March 3, 2011

5 Grocery Items that You Can Make Yourself

Photo by TheCulinaryGeek via Flickr CC

I'm not somebody who makes things at home just for the sake of having it homemade.  For me, a homemade recipe has to offer at least one of these benefits:
  • It's cheaper than store bought.
  • It's yummier than store bought.
  • It's healthier than store bought.
Often, they meet all three.  Here are 5 recipes to help cut your grocery bill, eat yummier and avoid icky additives.

1.  Make your own Taco Seasoning.

  • 1 Tbsp Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of flour

 2. Make your own salad dressings.  

There are hundreds of recipes for tasty salad dressings to experiment with, but my personal favorite is both simple and delicious.  This recipe sounds too simple to be good, but it is REALLY good.  Do try it!

Combine approximately equal amounts of your favorite sweet chili sauce and some good balsamic vinegar. Add a splash of white vinegar.  Taste and adjust quantities until it has your preferred balance of zingy, sweet and delicious.

3.  Make your own marinade.

I use this marinade for steak, kabobs, veggies, and pretty much anything else I want to barbecue.

Combine equal amounts of:
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
Then add some:
  • minced garlic
  • and a squeeze of Dijon mustard

4. Make your own vanilla icing.

In stand mixer, beat:
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
Whip on high for 3-5 minutes until fluffy and awesome.

5.  make your own croutons.

Put a couple teaspoons each of oil and butter in a frying pan.  Fry some minced garlic in it.  Sprinkle with some rosemary and kosher salt.  Add slightly stale cubed bread.  Fry and stir  until bread is a little crispy on each side. Taste and add more salt if needed.

What do you like to make at home?  Is it to save money, improve flavor or eat healthier?


  1. Awesome ideas. Once my taco seasoning runs out I plan to make my own this time around.
    I make homemade yogurt for frugality and health benefits.
    I also plan to make homemade fajita wraps for the first time this week. I make homemade granola a lot too. I also make homemade bread for the kids. I use dried beans and make a big batch and freeze individual servings instead of buying canned beans. I am learning that these things really aren't that time consuming once you get the hang of it!

  2. Hi Kelly, I 'met' you through Lisa at Modern Vintage Homemaking. I do all these myself too. I have to watch salt, msg, too much sugar, high fructose corn syrup etc. to meet the needs of a hypertensive husband and a hyperactive four year old lol! Like greenandfrugal above I've also made my own bread, tortillas (they're not as soft and pliable as store-bought but the children love them) and I use dried beans and peas too. Its great to know there are others doing the same out there! Thanks for sharing. Sometime, I'll share some recipes from my other homemade stuff with you.

    God bless!

  3. I'm looking forward to trying your taco seasoning and the dressing recipes. I'm pretty frugal myself and always looking for ways to cut costs as well as salt and preservatives from our diet. I can't think of a recipe I use, but I squeeze a lot out of a bottle of fabric softener! Instead of using in the washer, I pour about 1/2 cup in a spray bottle then fill it up the rest of the way with water and shake. Then just spritz the clean laundry as it goes in the dryer. They are soft and smell fresh without a heavy scent - and it's cheap!

    Teresa @Much-A-Do

  4. My dad used to marinade steaks in the pickle juice leftover in the pickle jars. It was always really good. But you can't leave it too long or it will start to cook like that. Good way to use it up.

    Also I found a really good, easy salad dressing
    1 1/2 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
    1 TBSP white wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard
    little bit of salt and pepper
    2 garlic cloves pressed or minced.

    I had it on a spinach salad and it was really good.

  5. I've recently started using your recipe for taco seasoning and LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I make tortillas, bread, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, hair conditioner, lotion, lip balm, bath salts, sunscreen, linen spray, and pretty much anything else I can make with what we have, and control what's in it. I LOVE laundry soap and lotion homemade. Everything you put on your skin goes into your bloodstream. It's fabulous controlling what goes in your body, especially with kiddos. :)

  7. Just stumbled upon this site today and I am really looking forward to trying the fajita seasoning tonight! Trying hard to stay away from all the chemicals in our food out there, and save money along the way! Great tips!!


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