Make-Ahead Mix: Best Ever Cornbread (Just Add Water)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For this version of the best-ever cornbread, I've removed all of the wet ingredients and replaced them with their dry equivalents.  This will make a fully shelf-stable mix that only requires water to mix up.  Just like what you might buy from the store.  Only you made it yourself.  Without any extra fillers, or preservatives, or chemicals.  And you probably made it for a fraction of what the store-bought stuff costs.  Yay us!!

Here are the cast of characters for this version.  Now, some of these may be new to you.  Just hang tight - I'll walk you through them.

The dry ingredients are all the same, from the original version of the recipe.  But you'll notice I've got three new stand-ins in this shot.  Those are my dry subs.  They're kinda like understudies.  And for this version, we're going to put them to work.

First is the sub for the buttermilk.

This is buttermilk powder.  It is just straight buttermilk that has been sprayed into a thin film and dried, then ground into a powder.  That's it - that is all that is in there.  This stuff isn't often available in your local grocery store (unless you live out west near Utah, Idaho or even Arizona).  But there is a commercially available similar version, also called powdered buttermilk, made by Saco, and you can usually find it in your local grocery store in the baking goods aisle.  It will work in this recipe just fine.

Next up, I'm subbing the regular butter for butter powder.  Again, this is just straight butter that has been sprayed into a thin film, dried and then ground into a powder.  I don't use this to make butter.  But I do use it in some recipes as a butter substitute.  Like this one.  When you buy a mix from the store and it only requires water, that mix is usually using this stuff, too.  This is one you'll probably have to order online.  I keep #10 cans in my food storage, but you can get smaller sized cans or sometimes even pouches.

Last is the egg substitute.  I love this stuff!  Again, I don't usually use it to make straight scrambled eggs or anything (although you absolutely could, and this is what many restaurants actually use).  Like the others, this is just straight eggs.  They are mixed, sprayed into a fine layer or mist, and allowed to dry into a powder.  Use this stuff in your cookie recipes in place of regular eggs, and you can eat your raw cookie dough without any guilt of possible salmonella poisoning!  Nice, right?  Plus, this is handy to have for the times when I run out of eggs, or I need 6 and only have 5...grr...

So, for this mix, you're going to simply add all of your dry ingredients into a zip-top bag, squeeze out the air, and seal.  Label your bag and stick it in a cool dry spot until you're ready to use it. It's a bit of a tight fit, but it will just barely all make it in there.

Because you've gone with all dry ingredients and substitutes, to make this mix into cornbread, you simply need to add water, mix, pour into your prepared pan and bake!

I hope you'll give it a try!  It makes getting a nice warm pan of golden delicious cornbread on the table with dinner such a breeze!

What I'm Buying - Smith's 5/18

Thursday, May 18, 2017
It's the second week of Smith's (Kroger) "Buy 5 Save $5" sale, so I didn't get much from that sale.  But there are lots of weekly specials available.

(6) Ritz crackers, on sale 1.67 (1.30 after coupon)
(8) Wheat Thins crackers, on sale 1.67 (1.17 after coupon)
(4) dozen large eggs, on sale .88
(8) Ragu pasta sauce, on sale 1.50 (1.00 after coupon)
(4) Oscar Meyer zip top lunch meats, on sale 2.00 (1.25 after coupon)
(1) Monterey Jack cheese, closeout at 5.29
(1) SimpleTruth organics baby spring mix, 5.98
(2) bunches green onions, on sale .50 ea
(3) Kroger 8ct hot dog buns, on sale 1.00 (NOT PICTURED - long story...)

From the Buy 5 promo:
(4) Kroger sparkling seltzer water, on sale 2.99 (1.99 after promo)
(1) Aquafina sparkling water, on sale 3.99 (2.99 with promo, 1.99 after coupon)
(6) Keebler cookies, on sale 2.49 (1.49 after promo, .99 after coupon)
(3) Oscar Meyer hot dogs, on sale 1.99 (.99 after promo)
(1) Kraft American cheese singles, on sale 2.99 (1.99 after promo)

My total was: $74.90

Coupon info:
$0.75/2 Ritz Crackers, exp. 5/20/17 (SS 04/09/17) 8.8-oz.+
$1/2 Wheat Thins Snacks, exp. 6/17/17 (SS 05/07/17 #2) 8-oz.+
$1/2 Ragu, exp. 6/11/17 (SS 05/14/17 R)
$0.75 off any ONE (1) OSCAR MAYER® Lunchmeat Zip-Pack® product
$1/1 Aquafina sparkling water digital coupon
$1.50/3 Keebler cookies or crackers

The crackers, cookies and pasta sauce are all for food storage.  The crackers and cookies are short term, and the past sauce is more long term - it's good for up to a year!  The shredded cheese is headed to the freezer to be pulled out for future meals.

New blog site!

Monday, May 15, 2017

If you like to follow the freezer meal recipes or make-ahead mixes and meals in a jar, be sure to check out my new blog, Make-Ahead Meal Mom!

