10 Ingredients to Make From Scratch

10 Ingredients to Make From Scratch

Are you still using processed, pre-packed ingredients to make my "from-scratch" meals? Ditch them and make your own common ingredients from scratch!

Written by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

When I first started cooking from scratch, it didn’t seem too hard. I gathered my ingredients and followed the recipes. But then one day it hit me: I wasn’t buying processed, pre-packaged meals anymore, but I was using processed, pre-packed ingredients to make my “from-scratch” meals. And these ingredients were just as additive-laden as any other store-bought meal. Yikes!

I decided right then and there that, little by little, I’d start learning how to make each ingredient at home. And although it is more time consuming than buying everything at the store, making your own food leaves a huge impact on both your health AND your pocketbook!

Without further ado, here are 10 easy ingredients I’ve learned to make from scratch. And I guarantee you can do this, too!

cream of chicken soup
Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

1. Creamed Soups

When we first married, my husband and I lived in the Deep Southern state of Mississippi. Creamed soup casseroles ruled the dinner tables, and I baked one almost every night! When I discovered that the canned creamed soups I had been buying were laden with MSG, soy and other additives, I decided they were one of the first things to go.

I started making my own cream of chicken soup, with slight variations for cream of mushroom and cream of celery. I was so glad to start making my creamy lemon pepper chicken again! It’s really quite easy to make up any creamed soup your recipe calls for!

2. Applesauce

When I think of applesauce, I think of pure, apple-y goodness. But most store brands contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient, and the brands that don’t are far too pricey for my family’s budget. Not only do my girls enjoy eating applesauce by itself, but I use it in many baked goods, like Intentional by Grace’s Unbelievable Chocolate Applesauce Bars!

Making it at home won’t only better serve your health and budget, but you’ll also enjoy the sweet smell of warm apples wafting through your house! There are many methods to make it, but I use my crock pot!

3. Salsa

Although I’ve been making salsa off and on for several years, I have mostly bought it in clear jars at the store. All the chopping of onions and tomatoes and peppers seemed to take too long for my taste when I needed it for a recipe like enchiladas or chicken tortilla soup. Then, recently, I discovered Stacy’s pantry salsa from Stacy Makes Cents. Yes, it does use canned tomatoes, but sometimes we have to compromise. This method is quick, easy and oh-so-yummy!

Pantry Salsa
Pantry Salsa
Image used with permission by Stacy Makes Cents

4. Spice Mixes

Spice mixes can get very pricey, and they are so easy to make from home! All it usually takes it combining a few single spices, and you’re ready to go!

I make my own taco seasoning, pumpkin pie spice and garlic salt (just 3 parts salt to 1 part garlic powder!). When I get really brave, I want to try my hand at homemade lemon pepper! I store my spice mixes in repurposed baby food jars, making it easy for dipping in the different-sized measuring spoons.

5. Pie Crust

OK, I will admit. I don’t make pies often. Actually, I only make them around the holidays, and this past Thanksgiving was the first time I tried my hand at a homemade pie crust. (It had scared me for years!) Don’t be afraid to try this yourself. Diana from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa makes it so easy with her tutorial!

6. Pasta Sauce

This is a really easy one. I make a very simple pasta sauce with just tomatoes, garlic and a few spices in my crock pot. You can really make it as elaborate or basic as you prefer.

Chicken Stock
Chicken Broth
Image used with permission by Christian Mommy Blogger

7. Chicken Broth

You will not find a cheaper chicken broth anywhere… than in your own kitchen! I make mine in the crock pot, using bones I’ve salvaged from cooking whole chickens in the crock pot. After it cooks, I store my broth in glass jars in the freezer, leaving a little space at the top for expansion.

**Stephanie’s note: You won’t find a healthier chicken broth anywhere, either!

8. Bread Crumbs

From my hubby’s favorite “Almost”-Fried Chicken Tenders to my mom’s Cheesy Green Bean Casserole, I use bread crumbs fairly frequently. But, for a time, I stopped making my bread crumb dishes when I discovered the crumbs from the store contained some pretty nasty additives. I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy they are to make yourself! I will never, ever go back to bread crumbs from the store!

homemade bread crumbs
Homemade Bread Crumbs

9. Crescent Rolls

When my husband and I first married, one of his favorite desserts was apple dumplings. I used a basic recipe that used refrigerated crescent rolls, apples…and, get this, Mountain Dew!

