HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Home Made Instead of Purchased

c
cstout Jan 7, 2012 01:42 PM

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?

  1. scarletbagonia May 26, 2012 10:38 AM

    I find that once I make a previously store bought staple at home I can never go back. This is, of course, a blessing and a curse. What I wouldn't give to be able to open a box of pasta and pour it into boiling water again! But, ever since my darling counterpart was so sweet to buy us a pasta attachment for the kitchen aid, a quick pasta dinner is at least a one hour ordeal, haha. I wouldn't trade my homemade semolina pasta for anything... but, man do I miss the convenience of boxed pasta :)

    1. c
      cstout May 25, 2012 05:41 PM

      Has anyone tried making Lemon Pepper, Celery salt or Veggie sprinkles? Would like to try those. The veggie sprinkles I purchased had salt in them & all kinds of dried veggies minced real fine.

      1. c
        chinaplate May 24, 2012 12:54 PM

        Nutella (or a peanut version of the same spread)

        1. Antilope May 21, 2012 11:50 PM

          Thousand island dressing, barbecue sauce, BBQ rub, chili powder, taco seasoning, Mexican chorizo, sourdough bread, various bread machine breads, muffins, english muffins, pies, cookies, cakes, pizza, peanut sauce, hummus, yogurt, mostly due to flavor but also cost. Usually just enough to place in fridge and use in a few days.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Antilope
            herby May 22, 2012 01:47 PM

            Antiliope, where do you buy the strater for sourdough bread? I recently bought heritage wheat flour and would to make bread and sourdough is my favourite but I never made it.

            Also, if you do not mind, please share your recipes for 1000 Island dressing, chili powder and taco seasoning. Many thanks!

            1. re: herby
              Antilope May 23, 2012 03:09 PM

              Here's a link to my Favorite Homemade Condiments recipes.
              http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/your-favorite-recipes/36506-favorite-homemade-condiments.html

              I use Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough starter. It's free for a SASE. It is so vigorous that I can make sourdough bread in a bread machine without extra yeast. It is medium sour.

              WHERE TO GET SOURDOUGH STARTER:
              You can get free dried Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough starter for a self-addressed stamped envelope. An older gentleman, now passed away, maintained this sourdough starter that was handed down through several generations in his family. He would send out free samples. After he died in 2000, some of his friends continue to send out free samples if you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope. They also have an instruction sheet with recipes and how to revive the dried starter. The details are at

              http://WWW.CARLSFRIENDS.NET

              1. re: Antilope
                herby May 23, 2012 06:59 PM

                Many thanks Antilope! I could not get to condiments on recipesecrets.net - they want me to sign on and I do not like to do this without trying it out first... Carls sight is so neat, I am going to send a SASE tomorrow and see what happens.

                1. re: herby
                  Antilope May 24, 2012 04:50 AM

                  Copycat Kraft Thousand Island Dressing

                  This is a very good recipe and tastes very close
                  (I think even better) to Kraft Thousand Island Dressing.

                  1 cup Hellmans / Best Foods mayonnaise
                  4 Tbs Heinz ketchup
                  2 Tbs Heinz distilled white vinegar
                  4 tsp C & H granulated sugar
                  4 tsp Best Foods sweet pickle relish
                  2 tsp onion, minced
                  1/4 tsp Morton's table salt
                  dash Spice Islands Black pepper

                  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

                  Add all ingredients to a food processor.
                  Mix well. Place in fridge to allow flavors
                  to develop.

                  ----------------------------------------

                  Homemade Medium Hot Chili Powder

                  5 Tbs ground New Mexico Chili's
                  2 Tbs paprika
                  2 Tbs ground cumin
                  2 Tbs garlic powder
                  2 Tbs onion powder
                  1 tsp Mexican oregano
                  1/4 to 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)

                  Mix well. Make 3/4 cup.
                  For milder chili powder use 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.
                  For medium hot chili powder use 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

                  -----------------------------------------

                  Homemade Taco Seasoning

                  1/4 cup flour
                  1/4 cup onion powder
                  1 tsp garlic powder
                  2 Tbs chili powder
                  2 tsp dried oregano
                  2 tsp ground cumin
                  2 tsp table salt

                  Mix well. Mix with 2-pounds of raw
                  ground meat (beef or turkey) and cook
                  until done in frying pan.

