from the October 1985 "Drying Times"

by Barb Moody

What do Hamburger Helper, Soup Starter, Stove Top Dressing, Shake and Bake, and seasoning and sauce mixes all have in common? All are made from dried ingredients, all contain a variety of additives and preservatives, and all can be made more inexpensively at home using your own dried foods. In this fast paced world, pre-packaged food mixes provide a quick meal when time is short. Now, it is no longer necessary to sacrifice nutrition for convenience. Your dehydrator, a blender, and dry-food grinder are all you need to prepare good tasting, easy-to-fix meal mixes.

It is easy to make your own convenience foods. Make several mixes at one time. Many people like to set aside a few hours every month for make-ahead meal preparation. Here is all you do:

(1) Decide what you want to prepare and how many mixes of each one you plan to make.

(2) Assemble the needed ingredients, multiplying the quantities called for in each recipe by the number of mixes you are making.

(3) Using a separate plastic bag for each mix, divide the ingredients, doling out the proper amount for each bag. When all ingredients have been added, seal bag well.

(4) Label well. Include type of mix, ingredients and preparation directions. Seal mix and instructions in a second bag. Store as you would any dry food.

Range Top Dressing

Package 1:

Package 2:

Add the contents of Package 1 to 1-1/4 cups of water. Let stand 10 minutes then bring to a boil. Place contents of Package 2 in a saucepan. Pour boiling water over seasoned bread cubes. Toss gently until all the water is absorbed. Serve immediately or, for greater flavor, dot stuffing with butter and place under the broiler until browned.

Meat Loaf Mix

Add mix to 1 to 2 pounds lean ground meat. Add 1 egg (or 2 tablespoons powdered egg and 2 tablespoons water) and 1/2 cup water. Shape into a loaf. Bake at 350° about 45 minutes or until done.

Spanish Rice Mix

Package 1: 1 cup brown rice

Package 2:

Brown rice in 1 tablespoon oil. Add 3 cups water. Stir in rest of ingredients. Reduce heat. Cover tightly. Cook at low heat about one hour or until done. Makes four 1/2 cup servings.

Helping Hamburger

Brown 1/2 pound ground beef. Add 4 cups water and 1 package of Helping Hamburger. Simmer at low heat until noodles are fully reconstituted. Before serving, add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Serve as is or pour contents into casserole dish, top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

Toss 'N Bake Chicken

Dip chicken in beaten egg, evaporated milk, or melted butter. Place dipped chicken in breading mix. Toss lightly. Bake at 325° one hour or until done.