Call me naïve, but I never thought I used many convenience foods in America. I didn’t buy many frozen pizzas or boxed dinners and I certainly didn’t categorize salad dressings, sour cream, or canned beans in the camp of convenience foods. That mindset has changed. I live in a place where nearly everything (including milk) needs to be mixed up during the food prep process which has caused me to believe that a pound of raw, purchased ground beef is a convenience food. (I grind my own with a hand grinder.)


Hence my newfound love for mixes. With these in my possession, I feel like an American again. Well, almost. But anything done in advance and waiting for me in my pantry is one less step to worry about when I’m making a meal and am crunched for time.


Here are a few of my favorites:



Pancake Mix (I didn’t even use pancake mixes in the States, but I also didn’t have pancakes regularly on the breakfast roster in a place where I could buy boxed cereal for $1.49)


12 cups flour, whole wheat flour or buckwheat flour


¾ cup sugar


4 cups dry milk


2 T. salt


¾ cup baking powder


Mix well and store in a tight container. When ready to make pancakes beat together 1 egg, 1 cup water, and 2 T. cooking oil.

Stir in 1 ½ cups mix. When using ¼ cup batter per pancake, makes about 8 pancakes per 1 ½ cup mix.





8 cups flour


2 T. baking powder


2 tsp. salt


2 tsp. cream of tartar


1 tsp. baking soda


2 cups nonfat dry milk


2 cups shortening


Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture is consistently mealy.

Store at room temperature in a sealed container. (Can be refridgerated for longer shelf life.)


For biscuits: Use 1 cup mix with 1/3 cup water.


For pancakes: Beat 2 cups baking mix, 2 eggs, and 1 cup milk.


Note (to be taken as from a woman of sad experience): Make sure the container is very dry otherwise mold will grow.




Taco Seasoning


4 T. chili powder


3 ½ T. paprika


3 T. cumin


2 T. salt


2 T. onion powder


1 ½ T. garlic powder


¼ tsp. red pepper


Combine all ingredients; mix well. Store in a sealed container for up to 6 months. Makes 1 cup.

To use, mix 2 T. mix with 1 lb. ground beef and ½ cup water.




Italian Dressing

1/2 T garlic powder

1 T onion powder

2 T oregano

1 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp thyme

1 tsp basil

1 T parsley

2 T salt

Stir together. Two tablespoons equal 1 purchased package.

To make into Italian dressing: Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, 2 T water, 2 T dry mix. Blend well. Serve.



Ranch Dressing


2 T. onion flakes


2 tsp. onion powder


2 T. parsley


2 tsp. paprika


1 T. salt


2 tsp. pepper


1 T. garlic powder


Mix all together. Two tablespoons equals one purchased package.


For dressing: Mix 2 T. Ranch mix, 1 cup mayonnaise, and 1 cup buttermilk.


For dip: Mix 2 T. Ranch mix and 2 cups sour cream.


Do you have any mix recipes? How have you used mixes to streamline your cooking?


Meet Sara: My husband and I and our two children moved to Accra, Ghana in September 2015 to fill the Field Secretary position for our organization. As part of our job, our home is the pit stop for travellers passing through the capital. I cook for lots of guests, then, including midnight snacks for those arriving hungry from the airport, breakfasts-to-go for early morning departures, race-the-clock meals for those in a time crunch, and specialty meals to treat our missionaries who live simplistic lives in their posts. I love this part of our job and look forward to the guests pencilled in on our calendar.


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