When it hit me how unhealthy these were, I literally went years without making them.Then, one day, I decided to conquer my fears and try to make homemade crescent rolls–just to be able to make these apple dumplings again!They were a success on my very first try, and I even tweaked the dumpling recipe to make them with orange juice instead of the soft drink!

10. Powdered Sugar (sucanat)

When I started trading my refined white sugar for healthier sweeteners like honey and sucanat, I realized that I didn’t have an alternative for powdered sugar to make cake frostings and other desserts. Stephanie’s recipe for homemade powdered sucanat was such a relief! And it can’t be any easier. All you have to do is use your blender to grind the sweetener into a fine powder!

This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all kind of ingredients you can make at home. I have a long list of ingredients I still want to try–like homemade vanilla, homemade yogurt and homemade nut butter.

What are some homemade ingredients that you make from scratch?

Top photo by Bill Holsinger-Robinson

10 Ingredients to Make From Scratch

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  1. I regularly make bread, salsa, spaghetti/pizza sauce, pizza crust, granola, soups and meals from scratch. On occasion I will also make yogurt, hummus, pita, noodles and things like that. It really doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to do ‘from scratch’ once you the hand of it.

    1. You make a lot, Pam! That’s awesome! I still haven’t tried noodles, yogurt or pita bread!

  2. This post is perfect timing for me! I have been doing a great job making things from scratch, but the last few weeks when I had to buy several bottled sauces for my “from scratch” recipes I realized the same thing – I’m still using processed foods! Right now my goal is to try my hand at one or two new sauces or salad dressings a wekk, as I learn how to make them. So far, so good! It would be way too overwhelming to go completely scratch right now, I’m finding that making sauces is a lot harder when you have no idea what you’re actually doing. 🙂 However, I know that in a couple of months, I will be much more comfortable with this!

  3. I love this! My pantry has almost no pre-made sauces or spice mixes. Execpt for that blasted ranch dressing I always seem to have at least one dinner guest that turns their nose up at a home made vinegar and oil dressing.

    My in-laws come over and look for something to eat and tell me that there isn’t any food and I point out that there is! Healthy home made granola bars and fresh popcorn. Still after almost 7 years they are turned off by it and bring their own snacks along.

    Like what others have said, it doesn’t take that much longer to cook from scratch than out of a box. Hey if my Husband can make scratch Macaroni Cheese it must be possible.

    1. JennErin, this totally made me laugh! My parents and sister are the same way. For some reason, flax seed really freaks my sister out. My sister always says: “All you have is stuff like flax seed!” Yesterday my mom came over and I offered her a homemade granola bar, and she looked at it with much suspicion! She then said she is glad she didn’t try to nibble on the homemade deodorant I store in the fridge! LOL!

  4. I’ve made that apple dumpling recipe myself. Twice. And then banned it from my kitchen LOL! But it would be nice to make it again, but healthier. You’ve got a few I haven’t tried, but most of what you listed I have (and currently do). That makes me excited! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh, isn’t it yummy?! haha…But it’s BAD, BAD, BAD! I hope you like the orange-glazed version if you try it!

  5. Hi, would love to get this e-book! 🙂 Having a problem though, every time I click to buy, I get a “this combination doesn’t exist message” from e-junkie. Thanks for your help!

  6. I just made a red sauce yesterday and it got me excited to throw a few new recipes into the mix. Can’t wait to try them!

  7. I’m super excited about this. I am getting more and more into making things from scratch so it’s nice to have a little guide! Thank you!

  8. What a great list! I try to make everything from scratch…if you have these basic ingredients on hand, then making from scratch is even healthier (and truly more “from scratch”!) Thanks for sharing (and linking!) Erin!

    1. I have so much to learn from you, Nikki! You are a “from-scratch” Rock Star!! Love your slow cooker chicken…it makes the chicken much more moist than some other methods I’ve tried (now…if only raw chicken didn’t make me yack during pregnancy! haha!).

