Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup Mix

Our daughter started preschool a couple weeks ago and now our whole family has that nasty 'back to school' cold that every family with kids gets every year at the end of September.

I like chicken noodle soup when I have a cold, but I feel too sick to make it from scratch, and canned soup has this gross aftertaste that lasts for hours. I need something easy, but with less chemicals than those little packets of instant soup. So I mix it up...

Chicken Noodle Soup Mix

1/2 cup uncooked pasta noodles
2 tablespoons dehydrated vegetable flakes
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon parsley

Combine mix with 3 cups of cold water in a small saucepan.

Simmer for about 20 minutes until noodles and vegetables are tender.

I had my soup with some crackers I found when foraging in the cupboards.

This soup was very good, almost as good as from scratch! You can make several batches of it and store them in ziploc bags for fast use when you're too sick to bother. Which is exactly what I'm going to do, we've got a long winter ahead with many many colds to come...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Waffle Mix

Last year on my birthday I wished for another baby. I got pregnant a week later. This year I wished for a rotating Belgian waffle maker. Once again my birthday wishes came true.

The past week has been a glorious celebration of waffles. I made a big container of waffle mix and whipped up all kinds of waffles whenever my heart desired, breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Waffles know no clocks.

Waffle Mix (big batch- makes 4-5 batches)

6 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

What else you'll need

1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

Combine 1 1/2 cups of mix with milk and oil and stir well. I had a little helper who was very excited about the prospect of waffles.

Pour the batter into the preheated waffle maker.

Cook until golden brown

Because of our egg intolerance, these waffles are egg free. It's a little known fact that many baked goods (especially waffles and pancakes) don't actually need eggs in them at all. I also omitted the powdered milk from this mix (unlike my pancake mix) to give people the freedom to use dairy free milks. We're currently using almond milk in our house, and it makes some lovely waffles.

Some of the variations I experimented with that had fabulous results...

As a healthy topping I blended defrosted frozen blueberries to make a sauce. It also works well with strawberries or raspberries.

As a dessert treat one night I wanted to make chocolate chip waffles- but we were out of chocolate chips. So I smashed up a bar of dark chocolate in a bag using a hammer and the results were amazing.

Another time I put the blueberries IN the waffles and then topped them with syrup. Delicious!

This mix means making waffles is so easy that we even have time for them in the morning before my daughter goes to preschool, despite how rushed we are. They are much cheaper and much tastier than boxed cereal!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beef Stroganoff Seasoning Mix

Although I'm not happy about the recent cold weather (I'm not a fan of winter coming up), I am excited to be using my slow cooker more often. Recent experiments in the kitchen have led to...

Beef Stroganoff Seasoning Mix

2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon thyme

I discovered that you can totally omit the beef bouillon cubes and replace them with a teaspoon of salt and still have the same taste- the beef itself has enough beef flavor!

What else you'll need

1 pound of stewing beef
1 cup water
1 package or can sliced mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
Cooked pasta noodles

Combine mix, mushrooms, water and beef and slow cook for 8-10 hours on low. Add in the sour cream near the end and stir well.

I served ours with mixed green salad and whole wheat rotini to make it a healthy meal. The beef cubes were so tender they melted in our mouths and everything got gobbled up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chocolate Milk Mix

I turned 35 today! I would be feeling old and depressed if I wasn't have such a lovely day and a lovely life lately.

We're lactose intolerant here, so we drink almond milk instead, which they sell in cases at Costco for half the price of the cartons at the grocery store. The problem is that my husband prefers chocolate milk, which isn't available at Costco. I was letting him buy the double priced cartons for a while, until he went and drank SIX of them in less than 48 hours. I knew I needed a better alternative, so...

Chocolate Milk Mix (big batch)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

I combined my mix in an empty peanut butter jar (this is a half batch) so I could easily mix and store it without making any extra dishes. Once all the ingredients are in the jar, just put on the lid and shake it to mix them up.

To make it smooth, combine the mix with a little bit of hot water and stir before adding the milk. I used 2 tablespoons of mix and 2 tablespoons of water, then mixed in 1 cup of plain, unsweetened almond milk. Any type of milk will work, but make sure it's unsweetened so you don't go into a sugar coma.

The finished result tasted EXACTLY like the store bought versions of chocolate milk, even to my super picky husband. I just saved myself a crapload of money. I'm also hoping that actually having to mix each glass himself will slow down his consumption a little.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baked Potato Topper Mix

Sorry I didn't post earlier this week, but we were camping at the beach! Everyone thought we were crazy to bring a baby camping, but it turns out babies are very very easy to camp with! They are easily amused, can be worn to the beach or on hikes in a carrier and also will stay put when you put them somewhere. It's our 3 year old that was trying to bust out of the tent at night.

One of my husbands favorite camping foods (ok one of his favorite foods all the time) are baked potatoes. We wrap them in tin foil and put them in the coals of the camp fire until they are nice and cooked.

I wanted an easily portable topping that we could bring along, so I created...

Baked Potato Topper Mix

1 tablespoon bacon bits
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine ingredients until evenly mixed and then spoon or sprinkle them on either plain potatoes or ones topped with butter, cheese, yogurt or sour cream.

He used sour cream on his for our first test run at home.

This turned out unbelievably delicious. The leftovers also make a great dip for veggies when mixed with sour cream, plain yogurt or mayonnaise, which is exactly what we did on our trip.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pesto Bread Dipping Oil Mix

I'm starving these days from nursing a very hungry baby and I'm craving lots of BREAD BREAD BREAD! The other day I bought a great big baguette and tried out another bread dipping oil to go with it.

Pesto Bread Dipping Oil Mix

1 tablespoon parmeasan
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/8 teaspoon oregano

You may notice some salt and pepper in the picture. I omitted them from the final recipe as they didn't taste right.

What else you'll need

1/4 cup olive oil
bread for dipping

Combine mix with oil and serve.

The leftovers also make a great base to stir fry pasta or veggies in. Bread oils make a great appetizer for parties. Or snack for someone wanting to eat a whole loaf of bread in one sitting...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Slow cooker Korean short ribs mix

It's September, and the days are slightly cooler. That means... slow cooking again! The other day we decided to take the girls out boating on the lake, and I knew that we would come home late and tired and tempted to order take out. So I filled up the crock pot before we left with...

Korean Short Ribs Mix

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried green onions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

What else you'll need

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup of water

Combine mix, soy sauce and water and stir well

Pour sauce over the ribs in the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours

After 10 hours the meat will be falling off the bone, so only cook for 8 if you want to gnaw off the meat. We had no choice because it took us 10 hours to get home.

I served our ribs with rice and that giant bag of Costco veggies we are trying to use up.

Delicious! Not as sweet as my honey garlic rib mix, but very tasty!