                  ---------------------------------------

                  1. re: herby
                    Antilope May 24, 2012 04:52 AM

                    Be patient, it can take several weeks for them to get the dried Carl's sourdough starter to you.

                    1. re: Antilope
                      h
                      hyde May 24, 2012 11:53 AM

                      can i give a shout out and thank you to antilope's immersion blender mayo recipe (which i have posted in another thread, hope this is ok)

                      never buy mayo again.

                      1. re: hyde
                        Antilope May 24, 2012 04:08 PM

                        Thanks! ;-)

                2. re: herby
                  roxlet May 23, 2012 03:24 PM

                  You can get sourdough starter from Kingarthurflour.com

                  1. re: roxlet
                    herby May 23, 2012 07:01 PM

                    Thanks, roxlet, I'll keep it as a plan B and hope that I get some from Carl's Friends - too adorable and romantic to pass by. Imagine, keeping a sourdough starter in the family for 150 years?!

                    1. re: roxlet
                      tim irvine May 26, 2012 10:01 AM

                      I started mine several years ago with nonchlorinated water, some fresh AP flour (probably KA), mixed to a sludge. I left it out to catch wild yeast from the air, fed it occasionally with more flour and water, augmented with a small amount of sugar. Over time it gets more and more robust. I "treat" it now and then to a little organic WW or even a little rye. I wouldn't characterize the resulting loaf as at all similar to San Francisco sourdough, which is what most people seem to imagine. It has a very complex nutty taste, like a real French baguette. I feed it weekly to replace the cup I take out to make bread or English muffins. After feeding it rises crazily, settles down in about half a day, and goes back into the refrigerator.

                3. r
                  ricepad Feb 10, 2012 06:47 PM

                  I've tried making a lot of different things from scratch over the years, but the most interesting was soy sauce. I've tried making it twice. The first time it was pretty good, but the second time I must have gotten some really weird molds growing, because it smelled awful and tasted worse. It was so bad that Mrs. ricepad refuses to let me try another batch!

                  1. vegetablecow Feb 10, 2012 03:28 PM

                    - Sauerkraut, which is way cheaper and tastier, although it takes a long time to ferment.

                    - Veggie stock. Every time we chop vegetables, we toss the scraps into a ziplock baggie we have in the freezer. After we've collected enough scraps, we'll make a stock. Again, much cheaper, since you buy the veggies anyhow; you're just using the scraps you would have discarded. We usually make enough to freeze a couple of pints.

                    - We recently quick-pickled jalapeños for the Super Bowl. Again, tastier and WAY cheaper. A jar of jalapeños can run up to $4, but fresh ones are $1/lb. We posted the method here:

                    http://vegetablecow.wordpress.com/201...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: vegetablecow
                      ChristinaMason May 21, 2012 08:25 PM

                      Thanks for this! I'm going to use this to save some fresh jalapenos that need using.

                      1. re: ChristinaMason
                        vegetablecow May 22, 2012 07:38 PM

                        Awesome, let us know what you think. I added a cinnamon stick to the last batch I made, and highly recommend it if you're into unique flavorings. Cinnamon jalapenos are killer on hotdogs!

                    2. h
                      happyzhangbo Jan 10, 2012 11:39 AM

                      We pretty much make everything from scratch, from bisquik mix, stock, salad dressing to breads, cookies, muffins... Bread or muffins we always make a large bunch, then freeze them; dressing is kept in the frige. It definitely saves money, a lot of time it tastes better than store-bought, and the most important thing is that now you are controlling what you are putting into your mouth.

                      1. dave_c Jan 10, 2012 08:24 AM

                        Not much scratch making now that the kids are out of the house.