  9. I love using my own ingredients. It’s amazing how shopping becomes so easy when you cut down on the aisles you peruse and how the pantry is less cluttered.

    I make my own almond butter and yogourt. So easy and so good.

  10. I’m looking forward to trying out the creamed soup recipe – I’ve tried another, but wasn’t too happy with it – the consistency just wasn’t the same as the canned for recipes. I’m curious – what is the problem with canned tomatoes? I don’t think mine contain any “other” ingredients – and also, my pasta sauces in jars also don’t list any “bad” ingredients…??
    Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. I hope you like the soup, Jennifer! I use it in any recipe that calls for canned creamed soups! Just make sure you stir it on the stovetop until it starts to thicken. (But watch, so it doesn’t burn.)

      I feel fresh is always best, but the only semi-controversial thing about canned tomatoes would be BPA in the cans. But if you can your own (I have not yet branched into canning…but Stephanie is a pro!) there should be no problem at all!

      Pasta sauces are probably one of the safer items you can buy at the store, but most of them do contain either soybean or canola oil (or both!), which are both two major GMO crops in the U.S. I try to avoid GMOs. A lot of the jarred sauces also contain white sugar. I do still buy jarred pasta sauce in a pinch (which has been more often during my pregnancy!), but I look for brands that don’t contain these items, but they do tend to be quite a bit pricier in my area.

      Thanks for visiting! 🙂

      1. I’m looking forward to growing our own tomatoes this year, since that’s the one canned item I still consistently purchase. Gonna have to try the homemade pasta sauce…

        I could be wrong, but doesn’t the purchase of organic label pasta sauce negate the possibility of GMOs?

  11. I make just about everything from scratch. We have found that it is just as good (if not better) and sometimes easier than buying from the store. The only thing that I haven’t really found a solution for…Triscuits. My husband LOVES them. I have made numerous other crackers and he will still ask where the Triscuits are. Gotta love him!

  12. I make my own vanilla extract (just soak vanilla beans in some vodka or brandy) to avoid imitation extracts..
    I also make my own chai tea concentrate to avoid the $5/boxed tea flavored sugar water.
    And I’ve made homemade mascarpone cheese which, storebought, retails for about $11/pound.

    Once you get in the habit, you just do it without even thinking about it. Great post!

  13. I love this post! I have been making things from scratch for the last month and I love it. Currenty, I make our pasta noodles, soups, breads, tortillas, dressings, granola bars, muffins, taco shells, pie crusts and spice mixes. But, the salsa looks awesome, as does the powdered sugar! And I am just about out of my jar of chicken broth stuff, so that is going to happen next. Thanks so much for sharing all this!

  14. Thanks for all the great ideas! We have been making chicken broth for awhile now but haven’t come up with a good way to store it in the freezer. What kind of jars do you use?

    1. Hi Angie! I use canning jars or old jars from pasta sauce, peanut butter, etc. that I’ve bought at the store. I leave a little room at the top for expansion. It’s worked out great for us so far!

  15. From your list, I make salsa, applesauce, and broth from scratch. I also make tomato based sauces from scratch–although we don’t use them on pasta. I have done some of my own spice mixes, but not all of them. I definitely could improve in that area. The rest of the things you listed I don’t use in the first place.

    Other things I make from scratch include: mayo, salad dressings, bbq sauce, and kombucha. Generally speaking we don’t do grains–especially wheat–but on the rare occasions we do have bread, I make that from scratch, as well.

    As far as canned tomatoes are concerned, as of October 2011 Muir Glen canned tomatoes are BPA-free (and they are organic, as well).

  16. Great list! I do all of these things, except the apple sauce. I do make applesauce during apple season b/c the apples are really cheap then, but the rest of the year, I find jarred applesauce to be cheaper. I just buy the all natural brands with no added sugars or preservatives. OH, and I haven’t tried homemade powdered sugar yet, because i didn’t have a strong enough blender/food processor until recently, so we just did without except for birthday cakes. I’m excited to try making my own now!

