This week it’s time to Take Stock of the Convenience Foods in our pantries.

Convenience foods are prevalent in the modern family’s kitchen. As handy as they are to speed meal preparation, however, becoming reliant on them could be problematic.

There are several reasons being dependent on convenience foods can cause problems: 1) convenience foods come from the grocery store and, as we have learned over the past few years, the supply chain is not always reliable, 2) convenience foods generally have a limited storage life, 3) we lose (or never learn) the skills needed to cook from scratch, 4) these pre-packaged foods often have an overabundance of salt, sugar, and other undesirable additives.

The good news is many convenience foods can be “manufactured” in your own kitchen and with healthier ingredients. Making them yourself will cost less, too.

Review your pantry. What convenience foods do you find? You can make many of those yourself!

Are you ready to stop buying boxed cake mix, pancake/waffle mix, little boxes of stuffing mix, gravy mix, seasoning mixes, cream of soup, cookie mixes? There are websites and books that can help us learn how to make them yourself. A nice place to start is with the book Make-A-Mix (Eliason, Harward, Westover).

As an example, instead of buying something like this:

Make your own supply of pancake mix:


  • 2 cups dry buttermilk powder
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until evenly distributed. Pour into a 12-cup container with a tight-fitting lid. Seal container and label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months. This mix will make 7 batches of pancakes.

When you are ready for some pancakes, mix 1-1/2 cups of the mix, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 cup water together and cook as you usually do. Makes ten 4-inch pancakes.

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