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Jan 7, 2012 01:42 PM

Home Made Instead of Purchased

What do you regularly make from scratch instead of purchasing?

If you make it from scratch, do you make large quantities & freeze or just make small batches as needed?

Do you feel you are saving money by making it from scratch or do you just prefer the "home made" taste?

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  1. We eat few meals that are not made from scratch. Our big four non-prepared ingredients would be bread (my husband makes it every other day, the leftovers get made into bread crumbs/croutons), spaghetti sauce (we start with canned tomatoes and build from there), chicken stock (which we make regularly and freeze), and salad dressing which is made in the bowl right before serving (type of dressing depends on salad ingredients.) I believe we save money and it tastes better and has few preservatives. Major purchases of "prepared" foods includes condiments, cheese, canned beans and dried non-egg pasta. Most everything else are fresh ingredients.

    1. I can my own stock and make
      bbq sauce
      salad dressings
      bread crumbs
      jams although I do buy some prepared also
      some breads
      most baked goods
      pico de gallo
      enchilada sauce
      we grind our own meat

      That's off the top of my head, I'm sure there is more.

      1. I don't do all that the previous posters do. I do make chicken broth, but I also use commercial chicken broth if I don't have the homemade stuff around. If I bake it is always from scratch--no mixes. And yes the scratch products always taste better than the product from a mix, unless you like things really, really sweet. I haven't bought bottled salad dressing in a long time. It is thriftier to make your own, and it tastes better too. (It is an eye-opening experience to see some home cooks trot out multiple bottles of salad dressing if they serve salad.) I make my own chili, and soup. I don't often eat canned products. I do use canned tomatoes, and occasionally canned beans, although I really like to cook dried beans in my pressure cooker. I like to make my own hummus, and the next step for me is to master cooking dried garbanzos to make the hummus with.

        I almost never buy pre marinated or seasoned meat. I prefer to control the carbs and fat myself. I do buy and use lower carb bread products. I can't produce a similar product. I don't have the skill, or the determination to learn. I am not a baker of normal bread either. If you are, I envy your skill.

        For Mr. Sueatmo, who likes them, I do make instant mashed potatoes. I don't care for them and they are exactly the sort of food I should not eat. So, this is an easy choice. He is happy, and I am not inconvenienced. I don't use any other mixes though, such as Hamburger Helper or boxed mac and cheese. I do make mac and cheese for others, but I make it from scratch. Mr. Sueatmo, on the other hand, has definite preferences for certain canned soups and chilis, and often makes them his lunch.

        25 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo

          What is your favorite home made salad dressing? I would like to start making my own instead of buying that bottled stuff.

          1. re: cstout

            Whoa. Where to begin. One of the easiest would be to toss the lettuce (works best with lettuces or leafy greens) with a bit of salt. Let it wilt for 5 min. or so. Good sploosh of good olive oil, a bit of a drizzle of white or red wine vinegar. Grind some black pepper over it. Toss again. Done.

            Simple vinaigrette: oil of your choice, vinegar of your choice (3:1 is the usual proportion), a mustard of your choice, s&p, maybe some herbs you like.

            Sour cream or yogurt dressing: sour cream or yogurt (duh), dill, parsley or whatever herb floats your boat, lemon juice or white wine vinegar, a little bit of oil, s& p. Done.

            Blue cheese dressing: blue cheese, sour cream or yogurt, white wine vinegar, s& lots of crushed black pepper.

            Any one of these are better than any bottled stuff.

            1. re: linguafood

              Ohhh yes, the one with blue cheese, sour cream, white wine vinegar & pepper sounds good to me, thank you.

              1. re: cstout

                I forgot to mention that I use an immersion blender to get it all nice and creamy, but maybe that's another 'duh'


                1. re: linguafood

                  immersion blender...don't have one, but was just wondering if I would put it to good use or just end up having another gadget. My blender is so large, maybe this little baby will come in handy. What else do you use it for?

                  1. re: cstout

                    once i made mayo with one (Antilope's version from chowhound) i was completely sold. i would buy one just for that, turns out it is useful for soups too ( rather than having scalding hot soup exploding out of my blender).

                    1. re: hyde

                      Antilope"s version of would I find that recipe?

                      1. re: cstout

                        Homemade Best Foods/Hellmans Mayonnaise using stick blender

                        1 whole egg, medium or large size
                        1 Tablespoon lemon juice (bottled ok
                        )1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
                        1 teaspoon dry mustard (or 1/4 tsp prepared yellow mustard)
                        1/4 teaspoon table salt
                        dash white pepper
                        1 cup vegetable (canola) oil, room temperature

                        Break egg into bottom of 1-quart canning jar or other tall narrow jar that allows you to immerse the mixing blades of a stick blender all the way to the bottom. The jar should be only slightly wider than the end of the stick blender.

                        Add lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, table salt and white pepper.

                        Add 1 cup of vegetable oil.

                        Place mixing blades of stick blender (turned off) all the way to the bottom of the jar, pressing
                        down over the egg.

                        Turn stick blender on high speed, hold in place at bottom of jar for about 5-seconds until you see mayonnaise form under stick blender's mixing blades.

                        Slowly pull stick blender upward until the mixing blades reaches top of jar, taking about
                        more 5-seconds. The stick blender will turn the oil into mayonnaise as it is pulled slowly to the
                        top of the jar.

                        After chilling in the fridge, this mayonnaise gets slightly thicker and tastes very much like Best Foods/Hellman's Mayonnaise.

                        Makes about 1 cup of mayonnaise.