I've separated the content out onto two different sites to make it easier to find and easier to navigate.  Plus, it means I don't have to spam everyone with lots of posts that they may not be interested in.  ;)

Although, there will still be a little bit of cross-over.  I cook with food storage pretty much every day, even when making freezer meals!  It's just who I am now, and I couldn't do it any other way, even if I tried.  Nor would I want to.  ;)

What I'm Buying - Honeyville Spring Inventory Clearance

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
If you have a Honeyville Grain store near you, you are in luck!  They are having a Spring Inventory Clearance sale (in-store only) and the prices are fabulous!!

The sale is limited to stock on-hand, and a few of the things I wanted were already out when I got there, but there were still plenty of other great deals to be found.

Here's what I was able to pick up this morning:

  • (2) powdered butter, on sale 6.79 ea
  • (2) freeze dried colby cheese, on sale 12.29 ea (normally about $40/can)
  • (3) quick cook black beans, on sale 4.09 ea)
  • (4) freeze dried mozzarella cheese, on sale 11.89 ea (also normally about $40/can)
  • (4) chocolate soy milk, on sale 3.29 ea
  • (4) Irish Creme hot cocoa, on sale 1.09 ea (This is SO cheap! I should have gotten more...)
  • (1) jar powdered soy sauce, 5.90 (regular price)

Total: 125.05

Be watching for the cheese and the soy sauce powder in future posts - they will be going into some new meals in a jar recipes!

Make-Ahead Mix: Onion Soup Mix

Sunday, May 7, 2017
I have a few recipes in my standard rotation that call for packets of dry onion soup mix.  I used to keep the store-bought stuff around when I could find it on sale, but I have apparently been missing all of the sales lately, and awhile back I went to make a meal only to find I was completely out of onion soup mix!

I HATE being out of stuff.  I mean, I truly hate it!  It takes me back to the days when I had a grocery list a mile long and after spending $200 at Walmart each week, I would come home and still feel like we had nothing to eat, and within a few hours there was already new stuff being added to the next grocery list.

Because I can't seem to find this stuff on sale on a regular basis anymore (dear Albertson's, I miss you more than you could possibly imagine!), I've since started making my own.  And it is surprisingly easy to do!  Not to mention, it costs MUCH less than the store-bought versions, even on sale, and it only uses seven ingredients.

(Have you SEEN the list of ingredients on the box of the store-bought stuff??? I'm still questioning why my onion soup needs to have caramel coloring...)

Most of the ingredients you may already have on hand.

You'll need:

  • dry minced onion, sometimes labeled as onion flakes - I keep this stuff on hand at all times and to be honest, whenever a recipe calls for onions, this is almost always what I use because I generally do not keep fresh onions around.
  • beef bouillon - you can use powdered or granules.  You can even use bouillon cubes and just crush them before adding in to your mix.  
  • onion powder
  • black pepper
  • sugar
  • paprika
  • celery seed - you'll want to either grind your celery seeds (I keep a small coffee grinder around just for grinding spices) or place them on a cutting board and crush them carefully with the flat side of a knife, bottom of a glass or cup, etc.

Mix it all together and store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  When a recipe calls for a packet of dry onion soup mix, you can now just use your own homemade stuff!

Depending on how strong of a flavor you like, 2-4 tablespoons of the homemade mix is the equivalent of 1 store bought packet.

You can also try adding in a 1/4-1/2 tsp of garlic powder for a little extra flavor!

It only takes a few minutes to mix up and it is so handy to have on-hand!  Plus, you get to control the flavor by tweaking the recipe or the amount you use to fit your family's liking!!

print recipe

Onion Soup Mix
Make your own dry onion soup mix to use in recipes.
  • 3/4 cup dry minced onion
  • 1/3 cup beef bouillon (powder or granules)
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
1. Grind or crush celery seeds.2. Mix all ingredients together.3. Store in airtight container in cool, dry place.1 packet = 2-4 tablespoons of mix, depending on how strong of a taste you wantBe sure to shake or stir your mix before measuring it out for your recipe!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: equal to 4 1/2 packets

Freezer Meal - Breakfast Burritos

Monday, May 1, 2017
Here's another easy meal for your freezer - breakfast burritos!

My family loves these for an easy dinner, but you can use them for a fast breakfast on busy mornings, or even take them to work for lunch!

Freezer Meal - Breakfast Burritos

1 lb ground sausage, browned and drained
1 pkg frozen potatoes (shredded hash browns, southern hash browns or O'Brien style with onions and peppers)
3-4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack, or choose your favorite)
12-18 eggs, scrambled
12 flour tortillas

1. Lay tortillas on the counter.
2. Place spoonful of sausage in a line on each tortilla.  Keep your ingredients near the end of the tortilla (about 2 inches in from the bottom and sides).
3. Repeat step 2 with each additional ingredient.
4. Roll each tortilla.  Bring the bottom up over the ingredients, fold in the right side about 1.5-2 inches, then the left side the same, then continue rolling the middle.  (If you find that your sides start to pop out, try angling the sides in slightly when you fold them in, so the middle section of the tortilla gets narrower toward the top.
5. Wrap burritos in aluminum foil. Label a gallon-size freezer bag with contents, date and reheating instructions, then place your wrapped burritos in the bag, seal, and freeze.

To reheat: Bake at 400F for 40-50 minutes (from frozen), or 15-20 minutes (from thawed).  Or once thawed, remove foil, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave for 2-3 minutes for a fast meal.