Make This: Quick mixes make school-day meals a piece of cake
by Deirdre Long
Sep 01, 2013 | 2200 views |  0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s back-to-school time, and that has me itching for some quick breakfasts and lunches to send to daycare with my kiddos. I’m a huge fan of make-ahead breakfasts, freezing the leftovers from a dozen muffins or a batch of pancakes — except we call them flapjacks at our house ’cause it’s so much more fun to say.

And though mixing up a batch of flapjack batter doesn’t really take that long, every second counts when you’re cooking breakfast, making chocolate milk, packing lunches, watching “Curious George,” checking emails and getting ready for work. And, of course, ingesting as much coffee has humanly possible.

And school lunches? Well, let’s just say it’s been a stale summer of PB&J, homemade Lunchables, PB&J, mac & cheese and PB&J — at least the PB and the J are homemade.

I’ve found speedy solutions with baking mixes, known in the grocery store as Bisquick and Jiffy Mix. But why would I buy mixes when I already have all the ingredients to make my own in my cabinet?

These mixes are easy to make and store in large amounts (works well for the Bisquick), and divided into smaller portions, like half a dozen cornbread muffins for the Jiffy Mix.

Using the mixes, I made Bacon Pancake Dippers and Mini Corndog Muffins. There were plenty of leftovers, so I just popped them in a freezer bag and use them as needed. They warm up quickly in the toaster oven or microwave.

⅔ cup flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix together dry ingredients in a quart zipper bag or other airtight container and shake. Write instructions for baking on container: Add 1 egg, ⅓ cup milk, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Make Jiffy Mix according to recipe (above). Slice a hot dog into pieces small enough to fit in the bottom of a mini muffin pan (I sliced pieces in half and lengthwise as well, to reduce the risk of choking). Cover hotdogs with Jiffy batter, filling each muffin well ⅔-¾ full. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on edges.

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
½ cup wheat germ or additional whole wheat flour (I used oat flour — see note below)
6 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (salted or unsalted), cold

Mix together flours, wheat germ, baking powder, sugar and salt. Quickly cut in butter using two knives — even easier is freezing the butter and using a cheese grater to slice it into small pieces (I used a grater attachment on my food processor and it worked fine). Add the butter to the flour in batches, tossing it around so the pieces don’t stick together. The texture should be crumbly, with the biggest pieces the size of small peas. Store in the refrigerator (for as long as the butter stays good), or in the freezer for longer storage. Use as needed for any Bisquick recipe.
Note: I made my own oat flour by pouring oats (not instant) into my food processor and cutting until it became a powder.

2 cups of Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
12 pieces of cooked, crispy bacon

Mix all ingredients except bacon and transfer to a container with a spout or an empty bottle (an old ketchup bottle works well). Pour a line of batter about the size of a piece of bacon onto a hot griddle. Place a piece of bacon on top of the line of batter, and pour a smaller amount of batter on top of the bacon. Continue cooking as you would any other pancake, but be extra careful when flipping — an extra-long or extra-wide spatula would be handy. Serve with maple syrup on the side for dipping.

Features Editor Deirdre Long: 256-294-4152. On Twitter @star_features.

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