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So Quick With New Bisquick: Some Effort, Minimal Reward

hamburger pancake roll-ups

PancakesNKalePlatedIt’s time for another Recipes of the Damned treat! Well, “treat” may not be the correct word. So Quick With New Bisquick is a 1967 compendium of recipes using the boxed buttermilk baking mix. Offerings range from the obvious basics (pancakes, waffles, biscuits) to the predictable variations (coffee cakes, batters for deep-frying) to the distinctly unappetizing (short GratedCheddartuna pasties, hurry-up ham casserole).

I don’t really understand the appeal of the boxed baking mix. I sort of understand why people turn to cake mix; the balance of flour and leavening in cakes is a little tricky to achieve, and the mixes have been engineered to perform well within a broad range of preparation errors. But biscuits BrowningBeef2and even pancakes are far more forgiving of variation, and biscuits made with real buttermilk taste a lot better than those from a box. And saving time doesn’t really seem to be the issue; the bulk of your prep time for pancakes is spent cooking them on the griddle, not mixing them, and a boxed mix doesn’t change that.

I thought hamburger pancake BeefSourCreamMixtureroll-ups encapsulated a lot of what’s wrong with the recipes in this book. The casual supper consists of a ground beef and sour cream mixture, rolled inside pancakes; the rolls are then topped with shredded cheddar and baked. I thought this sounded truly perverse. I wasn’t perfectly accurate about that, but I wasn’t far off.

PancakeIngredsWhile Scott grated a cup of cheddar, I started to prepare the ground beef mixture, browning ground beef with a bit of minced onion (I was supposed to use dried onion flakes, but I didn’t have any, so I substituted an equivalent amount of minced fresh onion). When that was cooked through I poured off some of the rendered fat — not technically in the instructions, but PouringPancakeBatterthere was no way I was going to keep it all in the pan — and then mixed in a couple of tablespoons of Bisquick, one-third of a cup of ketchup, a tablespoon of mustard, half a teaspoon of salt, a generous grinding of black pepper (it was supposed to be 1/4 teaspoon but I couldn’t be bothered to measure), and a cup of sour cream. Scott stirred this as it simmered for about 7 PancakeInPan2minutes, while I worked on the kale and onions that were part of the accompanying dish (to be covered in a forthcoming post). Then we set it aside while I made the pancakes.

“Well, it doesn’t smell as good as it did before we added the sour cream,” I said, “but it doesn’t smell bad.”

PancakeWFilling“I have to agree,” said Scott.

The pancakes were simple but time-consuming: two cups of Bisquick, one egg, and one and two-thirds cups of milk. This is a slightly thinner mixture than you would usually use. I cooked them in a light smattering of canola oil, one at a time. Once I’d accumulated a few, Scott began to fill and roll them, placing a RolledPancakesInPancouple of tablespoons of the ground beef mixture in the center of each and then rolling it into a tube. Once all the pancakes were filled, rolled and arranged in a baking pan, he sprinkled the grated cheddar on top of them and put the pan into a 350-degree oven.

The filled pancakes didn’t taste all that bad, really. The pancakes PancakesPlusCheesewere satisfactory; I’ve recently made better pancakes from a mix (from Salish Lodge; Bisquick just can’t compete), but these were good enough. The beef filling wasn’t bad either, though it was awfully rich. The cheese went well with both of these elements. It was filling and fairly savory, but it wasn’t particularly exciting, and it seemed like minimal reward for the work that went into it. For the PancakesBaked2same amount of labor (with a bit more waiting time in the middle) you could roast a chicken; for less prep and work you could make hamburgers, or spaghetti and homemade meatballs.

Verdict: OK, but not worth the trouble. We’ll finish off the leftovers, but this will not be going into the repertoire.


  1. Sally says:

    “…and then mixed in a couple of tablespoons of Bisquick, one-third of a cup of ketchup, a tablespoon of mustard, half a teaspoon of salt, a generous grinding of black pepper (it was supposed to be 1/4 teaspoon but I couldn‚Äôt be bothered to measure), and a cup of sour cream.”

    Wait. What?

    You mixed the Bisquick in WITH the hamburger? The recipe asks for that?


    Sorry, Bisquick, you just lost me.

  2. […] I was deciding what to cook from the Bisquick cookbook, I knew we would need something green and leafy to accompany it. Something healthy, non-processed, […]

  3. Yes, a little Bisquick to help thicken the filling. Of course you could use flour or cornstarch for that purpose as well. But I suppose the Bisquick people didn’t want to remind people that they could use regular flour, because that might lead to measuring your own baking powder, or using fresh buttermilk, or giving women the vote.

  4. nico says:

    this sounds extremely appealing to the 10 year old nico. maybe the 29 year old one too. I’ll just experience it vicariously through you. Thanks Amy!

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