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I'm going to be making it/them from scratch!

r
Rella Sep 14, 2011 05:22 PM

How many times have I said that I'm not going to be buying this or that, but I'm going to be making it from scratch from now on. This time it's CRACKERS!

Let's see:

Lasagna - instead of Costco's lasagna in a pan.

Spaghetti sauce in a jar

Salsa

Mexican sauce

Spanokopita

Bread - all kinds

Even though I've whined re previously over store-bought crackers, I hope that today will be the last package I ever open. Of course, it will probably not be the last, but I'm sure hoping it will be.

Are there any boxed/packaged items that you are thinking about giving up and it is really hard to do? No, I'm not giving up ready-made sausage!

  1. s
    sandylc Sep 14, 2011 05:35 PM

    I'm with you on the crackers! I made a few kinds many years ago and they were amazing. Fast forward many years and I keep vowing to make them again.

    I've never had store-bought lasagne. I've wanted to try making spanaokopita.

    I ALWAYS make my own Italian and breakfast sausages - it's quick, easy, and FAR superior to anything I can buy around here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sandylc
      The Chowhound Team Sep 15, 2011 07:33 AM

      We split Sandylc's sausage recipes off to a new thread on the Home cooking board. You can find it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807305

    2. chefathome Sep 14, 2011 06:02 PM

      Never have bought frozen dinners such as lasagne. Make my lasagne noodles from scratch. I cook pretty much everything in the house from scratch except for Worcestershire, Umami paste, Sriracha, fish sauce and a few canned veg (i.e. corn) including spice rubs/blends, ketchups, salsas, jams, jellies, vanilla, mustards, tomato paste, breads, sausage, crackers, etc. As I have celiac I no longer make phyllo or puff pastry. :-(

      1. BananaBirkLarsen Sep 14, 2011 06:30 PM

        Frozen pizza. We used to always make sure we had a frozen cheese pizza in the freezer, so that we could doctor it up with our favourite toppings on nights when nobody felt like cooking. Then I learned how to make pizza dough, and now we always make sure to have a few blobs of dough in the freezer. As a matter of fact, that's what we're having for dinner tonight.

        4 Replies
        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
          r
          Rella Sep 14, 2011 06:44 PM

          I'd like to control myself enough to be able to 'keep' some blobs in the freezer. They always get eaten before I get the next batch in. I'm going to have to work on this.

          1. re: Rella
            BananaBirkLarsen Sep 14, 2011 08:13 PM

            Just double the amount of dough you make!

            But yeah, the blobs rarely last long. My dough recipe makes enough for 4 pizzas. I usually end up freezing two and eating the rest over two consecutive nights.

          2. re: BananaBirkLarsen
            THoey1963 Sep 14, 2011 06:54 PM

            I do the frozen pizza thing too. Digiorno cheese stuffed crust with Pepperoni, then add other toppings to it. I keep saying I am going to make my own, but haven't got there yet. If you have a really good dough recipe you are willing to share, maybe I can break the habit.

            1. re: THoey1963
              BananaBirkLarsen Sep 14, 2011 08:25 PM

              I use this Peter Reinhart recipe (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html) and always bake the pizza on parchment paper, directly on the oven rack, because I don't have a baking stone and it doesn't get enough heat in a pan. There are some conflicting opinions regarding the use of parchment paper, however (The discussion can be found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/804025).

          3. t
            tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 14, 2011 10:01 PM

            Homemade crackers are wonderful, and hit all three sweet spots - they're cheap, easy, and taste better than storebought. I find that 1/2 wheat flour to 1/2 other flours or ground grains gives an easily workable dough, and add a little bit of oil and whatever seasonings I want. Ground oats work really well, and ground sesame seeds make a lovely addition.

            Granola is wonderful from scratch, and again is easy, an order of magnitude better than even the expensive gourmet stuff, and cheap.

            I like making my own stocks, but limited freezer space makes it hard to keep up with the demand, as we have soup a couple of times a week, plus other uses. And home-made stock for cold soups is trickier, as you need to make it from tendon and bone free ingredients. So I still keep canned chicken stock on hand.

            I bought a jar of spaghetti sauce once shortly after moving out on my own, and never again.

            I make bread some times and buy others - I don't have a full sized oven, and the timing for the bread-maker is a bit tricky on weeknights, as it takes three hours to run, and then needs to be cooled. I don't use the timer due to the climate, and bread has to be stored properly to keep out insects. Plus there are types of bread that are hard to do at home.

            Sausages - If I had a big freezer, more kitchen space, and a place to put a smoker, I suspect that I'd get really into sausage making. As it is, I tend to do things like breakfast sausage and Iot-Italian myself by necessity, as I can't buy them in grocery stores.

            We make dumplings at home, wonton, gyoza and boiled. We do buy the wrappers, because we can easily find cheap, fresh, made earlier that morning wrappers at the market, and it's way less effort.

            1. Emme Sep 14, 2011 10:18 PM

              i can tell you a few things that i always make from scratch now...

              enchilada sauce
              dog biscuits
              artisan bread
              pasta sauce - not because i have a righteous attitude about jarred; i just enjoy making it
              baked goods - see pasta sauce
              mayonnaise

              things i have made and seldom do now:
              noodles - don't have a rolling machine or KA attachment and after hand-rolling out to feed eight, it lost its appeal
              phyllo dough

              1. j
                jlhinwa Sep 14, 2011 10:22 PM

                Another cracker-maker! I think there was a thread about this a few months ago and I felt so inspired to try making my own, but never did. As I type this, I am snacking on Lavash rosemary flatbread chips...one of my favorite snacks is crackers with cheese, dip, pretty much anything.

