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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Simplify Meal Preparation for Difficult Days Ahead—Biscuit Mixes

Our mothers’ methods for simplifying meal prep meant convenience foods—packaged pie crusts, biscuit mixes, packages of Rice-a-Roni, macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper, and so on, not to mention TV dinners and frozen pizzas. 

 Oh, and cans of everything, but especially soups and chili. Even if we didn’t object to the additives, preservatives, and other mystery ingredients, after a while we simply won’t have the luxury of these items, time savers that they are. 

 Meal preparation in TEOTWAWKI Town is going to require a lot more time. Unfortunately, the new normal when society collapses means we will have a lot less spare time.

One of the ways we can save time in the kitchen is by making our own mixes. Magic Mix is probably the most frequently used mix in my kitchen. It is used in everything from Hamburger Helper and cream-of-whatever soup to cream pies and puddings. SOS Mix runs a close second, but isn’t used for desserts. They are both huge time savers for me.

Some of the first pre-packaged mixes sold in stores were for biscuits and pancakes. The main ingredient is flour, with just a little baking soda or baking powder, salt, and perhaps some vegetable oil mixed in. 

 The companies producing them easily made a significant profit. Of course, they also had to add in some preservatives or other stuff, things we don’t really want in our food. The trade-off is that our mixes won’t have the shelf-life of the store-bought stuff.

True confession time: I love Bisquick biscuits. I refuse to buy the mix, however. It’s probably been at least 20 years, but I still remember the taste. More true confessions: the Biscuit mix recipes below are not going to duplicate the taste of Bisquick biscuits.

So here we have two different recipes for biscuit mixes. The first includes butter and thus has a shorter shelf-life. The second utilizes more long-term food storage ingredients and has a longer shelf-life.

Biscuit Mix (adapted from Better Than Store-Bought, by Witty and Colchie)

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny pieces

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Seal and refrigerate for up to one month.


Scant 2 cups of Biscuit Mix (see above)

2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 475°F. Place the mix in a bowl and make a well in the center of the mix. Add the milk to the well and stir in quickly, working from the center out, just until all the dry mix is incorporated.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it out until it is about ½” thick. Cut out biscuits and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Place biscuits in oven and reduce heat to 425°F. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

To make shortcakes, follow the directions above with the following changes: Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the mix. Replace half of the milk with heavy cream (so 1/3 cup heavy cream, 1/3 cup milk), and add 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Quick Mix (from Make-a-Mix Cookery by Eliason, Harward, and Westover)

8 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups dry milk

2 ¼ cups vegetable shortening

Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles cornmeal in texture. Store in a large, airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use within 10-12 weeks.

Variation. Replace half of the flour with whole wheat flour. Increase baking powder to 2 tablespoons.

Drop Biscuits

3 cups Quick Mix (see above)

¾ cup milk or water

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine Quick Mix and milk or water in a medium bowl, stirring just until blended. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Yields about 12 large biscuits.

Rolled Biscuits

3 cups Quick Mix (see above)

2/3 cup milk or water

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine Quick Mix and milk or water in a medium bowl and blend well. Let stand 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough 10-15 times. Roll out to ½” thickness. Cut biscuits with cookie cutter or glass and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Yields about 12 biscuits.

Links to related posts:

Magic Mix


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