Cheap Bastid’s Basic Spice Blend

You know, I keep probably 30 or more spices in my kitchen cupboard right next to the stove.  And I use pretty much all of them at least from time to time.  I can whip up a pretty good spice blend just by rummaging around with an idea in mind of how I want a flavor to develop.   Want to know how Cheap Bastid can whip up a pretty good spice blend?  It’s easy.  I’ve whipped up enough bad spice blends to have finally figured out what works and why.  Failure.  Yep, that’s the great educator.

Anyway, the more I’ve cooked the more I’ve come back to absolute basics.  All those TV chefs—whether it’s Tom Colicchio or Robert Irvine or whoever—seem to come back to the same basic, salt and pepper.

A few years back, my daughter gave me a shaker of a spice blend she used and bought from a shop where she lived in Missouri.  It was fantastic.  But it was also a bit expensive.  I loved using it and wanted more but looked at it and what was in it and said to myself:  “Self, you can make this.”  Of course I could and it’s what I call my Basic Blend.  Here’s the real simple, quick, Cheap Bastid recipe:

Recipe: Cheap Bastids Basic Spice Blend

Summary: This is my “go-to” blend of spices and it’s both cheap and simple to do at home.


  • 1 part “chunky salt” Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1 part dried “minced” garlic
  • 1 part cracked black peppercorns


  • Mix all 3 ingredients well and put in a big shaker.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

There.  It’s that simple.  Except… (there’s always an “except” isn’t there?)

I make mine with about 1/3 cup of each ingredient.  And what I should do is take the black pepper and reduce it by a tablespoon, just to ease up a bit on the heat.  And speaking of the black pepper, you want the peppercorns cracked not ground.

Here’s an easy way to crack it:  Put a couple of tablespoons of peppercorn into a resealable plastic bag and seal it.  Now take your French rolling pin or even a meat mallet and gently tap all over to crack (not pulverize or grind) the peppercorns.  It’ll take a bit but it’s worth it.  I’ve tried the spice/coffee grinder thing with this but you get too many uncracked peppercorns and too much of it ground fine.

I use this on everything!  It’s especially good on food you’re grilling.  If I’m doing a roast that will be sliced I put it on heavy but if I’m doing steak or chops, I go pretty easy on it.  I peel back the skin on chicken and shake it underneath directly on the meat.

And, best of all it’s cheap.  How cheap?  About $2 for a cup which will last me 6-8 months at least. (You can get all the ingredients at the dollar store).

The simple things are the best aren’t they?

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way:  Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

About Walter Blevins

My wife started to call me Cheap Bastid a while back because I enjoyed coming up with dinners that cost next to nothing--and making them taste good. Yeah, I love to cook. And I love to cook good food cheap. I'm not a chef and I'm definitely not anything close to a gourmet. I'm just a home cook who grew up in a home where cooking was from scratch and was a little bit Midwest and a little bit country. That's because my Mom was from Michigan and my Dad was from Kentucky. I started sharing recipes when my daughter called me in 2006 and asked for my recipe for Swiss Steak. That year for Christmas I put together a cookbook for my 2 kids called "Dad's Everyday Cookbook and Kitchen Survival Guide". And I heard back that they both use it regularly. It was full of basic recipes that I had cooked for them when they were growing up. I work hard at creating recipes that are original and creative and inexpensive. You won't find a foo-foo foodie approach to my recipes and style. I believe that it's OK for food to go up the side of a plate. Food is for eating--it doesn't have to be pretty. And I write about my cooking and my recipes so that I can share them. I hope you enjoy these posts. Leave me a comment--that you liked something or that you didn't, it doesn't matter. I'd love to hear from you.
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4 Responses to Cheap Bastid’s Basic Spice Blend

  1. Candace Mann says:

    walt, i’ve been meaning to send you an email to let you know a couple things:

    1. you are a darn good cook, cheap or not.
    2. you have a great website.
    3. you’ve really kept the posts coming on a regular basis, not too many and not too few.

    great work, my friend.

    • Walter Blevins says:

      Candace, thank you for the kind words. As I’m sure you know, I got started on my “Cheap Bastid” approach on Open Salon. The look of this site was a collaboration between my wife and I to create something that had the “look” of an old time diner. You’re an accomplished food blogger and any feedback you might have to help me make this more successful and increase readership would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your kind words.

  2. alpa says:

    Hi Walter… First of all I must tell you I love your blog. You are hilarious! I really like this basic spice blend, thanks for sharing the proportions! Have you tried any other combinations/additions to this? I bet dried orange peel or rosemary would be fantastic with this as well.

    • Walter Blevins says:

      Alpa, Thank you for the compliment. It’s greatly appreciated–you are obviously a blogger too and, like me, I’m sure you sit around quite a bit wondering if anyone is actually reading or browsing what you post so it’s great to get the feedback.
      This is my basic blend that I use more than anything else. And, yes I frequently add something else when I’m looking for a certain flavor or aroma. Orange peel, rosemary, thyme, “Italian Seasoning”, ancho powder, cumin, etc. have all been added to this at one time or another. That’s the fun of cooking, isn’t it? You can customize–or to quote “Gunny Highway”: “Improvise, adapt overcome!” Thanks again. Walt

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