add the tomatoes, corn, and noodles. Bring to boil and add the seasoning package. Cover, stirring occasionally. Simmer until most of the tomato sauce is evaporated and the noodles are soft (about 5 minutes).

What are your favorite Ramen Noodle Recipes?

I Highly Recommend Back 2 School Survival Guide

Chock full of tips, ideas, and suggestions that help families get organized and prepared for back to school covering everything (and much more) from establishing routines, packing lunches, completing homework, and purchasing school supplies to dealing with bullies, volunteering in the classroom, maintaining multiple schedules, and teaching responsibility.

Plus you’ll get:

  • Student Planner
  • Master Family Planner
  • Sample/Customizable Routines
  • School Information Sheet
  • Schedule Adjustment Worksheet
  • Countdown Maze
  • My Favorites Worksheet
  • Grocery Planner
  • Family Fun Worksheet
  • School Goals Worksheet
  • Classmate Contact Sheet
  • Important Dates At-A-Glance

It’s a great guide and ebook and I’m in love with the cute and helpful printables. Take a look at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/back2school

Cheapie Cavatini

Use any amounts you like, this is just what I do for a quick dinner.

16 oz rotini noodles, uncooked
cook, drain and rinse

stir in 1 can black olives, drained
1 pkg pepperoni
1 jar spaghetti sauce

add whatever else you like!

How To Oven Dry Fresh Cranberries

Dried cranberries are a delicious snack, as well as a nutritious addition to many recipes.  I love sprinkling them on top of salads and using them in my Thanksgiving stuffing.  What I don’t like is the price and all the sugar.

So, I decided to start experimenting with making my own.  This process works pretty well, and you can tweak it quite a bit.  I do think the sugar helps reduce the tartness, but you can omit it entirely if you like.  Give it a try and let me know how it works for you, and please share anything you did to make the recipe work better.

Oven Dried Cranberries

  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 to 3 Tbsp sugar or light corn syrup (optional)

Put the cranberries into a colander and rinse well, then dump out onto a paper towel covered surface to dry and sort.
Pick through the cranberries and remove any that are not plump and ripe.
Fill a large soup pot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil.Dried Cranberries

Add the cranberries to the soup pot when the water boils, and watch closely as their skins pop. You’re actually just blanching them so be sure they don’t come back to a rapid boil and cook, but you want all the skins to pop.  Turn the heat down if necessary to keep the water from boiling hard. This process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Keep the cranberries in the hot water, and stir frequently, until each one breaks open because any left whole won’t dry very well.

Pour the cranberries into a colander to drain.

Now, turn your oven on to 200 degrees so it can preheat.

Put fresh paper towels on your baking sheet in order to dry the cranberries.
Pour the drained cranberries onto the paper towels, then take another sheet of paper towels and lay on top of the cranberries and gently pat dry.  The more moisture you get off at this time will help the drying time.  If you’re adding sugar or corn syrup, now is the time you want to add it.  Sprinkle or drizzle on and use your hands to gently coat all the cranberries.

Prepare a baking sheet for the oven by covering it with several layers of paper towels, then place a piece of parchment paper on top.
Put the cranberries on the parchment paper and spread out into a single layer.

Turn the oven down to 150 degrees and put the cranberries in the oven.
The drying time will be anywhere from 6 to 10 hours, depending on if you want them chewy or crunchy.
Ovens vary, so you want to check on the cranberries often.  Reduce the heat if you need to, or take them out earlier.  Watch them and stir them around occasionally so they dry evenly.

Remove and allow the cranberries to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to use when you like.


Because the oven is on so long, I double this recipe. One thing to remember, though, is the drying process relies on air circulation.  So you will need to rotate the baking sheets around several times in the oven; switch up and down and spin front and back.

Also, some people who have tried this say freezing the cranberries after blanching them helps prepare them for the drying process.  I haven’t tried that yet.  If you do, let me know how it works.