We like convenience and easy meals in the kitchen as much as anyone else. So why not try homemade premixed foods? With most Amish families’ being large, there are times when the need to whip up big meals and desserts in a hurry come up. That is when premade mixes come in handy!
Premixed foods help speed things up in the kitchen. Cake mixes, Bisquick mix, pancake mixes, the list of “kitchen helpers” goes on and on. I like to be as efficient as possible and cut back on time in preparing my food, but I’m honestly not too fond of the idea of buying prepackaged foods containing who-knows-what kind of ingredients, some of which are too long for me to even pronounce.
One day I decided that “today is the day”: it was time to make my own mixes to simplify some of my cooking and baking. Not only do I know exactly what all the ingredients are, it also saves me money. I got all my dry ingredients, then dumped each mixture into separate containers. I used large peanut butter containers that had been emptied and washed and then labeled them. Next I figured up what the dry measurements are for each batch and the amount of eggs, milk, or whatever was needed to complete the batch. The lids served as my instruction sheet where I jotted down the amounts of each needed ingredient.
It proved to work well. Not only was I pleased to have a bunch of convenient mixes, my husband was pleased to have more cookies to munch on. Having the mixes on hand enabled me to bake cookies at times when otherwise I would have thought I didn’t have time.
Several of our favorite mixes are pancake, cookies, biscuits, pour-in-a-pan pizza and crumb dessert. Daniel is a pizza fan. When there’s not a sufficient amount of time to prepare one, it’s easy to just use my premixed ingredients for the dough and put together a no-fuss pizza. Be sure to watch for that recipe in an upcoming column.
The crumb dessert is one that couldn’t be tastier for how simple it is. I never tire of eating it. It’s delicious when eaten warm straight from the oven along with some milk or ice cream. I use my homemade pie filling. Any flavor filling is delicious with these crumbs. If you decide to make the mix, simply mix the dry ingredients and dump into an airtight container.
3 cups quick oats
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Measure out 2 1 /2 cups dry ingredients and mix with 6 tablespoons butter and sprinkle it over 1 quart of pie filling that has been spread in a 9-inch by 9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Another unique mix recipe that my mother has had for years is the “brownie mix” (we call it brownie mix, but we use it in a variety of baked goods). It can be used for cookies, cakes, brownies and ice cream topping. This is a large-batch recipe and can be divided if needed.
8 cups white sugar
4 cups flour
2 1/2 cups cocoa
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups shortening
Combine dry ingredients. Add shortening. Mix well. Stores up to six months.
FOR COOKIES: 2 cups brownie mix, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla
FOR CAKE: 2 cups mix, 3 separated eggs, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all but egg whites. Beat whites and fold in. Pour into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees.
FOR BROWNIES: 4 cups mix, 4 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 1/3 cups walnuts, 1 cup chocolate chips and spread into 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees.
ICE CREAM TOPPING: 1 cup mix, 2/3 cup water. Boil. Simmer 1 -2 minutes until thick. Cool.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup solid shortening
Mix together dry ingredients and add shortening. Use for any recipe that calls for Bisquick. Can be stored tightly for up to a month.
FOR BISCUITS: 2/3 cup milk or buttermilk
Add milk to mix. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees.