Saturday, September 1, 2012

More Make-Ahead for Healthier Meals

Okay, fine ... I'm not just putting together some make-ahead stuff for health reasons (although that is a big factor. I believe that I've mentioned that I'm a firm believer in the fact that if it's homemade, it's almost automatically healthier than the store bought version?) Really, I'm most interested in preserving my own sanity. There. I've said it ... It really is rather self-serving. My classes have already begun. The kids are starting their classes next week, and I'm beginning work the week after. In addition to that, I'll be starting observations for my teaching levels any time now as well. That being said, the fewer trips to the store and the more prep work that's already done in order to put meals on the table, the more likely we are to avoid malnutrition and palate boredom.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to make some mixes to keep on hand. So far I've made a batch of tortilla mix and one of pancake mix. The base recipe is here. She has some darling labels that you can attach to your jar. Some day, I might print them out. I've found though that I'm perfectly content using a black sharpie marker to write what I want right on the container. (Cream of Soup is a good example of my stellar labeling skills. I know, you're jealous, right?)

For the tortilla mix, I did have to up the shortening amount. She had a half cup listed for the whole batch. I made a half batch and used about 1 1/4 cups of shortening to get the right texture. This amount was proportionally more in line with the tortilla recipes that I've made in the past. I haven't actually cooked with it yet, but I'm optimistic.

I decided that I really wanted to have at least some whole wheat flour in my pancakes, so I used three cups of freshly ground whole wheat flour and 5 cups of white flour. If we like it, and it's not too dense or dry, I may up the proportions to half and half. Since I've never tried the recipe before, I didn't want to make any really drastic changes.

In addition to the tortillas and pancakes, I decided that perhaps we needed some brownie mix. (Chocolate, lots of chocolate ... ) I used this recipe.

The only change that I made to the mix was to include four cups of whole wheat flour and five cups of all-purpose flour.  The initial bite was a bit startling -- simply because you can taste the wheat flour. It gives the brownie a hint of graham cracker flavor. After the first bite though, once I realized what that flavor was, it isn't distracting at all. (At the moment, I'm thinking that I'll reduce the whole wheat flour next time, but who knows? Perhaps, we'll be so used to it by then that we'll just leave it in. The other plus side is that the wheat flour makes the brownie feel more filling.)

Trust me when I say that this brownie mix makes a lot. Don't believe me?

Told ya ... (Yes, the bowl really is nearly as big as my 8 year old ... )

The brownies (of course we had to sample the chocolate first!) turned out to be exactly the texture that I was looking for. I subbed in coconut oil for the butter, just because ... They cooked up with a crispy, crackly crust and are chewy (almost gooey) on the inside. For us, this recipe is a definite keeper. I did only cook them for 27 minutes instead of the 30-35 minutes that the recipe called for, but they passed the toothpick test perfectly. This may just be the recipe that gets us through the girls' preteen and teenage years. ;)


Liss Moon said...

Oatmeal post: I've been doing "boring" oatmeal for years in the round Ziploc containers that hold 1 cup because then it measures my water too ;)

thanks for posting stuff like this, gives me recipes to try :)

Liss Moon said...

hmm...not sure my comment went through....
i was just saying thanks for posting stuff like this, gives me recipes to try.
also, i put my oatmeal in the small round ziploc containers that hold 1 cup, then they act as my measuring cup for water to microwave it with. :) not as compact as baggies, but more recyclable. :)

Rachelle Lee said...

Thanks for posting your recipes. I need to try them, I love making things homemade...they are always better. I just wanted to let you know that I made pancakes from scratch with one of my recipes and used half whole wheat and half white and it was wonderful. Let us know how your mix works out I would love to make it.

Ann said...

Thanks for the recipes. I just dropped one of my big housecleaning jobs so that I could be home more to take care of MY home and family. And I now will have the energy to make more from scratch meals. Can't wait to make some of these today.

Jaymie said...

Thanks for the tip, Liss! That is a good idea. :)

Jaymie said...

Rachelle, I'll let you know as we try them. :)

Jaymie said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ann! It's funny how life sometimes gets in the way of our own lives at home. :) We have those times more often than I care to admit.