Since their invention in the ’50s, boxed and bagged mixes have become big business on grocery-store shelves. Most often purchased for reasons of convenience — and sometimes lack of baking skills — mixes provide consistent results with minimal mess. But most mixes are simple blends of flour, sugar, flavourings and leavening agents (such as baking powder or soda) — easy to make from scratch, without any additives or preservatives. If you cook green — that is, try not to waste excess energy and packaging when getting a meal on the table — stirring up large batches of your own mixes and stashing them in Hefty Slider Bags will save money and reduce waste.
Bonus: DIY mixes can provide a nutritional boost for your family, since you control exactly what goes into them.
Homemade Bisquick: blend 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a food processor until completely blended. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can do it by hand with a pastry cutter or whisk.) Store in the fridge or freezer in a Hefty slider bag. To make biscuits, add 3/4-1 cup of milk, cream or buttermilk to the entire batch; stir, pat, cut and bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until golden. To make a larger batch of mix, increase the quantities of each ingredient proportionately.
Homemade Pancake Mix: Mix or shake together 8 cups flour (try going for a combination of all-purpose and whole grains, such as whole wheat flour, oat flour, quinoa flour or buckwheat flour), 3 Tbsp. baking powder, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt. To use, mix a ratio of 1 cup pancake mix to 1 egg, 1 cup of milk and 1 Tbsp. oil – increase quantities to make a bigger batch.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix: combine 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup oats, 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp salt and 3 cups chocolate chips. Store in a Hefty Slider Bag. To make cookies, blend half the mix with 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 large egg and 2 tsp. vanilla. Drop by the spoonful and bake on a buttered baking sheet at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges.
Chocolate Pudding Mix: whisk together 1 cup sugar¨, 2/3 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup cornstarch and a pinch of salt. To prepare, whisk 1 cup mix with ¨2 cups milk or light cream in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens. If you like, throw in a handful of chocolate chips and stir to melt. Cool and chill before serving.
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