Two Christmases ago, my mother-in-law gave me the most useful cookbook for the frugal cook, Make-A-Mix by Karine Eliason, Nevada Haward and Madeline Westover. You can see the book on Amazon here and they have a website here, but it does not contain much information and has not been updated in a while. (This is my own review, I am not compensated in any way for any of the book or product reviews on this blog)
Do you ever buy those little packets of seasoning mix for spaghetti sauce, chili or tacos? I used to. Make-A-Mix has recipes for all of those, plus breadmaker mix, pancake and waffle mix, pinto beans, stir-fry sauce, salad dressings, brownies, muffins, slice and bake cookies, cornbread, meatballs, white sauce mix and pie crusts …and those are just the ones that I have tried. There are tons more recipes for mixes that I have yet to experiment with, like the onion soup mix and Spanish rice mix that are next on my list.
Some are dry mixes you can keep in the pantry, some are refrigerated and some are for the freezer. The cook book is great because it not only have the recipes for the mix itself, but recipes for how to use the mixes to make quick, convinient, delicious meals. Tonight we had Swedish Meatballs, a recipe that uses the White Sauce Mix and the Meatball Mix. I just added a few other ingredients, heated it all together and served over egg noodles.
So far, we have been pleased with everything we have tried. In fact, I prefer the slice and bake chocolate chip cookies to Nestle’s recipe that I have used for years, and of course it’s better than store bought dough in a tube! The pinto bean mix is the best pot of pinto beans I have ever had. And the stir-fry sauce is much tastier and cheaper to make than buying those little bottles of stir-fry sauce. Just add a bag of frozen stir fry veggies and any meat and serve over noodles or rice; we even do a vegetarian stir-fry with just noodles and veggies. I do tweak the recipes to my tastes, such as not adding nutmeg to the Swedish Meatballs sauce. I also do not add nutmeg or cinnamon to the muffin mix, but do add 1/2 tsp of vanilla when I use it to make blueberry muffins. (I’d love to share some of the mix recipes, but I have not asked the authors’ permission, and I value copyright).
Most of the recipes call for items I usually have in my pantry. There are a couple, like cake mix, that require vegetable shortening, which I do not have, and just have not added to my grocery list. I do like my recipe for homemade bread and sweet fluffy cornbread better than their mix recipes, but theirs were still good. In fact, I think I will post my favortie recipe for cornbread today too, just so no one goes away empty handed 🙂