Friday, January 8, 2010

Make-A-Mix Cookbook Helps Save Time and Money

Our Old Cookbook Review today will be great for those among us who have made New Year's resolutions to save money, but will be enjoyed equally by cooks who want to save time; time spent cooking, as well as, at the grocery store! It's a thin soft-cover book from my collection called, "How to Make Your Own Mixes: Make-A-Mix Cookery" by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover. It was originally published by Fisher Publishing in 1978 and the ISBN is 0-89586-007-4 for softcover, and o-89586-008-2 for the original hardcover copy.

I think that the original owner of my copy (I've never met a used cookbook that I didn't like!) used it often; it is an extra-flexible softcover book! I found this one at an estate sale of an elderly woman here in town. It is a wonderful source of recipes for basic "convenient" mixes that cooks use on a regular basis. This book puts the term, "convenience" in a whole new light, because you can have the ingredients already made into a mix, labeled, and stored in an air-tight container on your shelf, ready to go when you need them, at a fraction of the price of name-brand mixes.

This is an encyclopedia of a useful arsenal of goods for a well-stocked pantry-so important when you have a family, or even if you don't, and it's winter weather outside!
There are mix recipes for soup bases, cookie dough, bread mixes, dips, beverages, name it! The basic concept is to start with what they call, "master mixes" and then use the recipes provided that contain your master mixes that you've made-ahead and stored in your pantry.

Even if you're a very busy person, you could use a free Sunday afternoon or evening to stir up these handy mixes and stock your pantry. The recipes provided, that use the mixes, are simple and easy-to-follow. The categories that divide the master mixes are as follows: 'Quick Mix (makes over 30 basic recipes) includes Chicken Mix and Meatball Mix; Dry Mixes includes Hot Roll Mix, Pancake Mix and Pudding and Pie Mix; Semi-Dry Mixes contain vegetable shortening, butter or margarine (generally stay fresh for 10-12 weeks); and, Freezer-Refrigerator Mixes are moist and require cold storage in appropriate containers (keep about 3 months) include Braised Beef Cube Mix, Mexican Meat Mix and Moist Pie Crust Mix.'

I've chosen Taco Seasoning Mix on page 43 as our sample recipe today:

Taco Seasoning Mix Pg. 43

2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed dried red pepper
1/2 tsp instant minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until evenly distributed. Spoon mixture into a 6" square of aluminum foil and fold to make it air-tight. Label. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months. Makes 1 package (about 2 TBSP) Taco Seasoning Mix. To make additional packages, increase ingredient amounts proportionately.

Taco Filling

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 C water
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning Mix (see above)

Brown ground beef in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease. Add water and Taco Seasoning Mix. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes filling for 8-10 tacos.

I'll be at these swaps today:



  1. I make several mixes and not only is there the money savings but you can tweek them to your indiviual tastes. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I got this cookbook for my birthday. Since we are trying to cut out yucky stuff in our diets, making our own mixes is healthier and frugal!

  3. This site has TONS of great mixes!

    I'm doing a series on my blog called Scratch vs. Store Bought to see if different recipes are worth making from scratch. I'll add Taco seasoning as this week's post. Tacos are yummy and those seasoning packets add up!

  4. I actually have this book - have used it on and off for years. The meatballs are excellent! The Homemade biscuit mix is great too!

    Once while visiting relatives out of state, I spied a Volume II on their bookshelves. Had to glance through it, but honestly, I think the original had a better collection of recipes.

  5. This is exactly what I need while I'm writing. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention!

  6. I inherited my mother's copy. There is a second edition called More Make A Mix that is just as cool. I use the mixes several times a week and grew up on the mixes. They will have to pry these books from my hands to get them away from me. Love love love these books.