                        1. re: hyde

                          hyde...home made mayonnaise....thank you so much for sharing with us...I love Hellman's but it sure is getting pricey.

                          Your instructions are so precise..I think I can do it!!!!

                      2. re: hyde

                        immersion blenders are the best!!

                      3. re: cstout

                        I used my immersion blender to prepare the three dressings today, and wouldn't be without one. I love it since it can add creaminess to soups. I make a mean tuscan rosemary bean soup and it is very low fat but the immersion blender makes it very "creamy".

                        1. re: Barbara76137

                          Immersion blenders....what brand is yours? Be interesting to know if one is more popular than the other?

                          Yes, I do need one of these little whirlers.

                          1. re: cstout

                            Just a quick request that follow-up discussion of brands of Immersion Blenders move over to the Cookware board ( ). Post a link here so people can find you over there.

                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                              Well Chowhound Team, thanks so much. Allow me to kick myself one more time...seems like since I came on board here, I have been doing a lot of that lately. I did not know there is a Cookware board!!

                              A whole new world has opened up for me, I''m off to the cookware department. Bye now.

                              1. re: cstout

                                See you there! I go there a lot.

                        2. re: cstout

                          Almost never use my regular blender but the immersion blender is amazing. I purée soup, whip cream, make smoothies or salad dressing or milkshakes. The soup is the biggest godsend because there is no transfer or cooling, just stick the blender right in the pot. So easy to clean too!

                          1. re: cstout

                            So handy; I use mine all the time. For salad dressing; to puree soup; or my favorite use (suggested by roxlet and resulted in a big aha moment): to puree whole tomatoes right in the can.

                            1. re: cstout

                              I use my immersion blender for all sorts of things:

                              salad dressing, as mentioned above
                              cold blended drinks like iced coffee/chai
                              creamy pureed soups
                              marinara sauce if it's too chunky
                              sometimes for mashed potatoes if I want them extra smooth

                              1. re: Maggiethecat

                                I just tried my immersion blender for a small batch of mashed potatoes and they came out smooth, but like glue! I've heard of that happening but a first for me.

                                1. re: coll

                                  Hand mixers and stand mixers work well at making mashed potatoes. Hand blenders, stand blenders and food processors will make white glue.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    My favourite tool to make mashed potatoes is a ricer. Nothing else makes potatoes so creamy and of consistent texture.

                            2. re: cstout

                              Creamy delicious herbaceous Green Goddess, w or w/o anchovy.

                          2. re: cstout

                            For me it all begins with a vinaigrette. I can add cheese to it if I want a cheese dressing, or a little half and half if I want that. Vinaigrette is super easy. You wisk olive oil and vinegar together. Probably you would like a little more oil than vinegar, but you get to decide. Anything else you want to add, go for it. My basic dressing is good olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, fresh ground pepper and a little half and half. If you want an actual recipe, I am sure you can find one in any good general cookbook, or Google vinaigrette.

                            Once you start doing that, you'll branch out. Also easy to make are creamy dressings using yogurt and mayo. You flavor to your taste.

                            But the vinaigrette is basic. Once you grow used to the fresh tasted of good olive oil and your favorite vinegar, you will never go back to bottled.

                            Actually, I bought a dressing bottle at a commercial kitchen store. It has a snap on top, and now I shake my dressing, instead of whisking it with a fork. But, some people use small glass jars. Keep us posted on your favorite dressings.

                            1. re: cstout

                              I haven't used bottled dressing in ages. This afternoon I made three different vinaigrettes: a balsamic/sundried tomato, a honey/dijon mustard and a cayenne/mango. Put each dressing in a plastic squeeze bottle so I can not overdress a salad for one. The cayenne/mango was actually a marinade that I turned into a dressing.

                              1. re: cstout

                                I love green goddess, check out the Barefoot Contessa recipe. It's yummy and I change up the herbs depending on what I have in the garden

                            2. I am of the home made school. I make a number of pasta sauces in the summer and can them for winter use. I make my own salad dressings most of the time. I make BBQ sauce, rib sauce, chili sauce, cranberry sauce, cranberry chili chutney, lemon curd and jams of various kinds. I bake from scratch but don't make bread since there is a wonderful French bakery locally. We generally eat fresh produce with the only exceptions being things like frozen peas and canned tomatoes & beans. I make my own marinades for meats, and chili, stews and things like that. I also make my own ice cream and sorbets as well as things like hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and caramel sauces to go with them. In the summer we have a large garden and for what we can't get from the garden usually shop at farmers' markets.

                              1. You asked about salad dressing. If you want something to replace the oil and vinegar types, you can make a simple 3 parts oil to 1 part acid--some people like more tartness--varying the basic flavor by varying the types of oil--olive, canola, peanut are a few basic ones--and the acid--vinegars include red wine, white wine, rice wine, cider and balsamic, as well as lemon and other tart citrus juices. From there you can add other flavorings such as shallots, onion, garlic, mustard and cheeses of all kinds. Then there are creamy ones that include cream, sour cream, heavy cream and such. I always make mine right in the salad bowl. A favorite vinaigrette is one part lemon juice, one part balsamic, 4 parts olive oil, dijon mustard, diced shallot, salt, pepper and a little lemon zest. Add oil to other ingredients mixing as you drip it in so it thickens Toss with salad greens and a good grating of Parmesan cheese--wonderful.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: escondido123

                                  Salad Dressings, thanks to everyone for sharing some simple salad dressings, I intend to try several as soon as I get some fresh greens.