  17. I have made just about everything from scratch at one time or another (only a slight exaggeration). Mostly, this was out of necessity. Over the last 29 years our fortunes have been more down than up and our budget dictated more economical methods. Interesting to think that we probably ate healthier when we were poorer…

    As more information has been published on healthier eating (such as Nourishing Traditions) I have kept at making most of our ingredients truly from scratch. The one thing I don’t do is really very silly… I don’t make my own Cream of ___ soups. This will have to be remedied.

  18. Thanks for sharing all these from scratch ingredients. Especially the creamed soup. I can relate to the creamed soup casseroles since I still live in Mississippi.

  19. Thank you! I grew up with a wise mama who taught me how to make everything from scratch. I couldn’t believe how many recipes I’ve received from my “healthy” friends that have “a can of this” or “a package of that”. So, thank you for posting this. I have had many friends ask me what I make from scratch and how-to make it. This will be an excellent resource.

    Note on Salsa… My husband goes through a quart or two a week. I stock up on Bionatura tomatoes when they’re on sale(bpa-free) and every so often we splurge on Pomi Tomatoes(chopped tomatoes in a cardboard type container) and we plant LOTS of tomatoes and freeze/can them. If you can’t plant tomatoes stock up at the Farmers Market in the summer.

    For my husbands breakfasts I’ve been making homemade english muffins w/cheese, bacon/ham and eggs(Mix up about 9 eggs with a little cream, salt, pepper, any fresh herbs you have and bake in a greased jumbo muffin tin at 350 until almost set). Wrap up them up in plastic wrap and freeze. I stick one in the fridge every night and in the morning he sticks it in the toaster oven first thing at 250. He wraps it in a napkin and eats it on his way to work. For lunches I make a lot of “pocket-type” things… Empanadas, Calzones, Knishes, ect… For snacks we’ve fallen in love with toasted seaweed which is super easy(google it) and very nutritious. My husband hated seaweed until he tried this. I’ll also make popcorn and bag it for lunches/snacks. Granola Bars and homemade flavored yogurt(I just blend homemade yogurt with honey and fruit) are also good lunchbox fillers.

    And to open another subject… Beverages…My family has always made their own beer/wine/liquors and going into vinegars. We make our own Water and Milk Kefir, Whey-based drinks, smoothies from raw milk….Lemonades, Juices… Who needs soda?

    Also, we buy ground pork from local farmers and make our own sausage. We love to go backpacking, so I make meals and dehydrate them… Once you start making things from scratch it’s almost addicting to see what else you can make from scratch! So, I won’t even go into non-food items:D

    It’s daunting to think of making everything from scratch, but if you’re beginning I always tell people to “google it”

    Thanks again for this article!

  20. This was a great list. Though I do a few of these already, it was great to see a variety of ways to do them, and to find a few new tips is always welcome. We make homemade yogurt and ice cream, vanilla (which is super easy!) and of course, during tomato season we do salsa, sauces, tomato soup and just plain canned tomatoes. Also, apple sauce and a variety of other fruit sauces and fruit roll ups for the kids. I find that it is all about the preparation. Thanks!

  21. As a mother with 4 children who all have at least 1 food allergy apiece I have HAD to learn how to make things from scratch just to avoid all the chemicals and triggers in a lot of food and sauces. I make everything from yogurt, and pasta, bread and tortillas, ketchup, BBQ sauce, marshmallows, salsa, breakfast cereal and granola, we make tooth paste and soap from scratch too, I am a huge fan of crock-pot cooking, just about anything my kids can come up with we will at least attempt to make.
    It hasn’t been easy, but it is so worth it. My husband and I have struggled with our weight for years. And eating pretty much all homemade food our blood sugars have evened out, our cholesterol levels have dropped and we are both down a few pants sizes.

  22. Mayonaise! (With Sunflower oil) That is my new from scratch ingredient and there is NO COMPARISON to the store bought garbage. Really, it is not that hard once I stopped being intimidated by it. And the bonus is that my daughters will grow up knowing how easy and rewarding it is just to do it yourself. It will be their way of life. That makes it even more worth it for me.

  23. Thanks for the list! Necessity (none in the cupboard) forced me to learn home-made cream of chicken soup, and now that I do that, I’ve never bought a can since. It’s so much better and hardly takes any time! Same with pie crust.

