You can make these 5 easy kitchen staples from scratch for healthier alternatives to store bought. It doesn’t take much more time to make them from scratch and you’ll save money, while you gain peace of mind, knowing your family is eating a healthier option.
I asked Annemarie, the author of Conquering Your Kitchen to write a to you with some quick to make scratch recipes for a few easy staple items that you are probably still buying at the grocery store. You’ll love these staples from scratch and once you see how easy they are to make you’ll wonder why you didn’t try this sooner. But before I hand you over to Annemarie, let me tell you a bit about her.
Annemarie likes to make most of her family’s staples from scratch. She lives in the suburbs just outside of Boston with her husband and 2 children, ages 9 and 10. Annemarie blogs and also works part time as a grant writer, so she’s pretty busy.
Can you garden in Boston? Annemarie doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight at her home, so she’s limited in her gardening activities, but she is growing a small garden with raspberries, herbs, and a few experimental crops. She’s trying pumpkins this year, next to the raspberries. Most of her vegetables come from a farm share at a local CSA.
“It’s empowering to learn how to cook your own food. This skill puts you in charge of what you eat. You don’t need to make all your food from scratch, but it’s nice to know that you could make all your food from scratch. Nothing is out of reach.” Conquering Your Kitchen
I’ll never forget the day several years ago when I was flipping through a cookbook and I saw a recipe for homemade yogurt. “You can make homemade yogurt?” I thought. “Huh.”
It had never occurred to me that yogurt could come into my kitchen without a plastic carton around it. I looked around the grocery store and realized that a lot of the things I saw could be made at home. Whipped cream doesn’t have to come in a can, and taco seasoning wasn’t born in those little packets.
I was intrigued by the idea of homemade yogurt, and of course I had to try it. My first few attempts didn’t work so well, but eventually I got it. It’s actually very easy once you get the hang of it.
By making pantry staples from scratch, we can save lots of money. I make a batch of homemade yogurt every week now for my family, and it saves me over $250 a year. Making homemade food also saves us from the trouble of scouring long ingredient lists. When you put together your next grocery list, consider the question, “Could I make this at home?” You may be surprised by how often the answer is yes.
5 Easy and Fast Kitchen Staples From Scratch
The following easy recipes each take less than 10 minutes of hands on time to make.
Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium, but the vast majority of yogurt sold in the grocery store isn’t healthy. It’s full of so much sugar, and the good qualities of yogurt are cancelled out by the additives. A serving of a typical container of strawberry yogurt has more sugar than a Pop Tart, as well as artificial food coloring and other chemicals.
Making yogurt at home is simple. All you need are whole milk, a little yogurt, and time. Heat the milk to 180 degrees, then let the temperature drop to 115 degrees. Add a couple tablespoons of yogurt, then transfer the mixture to a cooler. Place a small pot of boiling water in the cooler to keep it warm, and close the cooler. Let the yogurt mixture sit in the cooler for 4 to 6 hours, then replace the pot of water with another batch of boiling water. After the yogurt sits in the cooler for another 4 to 6 hours, it should be done.
Visit How to Make Yogurt . You can strain it to make Greek yogurt, or leave it at the typical yogurt texture. Flavor your yogurt with a little maple syrup, fresh fruit, and/or vanilla extract.
Homemade Taco Seasoning
Homemade spice mixes are a great alternative to the store-bought packages with all their additives. One of the easiest things to make from scratch and keep in your pantry is homemade taco seasoning. In a small jar, combine the following seasonings:
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
You can use this to make tacos or chili, and you can add it to meat or soup for a nice flavor kick. Adjust the spices to make this your own, and store it in a little jar in your pantry.
Homemade Pancake Mix
My family loves to have pancakes for breakfast on Saturday mornings, but we’re not awake enough to think much or do any complicated cooking. That’s why we love to have homemade pancake mix on hand.
To make pancake mix, take a look at your favorite pancake recipe. Multiply the dry ingredients by 5 or 6, and mix them all together in an airtight storage container. Make a note on the container about how much mix you’ll need for a standard batch, as well as the wet ingredients. With this system, you’ll be able to whip up some pancakes in a flash, even before you’ve had your coffee.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
Store-bought pizza sauce typically contains unnecessary ingredients, and it can be a lot more expensive than the homemade version. Making pizza sauce at home couldn’t be simpler, so there’s no reason to buy it in a jar or can.
Start with a cup of plain tomato sauce, and add a little oregano, onion powder, salt, honey, and red wine vinegar. I start with ¼ teaspoon of each seasoning, then taste and add a little more as needed. You can also add crushed red pepper or other seasonings to adjust this sauce according to your tastes. Simmer on the stovetop for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce, and use it on pizza or calzones.
Homemade Whipped Cream
There’s no need to bring an aerosol can of whipped cream into your house. Whipped cream is one of the easiest things to make at home. Simply combine heavy cream with a little sugar or maple syrup and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to whip the cream on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Fresh whipped cream on a piece of pie is one of life’s simple pleasures.
You can find other easy homemade recipes in my book, Conquering Your Kitchen. It includes 80 delicious recipes, and they all take 30 minutes or less to prepare. It’s amazing how many things are simple to make from scratch.
Annemarie Rossi is the author of Conquering Your Kitchen and the creator of Real Food Real Deals. Her website provides recipes and tips to help families eat real food on a budget. Annemarie’s work has been featured in many places, including the Non-GMO Cookbook, Edible Boston magazine, Fox News Online, Babble, and Spry Living. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.