Homemade mixes are very popular with Frugal Living readers, and understandably so. When you buy pre-packaged "convenience" mixes, you don't have any control over the additives and preservatives they contain. Creating your own homemade mixes lets you tailor the ingredients so you have some control over the quality and quantity. Many of the ingredients are already a staple in your pantry, so you can make a batch quickly and easily, and save some money, too.

Fajita mix
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons chicken or beef bouillon granules/powder
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour into small glass or plastic container; seal tightly. Shake to thoroughly mix ingredients. Store in a cool, dry place. Makes the equivalent of three packets of commercial fajita seasoning mix. Use 2 tablespoons (or more, depending on taste) for each batch of fajitas. -- Paws, Alabama

Italian dressing mix
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
2 tablespoons salt

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. To make Italian dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons dry mix. -- Nancy, Virginia

Bisquick mix
I've used this copycat recipe to make my own Bisquick for over 30 years. Use it in any recipe calling for Bisquick mix. I never add the sugar because I use the mix mostly for savory recipes and not much for desserts.

8 cups flour
1/3 cup baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
8 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 cup shortening

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar well, then cut in shortening with pastry blender until well-combined. Store in airtight container. Makes about 10 cups. -- Spirit Deer, Minnesota

Cornbread mix
4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients; mix well. Cut in the shortening until crumbly. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the freezer for up to six months. Give as a gift with serving instructions.
To serve: In a bowl, beat one egg. Add 1 cup of milk and mix well. Stir in 2-1/3 cups of cornbread mix until just moistened (the batter will be lumpy). Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 425 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread tests done. Cut into nine pieces. Makes 11-2/3 cups of mix (enough for five batches of cornbread). -- Kim, Florida

Cinnamon pancake mix
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2-1/4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients and place in a quart jar.
To make cinnamon pancakes: In medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup milk, 1 egg and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Whisk in 1-1/3 cups pancake mix until moistened but still a bit lumpy. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter onto a lightly oiled, heated griddle or frying pan. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
These are great pancakes. I freeze them and heat them up for quick breakfasts. -- M.H., Georgia

For a universal muffin mix recipe that serves as a base mix for more than 50 different flavor combinations, join the Frugal Village forums and visit frugalvillage.com/forums/breads-muffins/122787-universal-muffin-mix-recipe.html.

photo by mel b.