Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Review: Make-A-Mix

The subtitle is "Over 300 Easy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day".  The authors are Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward, and Madeline Westover.

This book is not geared for using food storage in the mixes--it's written for ordinary people using ordinary ingredients.  So, for example, the Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix recipe does not include powdered shortening or butter powder or powdered eggs (although it does include buttermilk powder).

The book includes recipes for three kinds of mixes:  dry mixes, which use only dry ingredients and should keep for 6 to 8 months on the cupboard;  semi-dry mixes, which use shortening, butter, or margarine (but not powdered), and will keep for 10 to 12 weeks; and freezer-refrigerator mixes, which include perishable ingredients and need to be kept in the freezer or fridge.  And it includes several recipes for using each mix.

As you might expect, there are recipes for all kinds of quickbreads:  biscuits, brownies, corn bread, etc. 

But the freezer-refrigerator mixes include some you might not expect.  Let's look at the All-Purpose Ground-Meat Mix.  In contains 5 lb. lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken; 1 tablespoon salt; 2 cups chopped celery; 2 cups chopped onion; and 1 cup diced green pepper.  You brown the hamburger, then add the salt and veggies.  Then you cover and let it simmer until the veggies are tender.  The recipe says to ladle into six 2-cup freezer containers with tight-fitting lids (but you can use whatever size makes sense for you and your family).  And you freeze it (use within 3 months). 

This ground-meat mix is almost identical to how I begin making spaghetti sauce (except that I don't use 5 lb. of meat).  I never thought to make up a bunch of it and freeze it in portions.  How clever!

The book includes several recipes using this ground-meat mix:  Best-Ever Minestrone Soup, Dinner in a Pumpkin, Hearty Chowder, Saturday Stroganoff, and several others.

The book is organized with all the mixes first, divided into chapters for the dry & semi-dry mixes, freezer-refridgerator mixes, and special mixes, followed by chapters for the recipes. 

There are a lot of good recipes in this book.  Of course, if you have a lot of your own recipes, you could figure out how to make parts of them into mixes to make cooking them easier.  But the book does that for you.  And besides, every cook likes to get his or her hands on new recipes, right?

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the organization.  Looking at the mixes, then looking at the recipes for what I can make with the mixes, took a lot of flipping back and forth between pages.

By the way, the brownie mix is awesome.  I did find that when I made the brownies I needed to add some liquid.  But the brownies are very good.  And they give lots of options for topping the brownies.

All in all, this is a great book and I'm looking forward to trying more of the recipes.

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