Gifts in a Jar

mason jars 1Christmas is almost here and many of you are looking for that perfect gift for your friends and family. Here is an idea for an inexpensive, homemade gift that will definitely be appreciated.

Mason jars can be used for meal, beverage, or dessert mixes with ingredients you probably already have on hand. They are easy to wrap as gifts by adding fabric on top and tying the recipe on with ribbon or raffia. Try some of the recipes below this holiday season.


1. Chai Tea

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer

1 1/2 cups French vanilla non-dairy coffee creamer

1 cup sugar (you can use from 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups sugar)

2 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea

2 teaspoons ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon clove

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1 teaspoon allspice (optional)


  1. Mix milk powder, non-dairy creamers, sugar, instant tea, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice.
  2. Blend 1 cup at a time in a food processor until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.
  3. Store in an airtight container.


Chai Tea Gift Tag


  1. Stir 3 tablespoons Chai Tea Mixture into a cup of hot water.
  2. For an extra caffeine punch; add an additional 1 teaspoons instant tea or add Chai Tea Mix to your cup of brewed tea

2. Hot Chocolate Mix

6 1/2 cups powdered milk

1 (5 ounce) package chocolate pudding mix (use regular not instant)

1 cup powdered instant chocolate drink mix (such as Nestle Nesquick)

1/2 cup French vanilla non-dairy coffee creamer

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder



Hot Chocolate Gift Tag


Stir 3 tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix into a cup of hot water.

Mix well and enjoy!


3. Homemade Hamburger Helping Mix


2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup beef bouillon powder

2 tablespoons onion flakes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 tablespoon garlic powder


1 .Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

2. Attach the recipes to the jar.  (All 4 recipe ideas below)



1 lb ground beef/turkey/chicken/pork/tofu

1 cup water

1/2 cup macaroni noodles, raw

2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 cup hamburger helping mix


1. Brown meat and drain.

2. Add remaining ingredients.

3. Combine and simmer 20 minutes or until macaroni is cooked.



1 lb ground beef/turkey/chicken/pork/tofu

2 cups water

1/2 cup hamburger helping mix

2 cups uncooked egg noodles

1/2 cup sour cream


1. Brown meat and drain.

2. Add water, mix, and uncooked egg noodles.

3. Simmer 20 minutes or until noodles are tender.

4. Stir in sour cream and serve.



1 lb. ground beef/turkey/chicken/pork/tofu

3/4 cup water

6 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 cup hamburger helping mix


1. Brown ground beef and drain.

2. Add rest of ingredients.

3. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove cover and cook until excess water has evaporated.



1 lb. ground beef/turkey/chicken/pork/tofu

1/2 cup hamburger helping mix

1 onion, chopped

2 cups water

1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce

3 cups lasagna noodles, uncooked, broken in bits

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded


1. Brown meat and drain.

2. Add mix, onion, water, tomato sauce, lasagna noodles and parmesan cheese in large skillet.

3. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to simmer.

5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until noodles are cooked.

6. Top with mozzarella cheese.

7. Turn off heat and let cheese melt.


4. Minestrone Soup

1/4 cup red lentil

1/4 cup split peas

1/4 cup barley

1/3 cup beef bouillon granules

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

3 tablespoons onion flakes

1/3 teaspoon thyme

1/3 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon basil

1/4 cup alphabet pasta, approximately


  1. In a two-cup jar, layer from bottom in the order given and then seal the jar.

Minestrone Soup Gift Tag

  1. In a very large saucepan, combine 8-10 cups of water, a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, and soup mix.
  2. Add 2 chopped carrots and 2-4 chopped potatoes (optional 2 cups chopped cabbage).
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover and simmer for one hour or until peas are tender.


5. Jambalaya

3 cups uncooked long-grain rice

3 tablespoons dried onion flakes

3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

1 tablespoon minced dried chives

1 tablespoon dried celery flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Divide evenly among three airtight containers (there will be a little over 1 cup in each container).
  3. Store in a dry, cool place for up to 6 months.



Jambalaya Gift Tag


  1. In a saucepan bring 2 cups water and 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper to a boil.
  2. Stir in the contents of one jar of the dried mix, return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 19 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  4. In another saucepan heat 8 ounces of tomato sauce and one pound of fully cooked smoked sausage that has been cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  5. Add one pound of medium, peeled, deveined shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink.
  6. Combine both pans.
  7. More tomato sauce may be added if mixture is dry

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