    Applesauce… I tried that once and never will again. After hours and hours and HOURS in my kitchen, I wound up with a few jars of not-so-good applesauce that I could have bought for less than $10.00 My time is worth more than $2/hour! And yes, I can buy unsweetened, natural applesauce with no ingredients other than apples and citric acid at every grocery store around here (tiny down, mid-OH). Even Save-a-Lot around the corner has jars for under $1.50. The store brands have their own, and it’s the same price as the corn-syrup stuff (which I NEVER buy).

    Salsa, I make in the fall from my garden and can it. On that, several hours worth of work results in $80 worth of salsa. (I used Annie’s salsa…recipe online…which is safety-approved for canning… otherwise salsa can be dangerous to can.)

    Gotta try the mayo and BBQ that some of you mentioned… I don’t like the corn syrup in that, though we don’t eat much. And the bread crumbs.

    Chicken broth, now… I have tried this a number of times, and I can’t seem to wind up with a good end result! And everyone says it’s so easy! I’ve followed video tutorials and everything. Maybe one day I’ll get it.

    1. I’m curious about how you made your applesauce that it took so long??

      All I do is cut the apples into quarters and core them (don’t peel), then toss into a large pot with an inch or so of water. Let cook until soft – about 20 minutes. Scoop into a food mill (mine is a foley food mill, I believe) and turn the handle (the kids can do this). It only takes *maybe* 10 minutes to process it.

      In 30 minutes tops, I have a good size batch of apple sauce cooling to go in the freezer.

      I lucked out recently and bought 36 lbs of apples for $10 at our local farmers market… Made lots of apple sauce that week!

  24. I make my own ketchup, cream soups, broths, pasta sauces, ranch dressing, spice mixes, and purpose to find recipes with natural ingredients not canned or packaged. The ranch dressing recipe from AllRecipes is great! I did have to run it through the blender for my kids to smooth out the consistency. But so far my family doesn’t hardly notice the difference! It is extra work and takes a little more planning but I think it’s worth it and it does save money! I also make my own cleaners, detergents, shaving cream, soaps, etc. My latest endeavor is trying to phase out using the microwave. I had no idea how bad it was for you, but of course when you stop and think about it, it’s no surprise.

  25. Love this post, thanks! I make homemade ranch dressing, meat rubs, crackers, protein bars, pizza sauce and crust – yum!

    1. Thanks, Bek! I have yet to make homemade crackers…it’s on my “list,” but my girls are now gluten free, so I’m going to have to figure out a good GF cracker recipe! Someone on down in the comments mentioned she hasn’t been able to make a good Ranch dressing yet. Maybe you can give her your recipe?

  26. I,too, make my own pasta sauce – always have on that even before I went to whole food eating. Now I also make my own mayo from olive oil and coconut oil or walnut oil (recipe on my blog) and I press my own garlic and grate my own ginger instead of using dry powders (although I do keep some for back up.) I’m looking for mixes for making my own salad dressings. I currently do make my own, but it would be nice to have mixes made up to just add to the oil and vinegar.

  27. Interesting topic. Some of these I make, some I don’t. But I have found that around here, while it is healthier, it is often not cheaper to make your version of a lot of these things. As another person mentioned, I can buy natural applesauce for a lot cheaper than I can make it. Same for salsa – I can buy organic salsa at Costco for cheaper than I could buy organic tomatoes and make it.

      1. It really is most economical to grow your own tomatoes, and so easy. We live on a 4 acre homestead now that my husband is retired from the Navy, But even when we lived in Gov. Quarters I would grow tomatoes, cukes and peppers in with my flowers in the front flower beds or in containers on the back patio. We buy very little from the store these days, Thank you for all the make at home Idea’s. I make everything we eat now and these idea’s give us more options.

  28. I’ve made homemade applesauce when we’ve gotten them for $16 a bushel. I only core and slice them (I don’t peel them) and then cook them in a pot with a little water, sometimes a little sweetener if the apples aren’t that sweet. I stew them until they are soft. Then you can use a food mill to finish off the skins. Then I freeze it. Delicious! and easy.
    I also make our own brown sugar if we’ve run out. Mix molasses and organic sugar.
    I’m allergic to corn so I’ve been doing things from scratch for a while. Kind of a beneficial allergy when you think of it.

