When I make my homemade spaghetti sauce, I add a mix of spices such as garlic powder, marjoram, oregano, basil, a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat, and of a wee bit of sugar to cut the tartness of the tomatoes. I have a small canister of this mix already blended, waiting for me in my spice cabinet. This mix and my other favorites listed below make thoughtful and delicious gifts for friends, family and coworkers.

I pour about one cup of the spice mix into a baggie and zip-lock it closed, squeezing out the air. Most of the time, it takes about 2 tablespoons per recipe, so this gives them enough for quite a few uses.
One or more of these baggies fit nicely in small Christmas tins that you can buy at the dollar store. Other cute ideas for gifting are decorated Christmas take-out boxes which I’ve also seen at the dollar store. These mixes can also be added to a themed gift baskets, like Geri talks about in her blog, 40 Holiday Gift Giving Ideas.

For cooking instructions, I cut out a section of an old Christmas card and write the instructions on the blank side. This is a great way to reuse those beautiful Christmas cards that are just too pretty to throw away. After punching one hole in the recipe card, use Christmas ribbon to tie the card around the can to give as a gift.

Your friends will love this gift since it comes from the heart.


Here are six of my favorite spice mixes. Just mix in a bowl, and you’re done!

½ cup table salt 4 tablespoons garlic powder 2 tablespoons onion powder 6  tablespoons black pepper 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper 2 tablespoons paprika

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1/3 c. dry crushed oregano 1/3 cup dry basil 2 Tbsp. rosemary ¼ cup each thyme, sage, and marjoram ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup garlic powder

½ cup chili powder ¼ cup garlic powder 3 tablespoons onion powder ¼ cup oregano 2 tablespoons paprika ¼ cup cumin

1 tablespoon thyme

2 c. kosher salt 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 1 Tbsp. oregano, dried 1 Tbsp. chili powder 1 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon rosemary 1 tablespoon oregano leaves 1 tablespoon powdered sage 1 tablespoon powdered ginger 1 teaspoon marjoram 1 ½ teaspoons thyme 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed 3 tablespoons dry minced parsley 1 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon paprika 2 tablespoons garlic salt 2 tablespoons onion salt 2 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon

1 package Lipton Tomato Cup-a-Soup mix

¼ cup chili powder ¼ cup cumin powder 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 teaspoon oregano leaf (or oregano leaf powder) 1 teaspoon paprika ¼ cup Himalayan salt or sea salt (optional) 1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper