We have a storm rolling in. The clouds already look ugly and the temperature is dropping. West of us are expecting blizzard conditions. Here we are looking at rain, sleet and snow starting this evening and continuing until Friday.
So this morning I made sure my dirty dishes were washed, dried and put away. My washer and dryer are running and will continue until my clothes basket is empty. Nothing worse than a sink full of dirty dishes and a basket full of dirty clothes if the power goes out. Several 5 gallon buckets are ready to fill from the bathtub before the water pressure goes away. Thankfully I have plenty of home canned food on the shelves that can be eaten right out of the jars if need be.
So in between washer loads I have been working on making more mixes. The following are ones that I use most often. I expect that many of you are already familiar with them, but here they are anyway.
Homemade Bisquick Mix
9 Cups flour
1 3/4 Cups instant dry milk
1/3 /cup baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 Cups shortening
Whisk together the first four ingredients, blending well. Add the shortening and cut it into the dry ingredients. You don't want to see any lumps of shortening. I use my hand held electric mixer for this step.
Store in an air tight container. Shortening is used because it doesn't need to be refrigerated. I make up several recipes at a time, keeping one in the cupboard to use and freezing the rest. If I am going to make a mess, I want to do it only once within several months. :)
To use: Combine 1 Cup of mix with 1/4 cup water for biscuits and dumplings. Bake at 400 degrees until lightly browned on top.
Admittedly, biscuits from scratch are better, but these work well when I want biscuits quickly or when I am making them to pour stew or gravy over.
Beef Gravy Mix
1 1/3 Cups dry milk
3/4 Cup flour
3 Tablespoons beef bouillon powder
1/8 teaspoon thyme or 1/8 teaspoon celery powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon sage or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
(Note: When this recipe and the next one call for choices, I put it all in.)
Mix well. To use: Whisk 1/2 cup of the mix into 1 Cup of cold water. Stir constantly over medium heat until slightly thick. 2-3 minutes.
Chicken Gravy Mix
1 2/3 Cups dry milk
3/4 Cup flour
3 Tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon pepper or 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or 1/8 teaspoon paprika
Directions are the same as for the Beef Gravy Mix.
I dehydrate lots of different vegetables including potato slices. I slice the potatoes thin using a mandolin slicer. The slices are blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes, cooled down in very cold water, drained and then spread out in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. I dry them at 135 degrees. The time varies according to the kind of potato and the weather, mostly humidity. I use the following recipe for using my dehydrated potatoes more than any other.
Scalloped Potato Basic Sauce
1/3 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon onion powder or 1 Tablespoon crushed dried onions
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Makes sauce for one recipe of scalloped potatoes.
To use: Place 3 Cups of the dehydrated potato slices in a medium sized casserole dish. Sprinkle with sauce mix and dot with 3 Tablespoons of butter. Stir in 3 Cups boiling water. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cubed ham or bacon bits or cheese can be added for flavor.
Note: I wasn't completely satisfied with the results from baking the scalloped potatoes in the oven, but find that they turn out well when cooked in a crock pot.
Stuffing in a Bag
3 Cups bread crumbs or small cubes
(Note: I make my own by slicing bread into small cubes and drying it on cookie sheets in a 200 degree oven.).
1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons dried celery slices or 1 Tablespoon celery powder
(Note: I found the celery pieces didn't rehydrate well. I used my little coffee grinder to turn dehydrated celery into powder, so I get the taste of celery but not the hard pieces.)
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage (I like more so I double the amount.)
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered chicken bouillon
Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag.
To use: Bring 1 1/2 Cups water to a boil with 1/4 Cup butter. Stir in contents of the bag. Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
I use many of my dehydrated vegetables for soup. To avoid having to haul out several bags of vegetables every time I want to make soup, I put several pint jars of soup mix together at one time, and then it is just a matter of grabbing a jar, dumping into a crock pot, adding 2 quarts of water and letting it cook all day. There are many recipes out there for soup. I tend to follow a basic formula:
2 Cups of vegetables
2 Tablespoons of either beef or chicken bouillon
Sometimes I use dehydrated mixed vegetables.
Sometimes I use just potato cubes, carrot cubes and celery pieces. (Celery rehydrates well in the crock pot.)
Sometimes I put together vegetables that appeal to me at the time, including dried onions and cabbage.
If I want a beefy vegetable soup, I add either dried tomatoes or a couple Tablespoons of tomato powder and a Tablespoon of beef bouillon.
If I want chicken flavored soup I skip the tomatoes and use chicken bouillon. A couple of bouillon cubes can be used instead of powdered bouillon.
If I want meat in the soup, I just add a pint of my home canned beef or chicken or pork cubes. Or maybe ham or turkey. Or whatever meat is leftover from supper the night before. The combinations are endless. And the soup is really good. Beats the heck out of soup that comes in a can.
I saw it had started to snow about an hour ago. That wasn't supposed to happen until tonight. My green fuzzy blanket is folded over the arm of my recliner. My Kindle is fully charged as is the battery in my laptop. I'm ready for you, Mother Nature. :)