    1. I think applesauce is easy, too! My daughter is intolerant (actually, I think they both are…but just my oldest was tested) to wheat, rye, barley, egg and dairy, so this past year I’ve definitely had to make more at home out of necessity!

  29. Mayonaise, ketchup, chicken stock, yogurt, pie crust, flavored oatmeal “packets” (ziploc sandwich bag) for camping trip, …I’m willing to try and cook anything. And if I do use something like canned tomatoes, or salsa, I will READ the ingredients. If it contains sugar or HFCS or MSG…or any sort of starch, it stays at the store.

  30. I make my own cream soups (yes, they are easy!), chicken broth, spice mixes, and pasta sauce. I have tried pie crusts, but haven’t conquered them yet. I’m going to check out the crescent roll recipe for sure; I’d love to be able to make those myself!

    1. I hope you like the crescent rolls…and try out Diana’s pie crust (the one I linked to in the words “Pie Crust”). Her tutorial made it way easier than I ever imagined!

      1. Love this post! I already make some of these myself, but you’ve inspired me to try making my own seasonings and creamed soups. You’re right, cream of mush. soup is a staple here in the south!

        I’ve definitely done homemade applesauce before, when I was making babyfood for my first child (I did Baby-Led Weaning with the second), but it really is not cost effective, at least with the cost of apples here. And if you’re using organic apples, then it gets even more pricey. But Sara is right about the jarred stuff without sugar. Even buying organic, it’s cheaper and just as healthy to buy the sugar free apple sauce at the store, and a quick glance at the ingredients shows you’re making a smart purchase.

        For me, the best source of real vanilla is to either go on a mission trip south of the border, or get someone to bring it back for you. My real vanilla is made at an orphanage in Honduras, and all the money goes right back to the orphanage or their local outreach ministry.

        1. I’ve heard about that “South of the Border” vanilla! I hope I can get some one day! Hope you enjoy the creamed soups!

  31. Nearly every brand of applesauce in the US makes a no sugar added variety, including store brands. If you are wanting organic etc… or have an apple surplus it might be cheaper to make your own. I’m not sure because I have never run the numbers. Applesauce is a “time is money” one for me.

    If you have access to a warehouse store (costco/sams) the real vanilla extract is pretty cheap there.

    1. I prefer organic when it comes to apples since they are #1 on the dirty dozen list, but I will have to check out the no-sugar brands for when I’m in a pinch! Thanks, Sara! 🙂

      I get my real vanilla now at BJ’s–very similar to Sam’s!

  32. I was a stay at home mom, surviving on one income through the years. My mom made most things from scratch and had always inspired me to do the same. I would add more and more things through the years and now basically make everything I can from scratch. From mayo and hot pepper mustard, sauces, including bbq, guacamole, sorbets, fruit ice milk, pastry doughs, spice mixes, granolas and granola bars, biscotti, donuts, breads and pasta’s both regular and gluten free, homemade raviolio, pirogies, pizza doughs both regular and gluten free, salad dressings, we grow an 8000 sq ft garden, we try to grow all of our veggies and herbs, what we can’t grow we buy from local Amish to can or freeze to preserve through the winter. I have made my own relishes for many years now. I make a variety of pickles including pickled veggies like dilly beans, cauliflower carrot mix, banana peppers, etc. I can tomatoes in a variety of ways including V8 juice. I make all our soups from home grown potatoes, creamy tomato, asparagus, cushaw/butternut, etc. I love baking breads and am experimenting more and more with gluten free breads. This fall we will try a hand at sauerkraut. We like to make our own beer, wine, liquors as well. I just made vanilla for xmas gifts. I believe that we must try to make as much as one can, there are too many recalls, too many pesticides and chemicals being used on our foods these days. If you can’t grow a garden because of location, space or such, containers work well, or try to purchase from a local farmers market, freeze it, can it or dry it and make it yourself. A great way to make homemade applesauce I like to peel them, cut them, remove seeds, and put them in my big roaster with just a tad of water, bake them with lid on medium oven for a couple hours. You know they are done when they are easy to mash with a potato masher. If you are not a canner, then let them cool, and freeze in freeze quality zip loc bags. 🙂

    1. You sound like you had a great mom to teach you how to make those things! That is a very extensive list! Thanks for sharing!

