Give me your savory / easy / efficient recipes, yearning to be baked.
October 7, 2019 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Baking is a particularly effective daily therapy to me. What savory recipes might replace my love of baking desserts from packaged mixes? Think the red-packaged Betty Crocker brownie and cookie mixes that only require a few staple additional ingredients (eggs / oil / butter / water). Satisfying, customizable, cheap, un-fussy, requires only a few staples on hand. For reasons, I really need to cut down on sugar. Are there similarly easy (less than ~10 ingredients) and quick (less than ~15 minute prep time) savory recipes that I could be baking instead?

I'm particularly looking to have a rotation of base recipes that can be infinitely customized. Bonus points for add-ins that are:

*pantry staples
*able to be frozen (or otherwise stored for a long time)

Ideas I have come up with on my own include savory egg muffins with different mix-ins, and savory cheddar biscuits with different mix-ins. What am I missing?

Other notes: I don't like cornbread unfortunately. I'd be open to desserts that are no sugar added.
posted by seemoorglass to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Soft pretzels? They even have a mix.
posted by Mchelly at 2:38 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Irish soda bread
posted by dum spiro spero at 2:47 PM on October 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I make savory bread pudding, in a zillion variations. You can use a half loaf of bread crumbled into 1” chunks, I save heels in the freezer for this purpose. Sautée onions and mushrooms, any odd veggie pieces you have. Toss that with your breadcrumbs in a casserole or Dutch oven. Mix up several eggs and maybe a cup of milk, pour over top, bake at 350 until it’s set. Can use thyme or sage to make it more like stuffing, add nuts, cheese, whatever. When it’s done I freeze lunch portions in waxed paper.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:57 PM on October 7, 2019 [10 favorites]

Buttermilk drop biscuits are quick & easy. I keep a canister of buttermilk powder in my fridge so that I can make them whenever I want. Add grated cheese, herbs, cayenne, etc. for added flavor.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1 cup buttermilk (I use powdered buttermilk, which is 4 TBSP powder + 1 cup water)

Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit.
Combine dry ingredients, including the buttermilk powder (if you are using it instead of liquid buttermilk).
Cut in butter.
Add liquid (either buttermilk or 1 cup water if you mixed buttermilk powder in with the dry ingredients).
Mix until combined.
Drop onto cookie sheet and bake until golden (about 10 min.)
This makes about 20 small drop biscuits.
posted by belladonna at 3:02 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Cheesy-mite scrolls! Easy and so good. Unroll the contents of a can of Pillsbury dough, give it a thin schmear of Vegemite, sprinkle with shredded cheddar, and roll it back up to bake.

(Thank you for the reminder!)
posted by headnsouth at 3:06 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Try cheese straws, this recipe from Smitten Kitchen is wonderful. You make everything in a food processor, roll out the dough (I suggest you roll it between two layers of parchment paper if you have it), cut into strips and bake. This is the thing that people request I bring to holiday parties and I always love making it.
posted by Miss Matheson at 3:11 PM on October 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: What about baking things like casseroles? Scalloped potatoes can be as easy as sliced potatoes, cream of something soup, cheese and corn flakes.

How about stuffing? Buy a box of Stovetop instead of your Betty Crocker and you can bake that. Who doesn't like stuffing? You can throw in nuts or dried fruit to mix things up.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:15 PM on October 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh biscuits -- if you're more of a mix person than a from-scratch person, the drop biscuit recipe on the side of the Bisquik box is one of the easiest things there is to make (it was one of the three things my dad knew how to cook) and so yummy.
posted by Mchelly at 3:19 PM on October 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

When I want to do this kind of baking, I search for recipes for "quick breads". I love banana breads and other quick things for my morning coffee.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 3:29 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Do you have room to keep a bowl of bread dough in the fridge? The base recipe for ‘Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day’ is super easy and very very customizable.
posted by bq at 3:29 PM on October 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Very much in the same vein as your egg muffins, the world of frittata has infinite variation starting with really just eggs, cream and cheese as staples.

