Have you ever found yourself needing a last-minute breakfast for your family or dessert for a party but lacking the time to make it from scratch? With homemade make-ahead mixes, your problem is solved. Not only are these dry mixes frugal, they are time-saving and much tastier than boxed mixes from the grocery store. They can also minimize the mess when your young child is helping you bake muffins or quick breads.
Finding Recipes for Homemade Dry Mixes
Homemade mixes can be made for many different food categories, but in this article I focus mainly on flour-based foods like quick breads, pancakes and muffins. When choosing your mixes, start with recipes that your family already enjoys. Most recipes for pancakes, calzone or pizza dough and muffins can be easily multiplied.
Making sure you have room to store your mixes is important. Things made with whole wheat flour must be refrigerated or frozen otherwise the germ will spoil and take rancid. I store my mixes either in my deep freeze or the pantry stacked in large Tupperware bowls. Your mixes will be stored with the dry ingredients already combined for later use.
Assembling Your Homemade Mixes
Purchase your ingredients ahead of time to make sure you have the amounts that you need. When planning for assembly day, try to set aside a morning or even a full day if you’re really ambitious! Setting out your measuring cups, spoons and ingredients the night before is very helpful. Since they are all dry ingredients, you don’t have to worry about spoilage. You may want to use multiple sets of measuring cups to limit “wash time” if you are making a large variety of mixes.
I find it works best to assemble one mix at a time to cut down on the confusion of what has or hasn’t been added. For each recipe, I multiply the ingredients by two or four, which I find makes for the easiest calculations. Make sure to include the wet ingredients in your calculations so that later you don’t find yourself adding too much or too little liquid to each batch.
Your dry mixes can be stored in large containers or in individual bags to save yourself the math of figuring out how much to use for each batch. I like to store my calzone and pizza crust mixes in individual freezer bags and my pancake and muffin mixes in large sealed bowls. After assembly, put away your mixes and be prepared to enjoy the fruits of your labor when you’re pinched for time.
Using Your Make-Ahead Homemade Mixes
It’s fun to use homemade mixes for a variety of situations. It’s simple to put your dry pizza crust mix into the bread machine and start the dough setting for an easy supper. Making banana bread with your toddler or preschooler can be simpler and less messy if you’re in a hurry. A quick dessert can be whipped up with the dry ingredients for cupcakes ready and waiting in your cupboard.
With some initial time and effort and even some help from your kids, you can be prepared for whatever last-minute situation you may encounter when it comes to food. And we know that all of us could use extra minutes in our day!