  33. I just recently started making salsa from scratch and we like it better than store bought! I’ve been using the Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe and we all love it.

  34. ps. when making your own salsa – try tomatillos!!! Nothing says awesome like some homemade salsa verde!!! 🙂

  35. This is so timely…I’ve been slowly replacing store-bought with not only home-made but homegrown. Today I needed a packet of Ranch Dressing mix for a soup I was making and finally looked up a recipe…it was so easy! The cool thing is I was able to use parsley and dill grown in my garden last summer.

    So far I make my own jam, Maple Syrup, chicken stock, applesauce, italian seasoning, sweet potato fries seasoning, hot cocoa, chocolate syrup, ketchup, pickles, elderberry syrup, chapstick, cough syrup, winter chest rub and probably a few others I can’t remember right now.

    I’ve really been enjoying learning to make things with ingredients I know, and am looking forward to trying your cream soups…there’s a few of those old favorite recipes out there that could make their way back to our dinner table now.

    1. You make a ton at home! It is so neat that the herbs for the Ranch come straight from your garden! Hope you enjoy the creamed soups!

    1. Looks like you have a great list, Ashley! I bet some of the ladies in the comments would love to try your never-fail pie crust!

  36. Thank you so much for this! Just the other day I told my husband I am not going to buy anything boxed or canned if I can make it on my own. I wanted to make chicken and dumplings tomorrow but dreaded opening cream of mushroom soup! I was so happy to find this post in my email this morning! Thank you so much for all you post!! It has been a blessing to my family!!

    1. This makes me smile, Elizabeth! I know exactly how you feel! I hope you enjoy your dumplings now with your homemade cream of mushroom soup!! 🙂

  37. I haven’t made a successful salsa yet, but I’ll give the recipe you linked to a try. Wish me luck!

    1. I hope you find it as good as I did! It really was super easy! I need easy! LOL! 🙂

  38. I love making things from scratch!! I think the only thing I haven’t attempted on that list is crescent rolls, but pie crust usually works for those recipes that I might have used them for in the past. Nobody mentioned pepperoni, so I thought I share a link for that: http://tammysrecipes.com/tammys_spicy_pepperoni I double this recipe, cool it, slice it, and store it in the freezer. It last us a few months that way. Someday I’ll work up the courage to try to make cheese and then my pizza will be completely home made!!

    1. I would have never thought to make pepperoni! Thanks for sharing! I need to work up the courage to make cheese, too!

  39. Cultured buttermilk, sour cream, quark. Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, breads and dinner rolls, salsa, spaghetti sauce, pizza crust, soups …

    A little girl who was with me today said that she had never seen things I am making (I was making sauerkraut).

  40. Aside from being cost efficient, I find cooking very fulfilling. I am impressed with your food selection. I can imagine how fun it was making each one. I am grateful or the list as well, now I have a lot of recipes to practice on.

  41. i make almost everything from scratch! i do use canned tomatoes in the off season though – haven’t had a big enough harvest from my small backyard garden to can my own yet.

    i haven’t tried the homemade powdered sugar yet, but now you have me all inspired! i hate that i have the real powdered sugar in my cupboard, but i didn’t know what else to do!

  42. These are terrific. I’ve been looking for similar things. Hope to see more of this sort of thing in the future. Can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

  43. Terrific post, Erin! Really excellent! We too make these things from scratch and then “scratch” our heads wondering why we ever bought, for example, bread crumbs or taco seasoning! 🙂 I mean, seriously, we paid money for crumbs?!!!

    We’re waiting with baited breath for a recipe for your apple dumplings. I never heard of making them with crescents. We use pie crust. Yours sound delicious!

    Readers, do try her crockpot applesauce! It’s excellent and couldn’t be simpler!

  44. Oh I love your tip on powdered sugar….I have been wanting an alternative to this for ages now. Thank you!

  45. There are many things at the 99 cent store that AREN’T good for you. But, I always bulk up on the individual portions of applesauce. No sugar, no high fructose corn syrup. They’re in the same section as the “bad” kind, but look for the added burst “au naturel”. I like making applesauce, but when it comes down to it, I also like to have the pantry stocked w/some ready-to-go items as well. They’re 99.99 cents for 4, not bad.

