Here are discovered kitchen shortcuts by Sol Vanzi that made her mornings easier for the entire family by cutting kitchen preparation time and reducing the amount of pots and pans that had to be washed after the kids were picked up by the school bus.
BISQUICK-LIKE MIX – In a big bowl, sift then mix thoroughly 6 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons baking powder and 1 tablespoon salt. Cut in 1 cup solid vegetable shortening, if available. Or substitute 1 cup vegetable oil. Mix well until crumbly and grainy. Store in airtight container in a cool place. This keeps in the refrigerator for several months.
PANCAKES IN MINUTES – Everyone loves pancakes, and they’re great for energy-packed breakfasts. The addition of meat, fruits or cheese makes for a complete, protein-rich meal. Using the Bisquick copycat mix, anyone can make a mountain of pancake in minutes with very little fuzz and few pots and pans to wash.
Mix together 2 cups mix, 3/4 cup milk and 2 well-beaten eggs. Cook in non-stick frying pan lightly brushed with melted butter or vegetable oil. Serve with maple syrup, jam or fruit preserves.
MUFFINS AND CUPCAKES – For breakfasts, snacks and school lunch box treats, homemade muffins and cupcakes are difficult to top. Using the basic mix, it takes but a few minutes to produce enough for the entire brood.
To 2 cups Bisquick, add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup milk and a well-beaten egg. Mix well and fill well greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake in a moderately hot oven (400 F) for 20 minutes. Produces 12 fluffy, high muffins or 24 small cupcakes.
For variety, stir in miniature chocolate chips to the batter, or mix cocoa powder with the dry ingredients at the start of the process. I have also made orange-flavored muffins by adding a few drops of orange essence to the batter.
For healthier muffins, stir in a couple of tablespoons wheat germ, bran and/or chopped nuts, or work in mashed ripe bananas for more fiber and potassium.
BEER-BATTERED FISH, CALAMARES – Coat fish and squid slices with extra dry mix. Set aside. Make a batter with 1 cup mix, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 beaten egg and 1/2 cup beer. Dip each coated seafood piece in batter, allowing excess batter to drip into bowl before dropping it into hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Transfer cooked pieces to paper-lined trays to drain excess oil. Serve with lemon or calamansi, chili-spiked vinegar, or Tartar Sauce.
EBI TEMPURA, CHICKEN FILLET – The recipe for beer-battered fish may also be used to make crispy boneless chicken strips.
Whole chicken legs or even drumsticks would be too thick to fry with a batter coating, which would, however, be great when frying chicken wing tips. Simply cut off the whole chicken wings at what is often referred to as the elbow, and reserve the bigger first joint for other purposes.
CRISPY DILIS AND GALUNGGONG – Wash whole anchovies, small scad (galunggong), herring (tamban) or sardines (salinyasi or turay) and dry well. Season with salt and pepper. Shake in a bag with dry mix.
Dip each coated fish in batter and drop into hot oil. Control the heat so that the fish do not brown too quickly.
Drain on paper towels, newsprint or bond paper. Serve with chili vinegar, lemon, calamansi or Tartar Sauce.