                        Occassionally, chicken stock and bbq dry rub.

                        Chicken stock is based upon the sale price of while chickens where I make a few quarts and use for the week.

                        Dry rub is good for long time stored in a cool, dry location.

                        Yes, it's saves some money but also I've tweaked recipes to my liking.

                        1. l
                          laliz Jan 9, 2012 01:48 PM

                          I sure don't qualify here, but I do make my own salad dressing and absolutely agree that I am shocked when "bottles" come out of the fridge for salad.

                          I make soup all the time, I make my own potatoes, beans, and lasagne ~~ I don't buy premade pkg mixes very much. However, after years of making my own red sauce, I now use mostly jarred.

                          I don't bake so no bread etc. I do make granola, have for many years. I use the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge recipe.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: laliz
                            c
                            cstout Jan 9, 2012 04:44 PM

                            Beverly Hills Polo Lounge granola...looked it up & am going to try it as soon as I get to the store....here it is in case anyone else would like it...thanks

                            http://articles.latimes.com/2000/sep/...

                            1. re: cstout
                              herby May 22, 2012 01:34 PM

                              Did you check nutirional information at the bottom? Each serving has a teaspoon of salt and 24 grams of fat!

                              1. re: herby
                                t
                                tonifi May 23, 2012 08:05 AM

                                I'm not sure how the heck they arrived at that number for sodium , especially since the recipe calls for 'salt' and doesn't even specify an amount (one assumes 'to taste'). And let's face it, most granola is NOT a low-fat food...low-fat granola tastes like chaff, and fat is a key component in feeling satiated, which helps with portion control.

                                1. re: tonifi
                                  herby May 23, 2012 08:13 AM

                                  I agree on fat but surely one does not need to have 5tsp in aone serving to feel full LOL!

                                  1. re: tonifi
                                    mattstolz May 25, 2012 11:40 PM

                                    shouldnt portion control depend more on the calories you are consuming and not the amount?

                              2. re: laliz
                                Becca Porter Jan 10, 2012 06:23 AM

                                I am very against bottled salad dressing except for Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. I keep it on hand at all times and use it a lot of weeknights. Add a pinch of salt after dressing the salad and it is perfect...

                                1. re: Becca Porter
                                  linguafood Jan 10, 2012 10:01 AM

                                  How difficult is it to pour olive oil & vinegar over your salad and add a pinch of salt? Why even bother buying those two mixed together already (with added preservatives I'm guessing) if that's all you use anyway?

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    Becca Porter Jan 10, 2012 12:45 PM

                                    It is called Olive Oil and Vinegar...however there are of course other ingredients: OO, veg oil, red wine vinegar, onion, spices, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and distilled vinegar. It is all natural and the profits go to charity.

                                    Could I duplicate this dressing? Yes, of course. Would I skip the salad more often than not after making a dinner from scratch with three kids running around? Yes, most of the time. I make homemade dressing often, but not on the crazy busy nights.

                                    1. re: Becca Porter
                                      c
                                      cstout May 22, 2012 09:50 AM

                                      Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vingegar - yes, I like it also...can squeeze some lemon juice & finely grate some lemon zest in it too. Very handy to grab.

                                      I also like Newman's Ceaser dressing & the fact that the profits are going to charity makes me feel good about using it.

                              3. m
                                mateo21 Jan 9, 2012 01:02 PM

                                Where to begin! Anything I can, really. It's not only cheaper, but in most cases it's much higher quality. I think the only thing I can think of that I don't do are some baked goods, like another poster, I find it easier to list what I don't do at home...:

                                - Puff pastry... never quite gotten this one down. I think I'm going to try making some with my pasta machine.
                                - Bread. I simply cannot replicate store bought bread, even though it has the same ingredients, I can't do it. Not sure what I'm missing (although I'm pretty sure it's the flour).
                                - Dried pasta. I've never actually given this one a try...
                                - Canned tomatoes. Some day I'll do my own... first I'll need a garden.
                                - Mayo. Sure, I can make it at home. Sure it tastes a lot better at home. If mayo is going to be something very special (e.g. Aioli for frites) I'll do it at home in the blender. But for a sandwich, or coleslaw, out of the jar doesn't taste any different (yes, I've tried).