  46. Love this list and I hope to try some of them soon!
    Except the applesauce….there’s no way under the sun that making homemade applesauce could be even remotely cheaper!! Especially once you count in the time. I guess I always do my grocery shopping in the same place…so maybe I’m wrong in thinking there is plain applesauce (meaning: nothing added to the apples) available everywhere. But I’ve certainly found it when I’ve looked, in the generic brand too.

  47. When tomatoes go on sale, or when my friends share a bumper crop from their gardens (free!!); I will slow roast batches of them. I then freeze them for use in place of canned tomatoes.

    Set your oven to 275, halve your tomatoes, toss in some olive oil, then put them flat side up on a cookie sheet. Roast for one hour, then take them out and flip them to cut side down, remove the skins (should be loose due to the roasting process) and pop back into the oven for another hour, double bag in freezer bags, and freeze.

    You can even pre-flavor your tomatoes. I like to toss tomato halves in a basil infused olive oil and pressed garlic then roast for an Italian flavor.

  48. Great post! I really needed the one for cream of condensed soups! I don’t make casseroles very often for that very reason, and now… I’m thinking a chicken broccoli cheese casserole is in the works soon! The main processed ingredient I’m still using is canned tomatoes (sigh) but I have a lovely big garden with 5 heirloom varieties this year, so I’m going to try my hand at it!

    I make my own kombucha, cashew pesto, jams and jellies, sauerkraut, hot sauce, mayonnaise/meatonnaise, hummus, broths and bouillon, salad dressings, toffee and caramel, marshmallows, and my new favorite – homemade yogurt! It’s the healthiest, yummiest yogurt I’ve ever had, and it was ridiculously easy.

  49. I use my dehydrator alot to make pita chips, bagel chips. Whenever we have pita that looks like it’s on it’s last days I slice them in triangles, spray a quick spray canola oil and then sprinkle salt/ garlic powder on them. Dehyrdate for an hour and there you have healthy low fat pita chips. Also my husband gets bagels for his work once in awhile and has left overs so I slice them up and do the same thing and make bagel chips. I also make my own vegetable broth. I juice veggies to drink, save the pulp, boil for a min then simmer then strain and save for soup. I usually make soup right away and if I don’t I’ll make the broth and freeze it or freeze the pulp for later. 🙂

  50. I have just recently made homemade vanilla for the first time. Given how much I love to bake, I was spending a mint on real, organic vanilla at the store (as opposed to “imitation vanilla” – what is that?!). It’s easy and MUCH cheaper. For the price I would have spent on a few tiny bottles, I am getting several cups of extract! I totally recommend it!

  51. I like to make rice and beans and i used to use the store bought sazon packets. One day i looked at the ingredients and was horrified. I had been feeding my family MSG and red #40. So i gooled how to make it yourself and it was not only simple, it tasted better than anything i could have bought at the store. Just a few spices I already had on hand in the cabinet and violia!

  52. I found this post most interesting for several reasons. I live in UK and like most women of my age was taught to cook at my mother’s knee. Everything was made from scratch then and still is in the majority of households, processed and packets mixes are expensive and as you have found , full of additives and unwanted chemicals. I often look at American recipes and shake my head because everything always includes a processed packet mix of some kind regardless. This does seem to be the norm in USA, which is sad.
    Well done to you to ‘finding’ ways to make things from scratch though, carry on the good work

  53. This is so helpful. Where do you find sucanat and how does the flavor compare to regular white granulated sugar? I make homemade buttermilk by just using regular milk from the fridge and either vinegar or lemon juice. 1 tbsp of either vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of milk. I’m still working on homemade stuff. I have made my first stick of deodorant that seems to work for one particular family member so far and shampoo for fine hair which has worked out great. This is a whole new world of homemaking that I would love to try.

  54. Hi Erin, I know this is an older post but thought I’d try and ask. I saved this webpage on Pinterest I believe for the enchilada sauce recipe, but I don’t see it on here now. Do you happen to have a recipe for homemade red enchilada sauce? The one I saved, I absolutely loved!

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