                Is it hard to roll out the dough to be thin enough? That is what has intimidated me so far. I hate, hate, hate rolling out pie crust, cookie dough, lefse dough (my current project), etc. So the idea of rolling out cracker dough is just seems like more trouble than it's worth.

                In our house, good croutons are a favorite as well. For soups, salads, and snacking. I now make them regularly and always have a good supply on hand for the family. I will never buy croutons again.

                I rarely buy bbq sauce or sweet/sour sauce anymore...easy and cheap to make and I can tweak the ingredients and heat level to suit the specific item I'm serving. Same thing with spaghetti sauce.

                4 Replies
                1. re: jlhinwa
                  r
                  Rella Sep 15, 2011 07:24 AM

                  Yes, the dough is difficult to get thin enough even for my 'strong' husband who does the rolling. We have been disappointed with our cracker making due to this problem. I have a multitude of rolling pins, but generally use a silicone one (I have a big one and a little one) so that it doesn't stick.

                  I have just got on a kick to make pie crust and made an apple pie dough last week. It was rolled thin enough (I think), but didn't get crispy on the bottom. This is the reason when I have bought apple pie in a restaurant that I scoop out the filling and just eat the top. It seems I must have eaten apple pie at least once in my lifetime that the bottom crust was perfect, but I can't recall when.

                  I don't make croutons, but when I make bread, I cut off the ends and cut them in pieces for soup. Sometimes I believe I'm queen of soup because my soup always tastes good to me and DH. I always recall an instructive art show decades ago where the woman ended the show with "Now, I'm going to go make soup."

                  1. re: Rella
                    Emme Sep 15, 2011 01:19 PM

                    a trick i've used is covering the dough with parchment paper (sprayed with a little non-stick spray just in case) then using a brick and applying pressure... a couple of 'em as it gets spread out.

                    1. re: Rella
                      s
                      sandylc Sep 15, 2011 02:07 PM

                      I agree about the bottom crust on a pie. My ideal is my grandmother's pies - they were brown and crisp on the bottom. I have tried all sorts of pans (glass, ceramic, stainless steel, non-stick, light, heavy, dark, pale, etc.) and my best result surprisingly comes from disposable aluminum pie pans. That said, I keep meaning to try grandma's method: Bake your "pie" in a 9" x 13" Pyrex pan at 500 degrees or so. She was renowned for these "pies" and they were delicious -!?!?!?!

                      Oh, and she and my mother neither one have EVER used chilled water or chilled fat for their crusts!

                      1. re: Rella
                        j
                        jlhinwa Sep 19, 2011 10:35 AM

                        Thanks for the suggestions. When I am done with the lefse project (Saturday..do or die!), I will have to give crackers a try.

                        I conquered my lefse challenge, I think. (Don't want to jinx it by being over-confident!). Lefse is basically a Norwegian tortilla--the type I am making uses potatoes, flour, cream, and butter. I was having a horrible time getting the dough rolled out thin enough and used my mom's old rolling pin, a lefse-making rolling pin, a lefse stick, all with results that did not please me.

                        I finally scrapped the rolling pins and started pounding the dough thin by hand. Tada...it worked. Basically I floured, pounded, flipped, and then repeated until I got the desired thinness. It is very painstaking, but I am happy with the result. Now that I have gotten somewhere with this project, I just may be able to handle crackers without pulling out my hair!

                    2. PotatoHouse Sep 16, 2011 08:15 AM

                      Marshmallows. My wife was actually surprised when I told her you could make homemade marshmallows, but since she saw it done on Good Eats, she's kinda excited about it.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: PotatoHouse
                        p
                        pine time Sep 16, 2011 09:08 AM

                        Mr Pine--a very well educated & well rounded man--actually thought marshmellows were a vegetable (and he has an advanced degree in plant pathology). Granted, he wasn't raised in the West, so had never encountered a marshmellow prior to about age 30, but sheesh!

                        1. re: pine time
                          Vetter Sep 19, 2011 09:17 PM

                          Here's why - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Althaea_...

                        2. re: PotatoHouse
                          chefathome Sep 19, 2011 10:55 AM

                          Homemade marshmallows are far superior to bought - don't remember the last time I actually bought them! You can do various flavours, too.

                        3. g
                          Goldendog Sep 16, 2011 08:29 AM

                          Tamales. Fell in love them as a kid in the city where many of my neighbors were from Mexico. Now I can only get frozen or worse yet, canned in my part of the country. Nearest Mexican family/restaurant is about 200 miles away. Always thought there was some mystery as to what went in them and prep.

                          Couple of weeks ago, with the help of a bunch of YouTubes and many online tutorials I went for it! Woo Hoo!--turned out fantastic, just like the ones I always had 40 years ago.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Goldendog
                            a
                            amazinc Sep 16, 2011 12:10 PM

                            Goldendog.....Glad you were able to try tamales for yourself. Umpity-ump years ago my sister
                            and I were taught how to do it by my mother's housekeeper and her family. They called it a
                            "tamalada" and all the kids and the tias and the abuelas would get together and make dozens and dozens of the best tasting tamales ever. Gather some of your friends and go to it.
                            It's a really fun way to introduce tamales to your crowd.

                            1. re: Goldendog
                              s
                              sandylc Sep 19, 2011 06:02 PM

                              Homemade tamales are amazing. We made some this summer with fresh corn, roasted poblanos, and gooey cheese. We topped them with tomatillo sauce, cilantro, and crema. Yum...like dessert.

                            2. babette feasts Sep 19, 2011 09:19 PM

                              Bagels. They are easy, and once you've had one hot from your own oven, nothing else compares.

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