                                That's really the list. Anything else (maybe with a few exceptions, that I can't think of right now) I do at home -- of course, within reason.

                                1. r
                                  raisa Jan 9, 2012 12:02 PM

                                  All kinds of pasta sauce, salad dressings, mayo, marinades, baked goods apart from bread, frosting, curry powders, ground spices, stocks, soup, potato chips, pate.

                                  I wish I could make bread. Apart from that I don't cook any types of ready to cook product or use any cake mix or instant crap. It saves money, it's not as time consuming as it sounds and of course it's healthier. I also freeze my own vegetables and also make sandwich meat and freeze them.

                                  1. MartiniGenie Jan 8, 2012 09:53 AM

                                    Another vote for great thread!

                                    All stocks - I make ahead & freeze in small batches to use in soups or sauces
                                    salad dressings
                                    soups
                                    bread crumbs
                                    croutons
                                    sauces of any kind
                                    pies
                                    hummus
                                    pita chips
                                    shredded parm
                                    anything potato, rice or legume

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: MartiniGenie
                                      t
                                      tonifi Jan 8, 2012 05:52 PM

                                      Well, I am loving this thread, I feel all warm & fuzzy & validated. (And there is no one on the planet who needs validation more than a stay-at-home-mom whose best friends have all become VPs of their companies...sigh). cstout, I started with the alton brown granola recipe, I have of course, messed with it along the way. I use a variety of grains, including barley, rye, oats and wheat, I LIKE maple syrup for a sweetener. but it sure does add to the cost of a batch. I like to use maltose, a rice sugar syrup available at almost any Asian market...it is VERY sweet, so you don't use quite as much. A bit of corn syrup will make your granola crispy, more than a bit will make it hard as gravel. I used to scant on the nuts, but it is soooo much better with plenty of nuts that I have become a crazed scavenger of inexpensive nut sources. And I flesh them out a lot with sunflower seeds and pepitas, both of which are fairly inexpensive, and healthy. And no coconut. Because we don't like it. A good article with links to yogurt making/granola recipes/etc. is
                                      http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2009/04/scratch_that.html
                                      I get my grains and an awful lot of the nuts & dried fruit at discount groceries, 'railroad salvage' stores, farmer's markets, and in trade...you can bet that if I drive by a 'DISCOUNT GROCERY' sign painted on a roof by the side of the highway I pull over! There are some particular stores which I am almost afraid to mention due to the fact that we tend to call them 'Amish Stores' (ack...possible political incorrectness) ..they are a GREAT source of grains, syrups, and discounted groceries...as well as canning jars and suchlike. I've found an online directory to some discount grocers...I go to Shetler's in Cabool, MO.
                                      http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2009/04...
                                      I count myself very lucky to live in a very urban part of St. Louis where I have access to lots of ethnic groceries (great deals on meat, seafood, rice...) and rural areas nearby where I can hit up the big discount groceries. I have a trip coming up to Springfield, MO and I'll be taking highway 62 to hit all my discount groceries, I'm running out of oats & barley...

                                      1. re: tonifi
                                        c
                                        cstout Jan 8, 2012 07:30 PM

                                        tonifi, I sure wish I had access to some of those places to shop, I have one chain store & one little bitty store that you have to bring in a magnifying glass to check out every expiration date...really bad.

                                        Listen here, who cares about your VP friends' big shot positions....you are PRESIDENT of your own food company & you have a "caring" career...bet those others are just money making slaves to the big honchos...well, maybe not that bad, but you get the picture. Never look over the fence, it is OK right where you are at. You are a stay at home mom for a reason, embrace it & give thanks you have such an important function in life.

                                        I will check out the moneytalksnews.com...thanks for sharing.

