DIY Mexican Dinner

I love all things natural, and last winter I made up some natural, ready-made meals for gifts which included a DIY Mexican Dinner Kit. I’ve always thought food gifts are the best gifts, but of course I am one of those that looks at the ingredients of store-bought mixes given to me as gifts. I appreciate them, definitely, and will make them, but don’t understand why so many that are packaged as healthy food mixes have corn syrup or hydrogenated oils in them! Yuck. This year I made taco seasoning to go with all-natural taco shells, cilantro-lime rice, and a Moroccan Saffron Rice, which I will include in another post.

DIY Taco Seasoning
DIY Taco Seasoning Image Courtesy of Cookin'Mama at

DIY All-Natural Taco Seasoning
Recipe Courtesy of Bill Echols from

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix ingredients together and store in air-tight container. Makes one serving – multiply recipe to make gifts or store in larger quantity.

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I found this great recipe for cilantro lime rice – includes a little bit of sugar, which I didn’t find in other recipes of the same name. It really changes the dish and adds a little bit of excitement to the otherwise ordinary cilantro and rice flavor. It was easy to package this up in kraft paper bakery bags with printable labels to give as gifts in a food basket at the holidays. It also makes a great housewarming or hospital recovery meal idea when paired with a fresh lime, taco seasoning, shells, etc. for a complete DIY Mexican Dinner Kit.

DIY Natural Cilantro Lime Rice
DIY Natural Cilantro Lime Rice Courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod

Cilantro Lime Rice

Courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod
Yield: about 3 cups cooked rice

1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 (15 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice. Serve warm.

If packaging for DIY Mexican Dinner gifts, use ground chicken boullion, garlic powder, dried cilantro, sugar and rice. These printable labels include the directions for cooking with these ingredients included in package!

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Homemade salsa is so easy to whip together, especially if you already have the cilantro! Pack it in an attractive jar to include with the DIY Mexican Dinner Gift!

Homemade Tomato Salsa
Homemade Tomato Salsa

Fresh Tomato Salsa
Courtesy of

4 cups diced tomatoes, (5-6 medium)
3/4 cup finely diced red onion, (about 1 small)
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Mix together and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Makes a great pair with guacamole if you mix 1 cup of salsa into the prepared guacamole.

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Printable Rice Kit Label
Printable Rice Kit Label (Front)

Printable Rice Kit Label
Printable Rice Kit Label (Back)

These are the labels I used for the Cilantro Lime rice kits. Feel free to use these, they are 2.5″ and are 12 to a sheet. Click here to download the sheet of labels – 6 front and 6 back labels as a pdf file. You can also print on paper as is, and then cut and paste on the bags or tie them on as cute tags with ribbon.

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