If you are willing to do a little bit of prep ahead of time (like two minutes of mixing stuff either the night before or morning of if you want to bake in the evening), the world of no-knead bread has lots of choices. In particular, foccacia is great for pantry-stable add-ins. Foccacia can also be done in a relatively quick form. And from foccacia you're only one step away from pizza.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:37 PM on October 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I customize these 6-ingredient yogurt biscuits and they are always yummy and a big hit with my friends. Everything's pantry staples if yogurt counts as a staple for you.

I alter as follows:
1) Cut the baking powder to 2.5 tsp so I don't have baking powder taste in the final product.
1) Use just a pinch of salt. The recommended amount makes a very salty biscuit. This is definitely a personal preference thing.
2) I do NOT "knead until smooth". I just mix until it comes together enough to dump it out onto a surface and finish by squooshing it around with my hands until there aren't any obvious dry bits.
3) Nor do I "roll out to an inch thickness and cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter". What, me fuss with a rolling pin and a biscuit cutter, and then have to clean them? Hah! I pat into an inchish-thick rectangle and cut/rip into 8 squarish blobs.
4) Cook them about twice as long as recommended. They tend towards undercooked in the middle so I go well past "golden brown on top" (but not all the way to "burnt").

Additionally, I frequently use one or more of these customizations:
Add a packet of chopped feta or any other cheese
Add grated zucchini
Add any other grated or mashed vegetable
Add salsa verde
Add cumin or other spices
Change out some of the flour for something more interesting (e.g. rye or buckwheat)

When you add wet ingredients you'll have to increase the flour a bit. You're going for a slightly sticky dough.

I use any plain yogurt that doesn't have thickeners/emulsifiers because I don't trust their potential effect on the final product, but tbh I'm probably being too careful there.

After all those words it probably sounds complicated but I assure you that this recipe is forgiving, quick, and infinitely customizable. Enjoy!
posted by inexorably_forward at 3:37 PM on October 7, 2019 [13 favorites]

Depending on what it is you enjoy about baking, making pasta from scratch is very satisfying for the effort required.
posted by Lady Li at 4:20 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

required ingredients: flour, eggs, salt. Optional add-ons after cooking: herbs, sauces, veggies, meat, cheese..

The roll-out time might exceed your limit, especially if you're using a pin rather than a machine, but you could consider a spaetzle-type recipe if so.
posted by Lady Li at 4:23 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

A search term you can use to find an entire world of baked savoury meals is "hot dish" or even "hotdish." Y'know.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:48 PM on October 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Irish soda bread is super-simple - the basic recipe has nothing more than flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk (which you can cheat by splashing a little vinegar into plain milk). So I am going to jump straight to a way you can gild the lily - in one of her cookbooks, the Irish food writer Darina Allen has something called "West Cork Foccacia," which is just the dough for a standard-sized loaf of Irish soda bread pressed flat into a baking sheet, and then you sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and bake it. I'd go with the same oven temperature as the regular recipe calls for, and just keep an eye on it, calling it "done" when the flatbread-version of soda bread is a nice color and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:51 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

In terms of cheddar biscuits, it's almost sausage ball season! They're very easy and unhealthy and addicting (which is why I don't allow myself to eat them beyond the Thanksgiving - Jan 1 window), but they're also satisfying, freeze well, and obliterate hangovers. Ignore the rosemary in the recipe; sausage balls should not have rosemary. I find dried parsley kind of gross and recommend you omit that, too. And if you're using a properly sharp cheddar, then you can use it in place of the parmesan.

