Homemade mixes, especially for soup and cookies, are popular gift items that are fairly inexpensive to make. The gift recipient appreciates this thoughtful gift and values the convenience.
Lowering the fat, sugar, salt, and calories in foods is often recommended as part of a healthy eating pattern. So, is raising the amount of fiber. Also, some people need to avoid certain additives and food allergens. All this is possible when you cook or bake from a mix that has been modified for these factors.
Once the ingredients are gathered into a mix – most of your work is done when you are ready to make the food. If making a single-use mix in a jar, such as for a batch of cookies, measure out ingredients into several jars at once.
For example, making soup is quick and easy with the Friendship Soup Mix, shown in the clock in this slide.
The savings may come from putting together a healthier mix than you might be able to purchase for a similar price, if it was available at all! Or, they might make a less expensive, but “priceless” gift, such as the Cranberry Oatmeal Cook Mix shown in the dollar signs in this slide. Where might you enjoy spending some extra money?
You probably have many of the ingredients on hand.
An easy and inexpensive way to decorate jars for gifts is to cover them with fabric. It takes about ¼ yard (9 inches). You can make about 4 jar coverings from that amount.
Check your kitchen for a lid or pie plate that you can use as a template for your circle or just secure a square of fabric on top of your jar and cut away the excess.
Use a liquid measuring cup for measuring fluids, such as water, oil, and milk. Place the cup on a flat surface and fill to the desired line. Unless your measuring cup is designed to be viewed from the top, such as the cup in the picture, view it from the side at eye level. Water will curve downward – view the bottom of the curve for measuring water. A dry measuring cup is used for larger amounts of dry ingredients, such as sugar and flour.
It is important to avoid packing ingredients, except for brown sugar, when measuring. To avoid measuring too much flour, stir the flour lightly before measuring.
Then spoon it into a dry measuring cup
Level the flour with a straight edge, such as a knife or spatula.
Choose wide-mouth containers, especially if the mix is scooped out of the container and used for making more than one recipe or if you must reach into the container to remove some of the ingredients.
For best results, replace no more than half the all-purpose white flour with whole wheat flour. Too much whole wheat flour in a recipe calling for all-purpose flour might result in a reduced volume and a heavier product.
Measuring spoons are used for measuring small amounts of ingredients, such as spices and powders. Fill the measuring spoon and level off with a straight edge. Some containers for dry ingredients, such as baking powder, may have a built-in edge for leveling. For liquids, fill the spoon to the edges with the liquid.
Avoid measuring into measuring spoons – especially when measuring liquids – directly over ingredients that have already been measured.
You don’t want such ingredients as baking powder or baking soda in a mix to expire before the mix is used.
There is no standard procedure to substitute oil for a solid shortening in baked products. While oil is 100% fat – butter, margarine and other solid shortenings are lower in fat on a volume for volume basis.Also, solid shortening helps incorporate air into the batter when it is whipped with other ingredients such as sugar and eggs. This procedure is often referred to in a recipe as "creaming." If you try to cream ingredients with oil, your baked product is likely to be more compact and oily in texture.Your most successful substitution occurs if your recipe calls for MELTED butter, in which case you can usually substitute an equal amount of oil.Your best bet is to check with the companies that make oil – most have toll-free numbers or addresses that you can contact for more information and recipes.Also, check your cookbooks, the library and the Internet for recipes that use oil.Substituting a “lighter-type” margarine or butter that is reduced in calories may make certain foods, such as cookies, flat and thin. They are higher in liquid content and can affect texture and flavor. NOTE: The only difference between salted and unsalted butter is that one has salt added to it – it can give recipes a more delicate flavor when you are baking recipes where butter is one of the main ingredients, such as butter cookies and pound cakes.
When adding bouillon granules, check the label to determine which brands are lower in sodium.
One possible modification instead of adding bouillon granules is to check the label on the bouillon container for how many teaspoons of bouillon are needed to reconstitute a cup of liquid.
Make quick work of measuring out muffins and small cookies with scoops.
When reconstituting mixes, look for low sodium add-ins if your goal is to lower sodium. This might be such foods as low sodium broth or low sodium tomato products.
