Monday, October 11, 2010

Money Saving Monday

Consider Making Your Own Packaged Food Mixes
Packaged food mixes available at the grocery store are often easy and conveinent, buy you are usually paying a premium price for that convenience.  You can easily make your own pre-made mixes for pennies on the dollar, and they often taste much better than store bought too.
An added bonus to making your own baking and cooking mixes is that you can make them a lot healthier as well.  If you so choose, you can reduce the sugar called for in a recipe or replace it with a substitute like Splenda, use whole wheat flour in place of white, eliminate or reduce the amount of salt in a dish, and make sure that your baking mixes don't contain hydrogenated oils.

For a long time, I always purchased a packaged pepper gravy mix when I would make biscuits and gravy.  Then one day I realized that I forgot to get some when I went to the store.  I really did not want to run to the store because it was already time to cook supper (we like breakfast for supper often).  Then all of a sudden it hit me- What Had I Been Thinking?  I could make gravy myself with a little butter, flour, and milk!  I quickly searched online at one of my favorite recipe sites: and ended up with an easier and tastier gravy than the mix I always used.  The mix that I used to buy required you to wisk the powdered ingredients into cold water, then separately boil water and cook the sasauge in different pots, then mix them together.  My new recipe lets you make everything -the sausage and the gravy all together in one skillet, which saves me time and requires less clean up.  Sometimes these packaged "convenience" mixes don't even really save you any time.  

Some mixes can save you tons of time and energy because you can make them up ahead of time in large batches and pull them out when it is dinner time, for quick and easy homemade meals.  Check out some of these mixes that you can make up ahead of time:
Pretty much any recipe that you use that calls for mixing a number of different dry ingredients together, can be made ahead.  Try this with your favorite homemade biscuit, cake, and muffin recipes.  Add together the dry ingredients and store them in an airtight container or plastic bag.  Clearly mark them with what type of mix it is as well as what other ingredients need to be added and the baking directions for the product.  Try making up multiple batches at the same time to make the most efficient use of your time.  Next time I have a freezer cooking day I am going to try making up a number of different mixes including biscuits, muffins, cornbread, and hot cocoa.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

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