Also, I don't know if it would quite satisfy your baking habit, but arepas are delicious and making them can be kind of meditative.
posted by grandiloquiet at 5:39 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have recently gotten into sourdough and you might like that. It's not quick, but the hands on time is minimal. I bought my starter but I use the method from Foodbod.
posted by apricot at 6:27 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

There is an Irish soda bread recipe out there with cheddar and onion. I’m on my phone so it’s findable with an internet search. So! Yum!
posted by childofTethys at 7:28 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

this is also on the baked savory meals tip- this cookbook of "one pan wonders" is pretty great--Easy/healthy recipes for sheet pan suppers and the like, all out of the oven.
posted by wowenthusiast at 8:14 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

This bread. And this one. And this one. Between the three, they are endlessly customizable: pizza crust, caramel rolls, focaccia in endless flavors, endless swirly brioches -- cinnamon raisin, chocolate, garlic cheese, endless sourdoughs and yeasted cakes. Should keep you adequately busy for a long time.
posted by shadygrove at 8:18 PM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

In addition to the excellent no-knead bread suggestion, I had a SERIOUS beer bread baking phase.

Four pantry ingredients (if you drink beer). Fast. Customizable. Delicious.
posted by athirstforsalt at 8:22 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I liked the idea of cheese straws, but it would be even easier if you used store-bought puff pastry like this recipe. You could presumably also try adding different herbs and spices.
Basically the same thing but in a slightly more elaborate shape: cheese palmiers.

On the pre-made pastry theme, there must be different pies and tarts and pasties/empanadas… I don’t have any suggestions for particularly quick ones off the top of my head, though.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:08 AM on October 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Welsh cakes with currants are fast and easy - fried in a pan, takes 15 minutes to make a plateful.
posted by benzenedream at 12:15 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Take a round of camembert cheese, put it on a bigger round of pizza dough, stud the cheese with garlic, gather the dough at the top, making a parcel, bake on a lightly greased baking sheet in a medium oven until the pizza dough is golden, serve on a wooden board to your friends, who will fête you as a god.
posted by essexjan at 4:35 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pizza. Dough plus sauce plus cheese plus whatever.

Pizza dough is a very simple yeast dough. If you don't want to knead by hand, a stand mixer, or even a food processor(takes a minute or less, don't overdo), will do it for you at the cost of additional things to clean.

Or, there are multiple ways to avoid making the dough. Buy it fresh or refrigerated.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:19 AM on October 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Now, I know you've already listed cheddar biscuits, but I just made pumpkin cheddar biscuits and they really turned out pretty well.

I used black pepper instead of pumpkin pie spice on the theory that pumpkin pie spice plus cheese sounded a bit worrying and I used about half a cup of Aldi's champagne cheddar christmas cheese from last year which I had in the freezer.

Unless you like gummy biscuits, let these cool before eating. I mean, I had one while it was hot and I liked it, but I like gummy things.

My plan is actually to try these with sweet potato, a farmer's cheese and five spice powder (five spice is really good with squash and tubers). But in any case, I think you could skip the cheese and bake the pumpkin ones with chopped frozen spinach, for instance, so long as you squeezed it to get the liquid out.
posted by Frowner at 6:18 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you have a kitchen scale and Michael Ruhlman's Ratio, you have some easy, tasty savory baking ahead of you. Start with gougere, 3-1-2 biscuits, and popovers. Soon you will move on to pizza, focaccia, ciabatta, and other yeasted breads.
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:20 AM on October 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Quiche! If you buy the pie crusts pre-made it might not be enough work for you, but they're easy savory bake-able food and very flexible.

