Monday, March 23, 2015

Snow Day Biscuits: A Mixture of Thoughts

Today was a snow day for most of the schools in eastern MN and western WI--I'm sure the last one of the season.  At least I hope I'm sure of that!   Hmmm...the weather report doesn't sound promising for the next few days:  freezing rain, possibly more snow, and then MAYBE this mess will melt and we'll be into spring.

I work at a Christian elementary school and at the church as the administrative assistant; I've only worked there since late October 2014, and I loved it right from the start.   Of course, I work at home, too, as the supervisor of domestic operations.   It's a job I love and have enjoyed nearly every day of my (so far) 36+ years of marriage.

But today was a snow day, so I stayed home.   What a treat!  

I spent the whole morning puttering around the house tweaking things, putting up the last few wall things, and digging through the old trunk where all the doilies are laid out in lacy perfection.

And I just now finished making a batch of Quick Mix.  

Ready to make Quick Mix!
Dry ingredients & shortening
Cutting in the shortening

The mix is easy to make and much nicer than store-bought!     This is enough to fill a gallon jar.  

This is the frugal homemaker's version of Bisquick.   I've been using this mix for years (three decades!) to make quick biscuits for strawberry shortcakes and chicken & dumplings.  Dear daughter makes cheesy biscuits (the kind you get at Red Lobster!).  

These recipes come from the "Make A Mix" cookbook by HP Publishing, c1978.   I've found several of these large, old paperbacks at secondhand stores.   You can find them on-line, too.   


The only messy part is putting it in the jar!

8 1/2 C. flour
3 T. baking powder
1 T. salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C. powdered/dry milk
2 1/4 C. shortening

In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients OR dump dry ingredients in bowl and whip with a whisk to fluff it up.   Use a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbles.   Spoon into a large jar with a tight-fitting lid.   Makes about 13 cups dry mix.'s the BEST part.....the recipes that use the Quick Mix!



3 C. Quick Mix
3/4 C. milk or water

Preheat oven to 450; grease a baking sheet (drop biscuits only).  Combine mix and liquid; stir ONLY until liquid is blended -- do not over-stir.   *  Drop by large spoonfuls onto prepped pan--12 lumps.  Smooth the tops a bit so there aren't any pokey pieces sticking up (they burn).  Bake for about 10 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  

Cheesy Biscuits:   Add 1/2 C. grated sharp Cheddar.  
Dumplings:   Make as directed but drop the biscuits (carefully!) into a pot of boiling soup or stew -- cook 10 minutes UNcovered; then cover & cook 10 more minutes.
Citrus Biscuits:   Wash an orange and a lemon, then add the zest to the dry Quick Mix, replace part of the liquid with orange juice; then add the liquid to the dry ingreds and bake as usual.



3 C. Quick Mix
2/3 C. milk or water

Proceed as above to the *.  Let dough sit for five minutes (don't skip this step).   On a lightly floured countertop, knead dough about 15 times, then roll to 1/2-inch thickness.   Use a floured biscuit cutter to make 12 biscuits.   Place them on an UN-greased/buttered  pan; bake for 10-12 minutes (golden brown).

Cinnamon Biscuits:   brush rolled dough with butter, sprinkle with brown sugar & cinnamon.  Roll up, jelly-roll fashion, then slice into 1/2-inch slices.  Bake 10-15 minutes.  Glaze
Pizza Rolls:   Divide dough and make two "pizza" crusts.  Top with your fave pizza toppings.
Pot Pie:  Use as a top crust for your fave meat or chicken pot pie.



1 C. Quick Mix
1/4 C. cornmeal or flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C. milk

Preheat oven to 400; lightly grease a baking pan.   Combine Quick Mix, meal/flour and salt.  Add liquid to form a dough.   Knead about 12 times until dough is smooth.   Divide dough into 6-8 chunks; roll out and transfer to prepped baking sheet.   Bake about 15 minutes (longer if you like them brown & crispy).  



3 C. Quick Mix
2 T. sugar
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. milk or water
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400; set aside an UNbuttered baking pan.   Combine mix and sugar.  In a small bowl, combine liquids and egg.   Add to dry ingreds, stir with a fork until barely moistened.   On a floured countertop, knead 8-10 times then roll out to 1/2-inch thickness.  Use a 3-inch round cutter to make biscuits.   Bake for 10 minutes (golden brown).   Cool

Top with sliced strawberries (add about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for a really neat flavor!) or blue- or black- or raspberries that have been LIGHTLY macerated (that is very lightly mashed) with a few teaspoons of sugar.  Add a dollop of home-whipped & sweetened cream.  



oil for frying (start heating right away)
1 C. Quick Mix
1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C. milk or water (scant)

Heat oil to 375* in a deep skillet.  Combine dry ingredients.  Mix well, then add enough liquid to make a soft dough then knead it 10-12 times.   Divide into 8 balls, roll each out to about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut in half, then dip into hot oil.   Fry for 2-3 minutes until brown on both sides.  Drain on paper towels and serve IMMEDIATELY.   Great with homemade chili spooned over the top or for a different kind of taco salad (tear bread into bite-sized pieces, add lettuce and all the taco fixings you usually enjoy).  



I hope that hits the spot at dinner the way it does around here.  

Quick Mix for Frugal Homemakers

For just a few minutes' work, I've just made about six dinners or side-dishes (depending what I make).   I like making things from scratch.   And I like the feeling of thriftiness that comes from making things myself and experimenting with old recipes to give them a new twist.  

I think King Lemuel's mother would approve.   She told her son what kind of woman to marry in her famous description of a godly wife called "The Wife Of Noble Character" .... in these verses from Proverbs 31:

The wife of noble character .... 
 is like the merchant ships bringing her food from afar.
gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family....
sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks,
 sees that her trading is profitable; her lamp does not go out at night,
can laugh at the days to come ....
watches over the affairs of her household,
doesn't eat the bread of idleness.

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