Beans may cause problems with gas for some people. Following are some tips to help prevent this.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) make the following recommendations when cooking dried beans: There are two steps to cooking beans: soaking and cooking. Soaking beans allows the dried beans to absorb water, which begins to dissolve the starches that cause intestinal discomfort. While beans are soaking they are also double to tripling in their size. Cooking the beans makes them edible and digestible.Soaking Beans Note: Lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas do not need to be soaked. Pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled beans or any foreign matter. Rinse well.The three most common ways to soak beans as described by CDC …. “depending on how far in advance you plan and how much time you have ….” are:Traditional Slow Soak: In a stockpot, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water. Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.Hot Soak: In a stockpot, bring 10 cups water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Remove from the heat; cover tightly and set aside at room temperature 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse the beans.Quick Soak: In a stockpot, bring 10 cups water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil; let boil 2-3 minutes. Cover and set aside at room temperature 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.Some more bean pointers include:Do not add salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or juice, this will slow the cooking process. Instead, add these ingredients when the beans are just tender.Cooking times vary with the types of beans used but also may vary with their age.Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly.Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Fruit & Vegetable of the Month, retrieved October 24, 2011 at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/month/beans.html
Beano® contains a natural food enzyme that works with your body’s digestion to prevent gas before it starts.Beano® is available as a tablet and as a meltaway. Follow package directions – it is taken at the start of your meal. Adding Beano® to foods as they cook reduced its effectiveness and isn’t recommended.
Split peas and lentils may be cooked without presoaking.
Avoid letting soup set at room temperature for more than TWO hours.For best safety and quality, plan to eat refrigerated soup within 3 to 4 days or freeze it. Don't put a large pot of hot soup directly into your refrigerator. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it would take an 8-inch stock pot of steaming chicken soup 24 HOURS to cool to a safe temperature in your refrigerator. To be safe:To speed cooling, transfer soup to shallow containers, making sure soup is no more than TWO inches deep. Refrigerate promptly. You can place loosely covered foods in the refrigerator while still warm; cover when food is completely cooled. When serving soup a second time, reheat it until it's steaming hot throughout, at least 165 F.
Use "freezer" bags, not "storage" bags for storing food in the freezer. Freezer bags are thicker than storage bags and will keep the food fresh longer.
Cardboard cartons for cottage and cream cheese, ice cream and milk are not sufficiently moisture vapor resistant to be suitable for long term freezer storage, unless they are lined with a freezer bag or wrap. Flexible freezer bags and moisture-vapor resistant wrapping materials such as plastic freezer wrap, freezer paper and heavy-weight aluminum foil are suitable for dry packed products with little or no liquid. Bags and wraps work well for foods with irregular shapes. Bags can also be used for liquid packs.
Include such information as name of food; packaging date; number of servings or amount; additional helpful information, such as form of food (sliced, chopped, etc.); and any special ingredients. It may be easier to label the bags before you add the food.DO NOT cook the food in the freezer bag -- unless this process is approved by the maker of the freezer bag and by the microwave manufacturer. At the higher temperatures used in the microwave cooking process, it is possible for the plastic to reach melting temperatures. It may be possible to “defrost” in some bags that are not suitable for reheating; check manufacturer directions. Speed freezing and hasten thawing by freezing foods in a thin, flattened shape in freezer bags. A rounded shape takes longer to thaw through to the middle. Flatter packages also will stack better in your freezer.It is helpful to place filled freezer bags on a flat surface in your freezer, such as a metal pan.This is an especially good idea when freezing liquid foods, such as soups and stews.Do not stack freezer bags until frozen so they will freeze faster. After they are frozen solid, the bags may be stacked.
The seasonings are placed in a separate small self-closing sandwich bag on top as the beans will need a presoak treatment before they are added.
These make great gifts! One bride gave them to everyone in her wedding party!
The macaroni is added at the very end. Note how it is in a separate bag.
Soup recipes, especially those made with dry beans, and bakery recipes (cookies, muffins, biscuits, etc.) work especially good for making your own mixes.
Mix It Up - Food Mixes in a Jar
Mix It Up to Expand Your Holiday Gift-Giving Dollar Food Mixes in a Jar1
Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, RD, LRD Food and Nutrition Specialist North Dakota State University Extension Service Julie.Gardenfirstname.lastname@example.org Alice Henneman, MS, RD Extension Educator University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension email@example.com food.unl.edu Photos by Alice Henneman, unless labeled otherwise; photo of the Friendship Soup Mix (lower left) appearing several times throughout the presentation is by Kendra Otto.2 This is a peer-reviewed publication, November 2011
www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1494.pdf Use this handout to obtain recipes for the mixes mentioned in this program3
Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended of those not mentioned and no endorsement by North Dakota State University Extension Service and University of Nebraska– Lincoln Extension is implied for those mentioned.4
Definition of calories (noun)8 ~ Author unknown
Homemade mixes help you follow these MyPlate recommendations …9
Selected MyPlate messages Enjoy your food, but eat less Make at least half your grains whole grains Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower10 numbers
Making a mix from YOUR recipe Combine dry ingredients Blend in margarine Package in small bags dry items that need to be added in a separate step Add liquids when you’re ready to use70 Use within 3 months 70
In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington, DC 20250 or call (202) 720- 5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. County Commissions, North Dakota State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture ● NDSU is an equal opportunity Institution *********** Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture. Nebraska–Lincoln Extension educational programs abide with the nondiscrimination policies of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the United States Department of Agriculture.76