1) I assume a pie crust because I buy them at the store
2) Mix 3 eggs with 1 cup of milk, add cheese, meat, or vegetables to your taste (some vegetables are more fussy than others either because they won't cook completely without help - potatoes, mushrooms - and others because they have too much liquid without "sweating" - artichoke hearts; spinach can just be thrown in)
3) add some spices if you want (I usually use celery salt and paprika)
4) bake at 350 for 45-ish minutes
posted by Nec_variat_lux_fracta_colorem at 7:29 AM on October 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

This beer bread recipe from Gimme Some Oven is my husband's staple quick bread recipe. 6 ingredients, mix them up, throw it into the oven. And it tastes different depending on what beer you use, so it's infinitely changeable.
posted by telophase at 8:08 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all great, and I'd be open to more. I best of'd the ones that I think could go into heavy rotation. Cheers!
posted by seemoorglass at 10:20 AM on October 8, 2019

Best answer: I got this here on AskMe:

Lazy Quiche

four eggs, 1 cup Bisquick, 1 tablesppon of oil, salt & pepper to taste.

Mix it up, then add anything you'd put in a quiche that you like: veggies, mushrooms, meat. Bake at 350 degrees for a half hour or until a knife comes out clean.

You can also add fruit with cinnamon/other spices and sugar to taste.
posted by jgirl at 1:51 PM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I sometimes buy a roll of puff pastry and cut it into squares (the rolls I can get make 8 nice squares). I put in a tablespoon and a half of filling, which can be just cream cheese, cream cheese with stronger cheeses mixed in, or soft feta and blanched, drained and chopped spinach. Then fold the pastry squares and bake till golden, I look at the puff pastry package for oven temp and time. The spinach is my favorite, a bit like spanakopita but much easier. You can make it with frozen spinach, but make sure to drain it very well regardless.
Thinking about puff pastry, these are classic.
posted by mumimor at 5:32 AM on October 12, 2019

Also, this past year, I've been baking a loaf of bread every other day. It started with me reading the ingredient list on the supermarket baguette. I had thought it was a plain bread, but it wasn't at all. Here, artisanal bread is very expensive, so I had to find a solution. Then I found a youtube video of Julia Child baking baguettes, which is hilarious, and I spent several months trying to learn from it. At some point, my kids told me they weren't impressed and that they preferred a bigger loaf and whole wheat breads. However, those breads didn't work as well in the oven on their own, so I began baking them in a Dutch oven like with the no-knead breads. And after just a few trials, I am now a master bread baker, with people asking which fancy baker I bought them from.
I'm telling the story before the recipe because I don't really have a recipe, I've just trial-and-errored my way through.
But here is an approximate methodology:
In the morning, combine 2 cups of cold water and a little bit of yeast. Like a fifth of what you would usually use, or less. Mix well with a fork, then add a mix of AP and whole wheat flour till you reach a texture like a thick broth or a thin porridge. Lumpy is fine. Let it ferment for several hours until it forms large bubbles. I suggest at least six hours, it's fine if you leave it for longer.
When you get back to it, add a tablespoon of kosher salt, and your preferred combination of AP and whole wheat and knead till it is whole but still sticky. Some people like doing this by hand, I love my stand mixer. This should be a moist dough, not a wet one.
After an hour, flour your counter, and take out the dough onto the flour. Stretch and fold the dough like you learnt from the Julia video. Do that again after an other hour.
Now there are two options, depending on how you feel and the demand for bread in your house. You can take the dough and put it in a container and let it rest in the fridge overnight or even till next evening. Or you can go to the next step.
The next step (after another hour if you are doing it right away, or after an hour after taking it out of the fridge) is to stretch and fold again, and then shape your loaf. Turn on your oven to max with the Dutch oven inside, and let the dough rise while it heats up. When the oven is warm, score your loaf and throw it into the Dutch oven. Put on the lid, and bake till it begins to smell baked. Take off the lid, now your loaf should be golden and fragrant. Turn the heat a bit down and keep baking for another ten minutes or so. Take it out, turn it on to a wire rack and let it cool down for at least twenty minutes.
It looks like a complicated method, but look again and you'll realize that the actual time spent is minimal. The reward is maximal.

My picky kids don't like no-knead bread much, or sourdough. That's why I had to find a compromise. Now they are happy.
posted by mumimor at 10:20 AM on October 12, 2019

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