                                    2. iluvcookies Jan 8, 2012 09:21 AM

                                      Cakes, cookies and frosting. I love love love to bake. I tell myself calories don't count if I made it :)
                                      Chocolate and Butterscotch puddings
                                      chicken stock
                                      cranberry sauce
                                      tomato sauces for pasta (like my grandma's Sunday "gravy")
                                      chili--including the seasoning mix for it. (I will admit to canned beans because they are such a timesaver)
                                      pizza dough
                                      bread crumbs (there is always so much leftover bread!)
                                      corn bread/muffins

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: iluvcookies
                                        c
                                        cstout Jan 8, 2012 09:41 AM

                                        Sunday gravy....please tell us how grandma made it.

                                        1. re: cstout
                                          iluvcookies Jan 9, 2012 10:10 AM

                                          In Grandma's words:

                                          Get out the corning ware pot that Aunt Mary gave me on my anniversary, put the meat in, brown it. Put in the can of tomatoes--no not those, the chunky ones. I don't know why your grandfather keeps buying the other kind, you think he'd know by now. Then you put in the spice--no this one, Shut up and don't tell me what's and herb and what's a spice. Yes more salt, but don't tell your grandfather he thinks I don't use salt. Now take the spoon--the spoon Aunt Anna bought me when I moved out of Brooklyn, if you use the wooden one it will get stained.

                                          Oh (insert random Italian profanity) give me that and go inside and tell your grandfather to lower that (different Italian profanity) television. I'll make it myself.

                                          Pour yourself a glass of Chianti and wait for it to be done.

                                          1. re: iluvcookies
                                            c
                                            cstout Jan 9, 2012 12:31 PM

                                            Grandma's words:
                                            Now that is one true recipe, I have never hear Italian profanity, (just German & Polish), but I do know a little profanity certainly adds spice to the meal. Always wondered what Sunday Gravy was, now I know. That was delightful,,,,,Thanks.

                                            1. re: cstout
                                              iluvcookies Jan 9, 2012 04:49 PM

                                              Italian profanity is as much an ingredient as tomatoes, basil, or cheese. Oddly, she never curses in English.

                                              Sunday gravy, just to be clear, is a few hunks of meat (chuck, pork chop, maybe sausage if it was on sale) browned in olive oil with a little garlic, then you add canned tomatoes (chunky ones of course) and let it simmer for the better part of a day. Seasonings and cooking times vary, of course, but 2-3 hours is about right.

                                              1. re: iluvcookies
                                                c
                                                cstout Jan 9, 2012 07:53 PM

                                                That Sunday Gravy...really got curious & went looking for recipes...came across this one...has all the ingredients you talked about (including the profanity). Boy, that is sure something I would like to eat.

                                                http://www.chocodog.com/chocodog/sauc...

                                                1. re: cstout
                                                  porker Jan 10, 2012 04:10 AM

                                                  Sunday Gravy....picked up Esquire's Eat Like A Man cookbook awhile back. They had a picture of Sunday Gravy that'll melt your heart:
                                                  http://www.esquire.com/features/guy-f...

                                                  I don't have a nonna, but I did have an older Italian friend show me Italian sausage making. I'd meet him at his house and we'd duck out to pick things up. His wife also shouted after him in Italian. I didn't understand, but I suspect it always ended in "....and don't drink too much with Porker!"

                                                  1. re: porker
                                                    c
                                                    cstout Jan 10, 2012 05:40 AM

                                                    I just love all that bawdiness spilling out into the streets...so different from my quiet "only child" upbringing. Could not wait to escape to the neighbors' house where it was constant chaos, blackened pots chuckling on the back burner, "Big Mama" yelling something about "everybody stay out of the kitchen!!!!' Before I knew it, I had to get back home, but I was reeking of onion & garlic & probably that "Sunday Gravy".

                                                    I seriously want to make some, calories & grease be dammed!!)

                                                    Thanks for yet another good recipe.

                                                    1. re: cstout
                                                      porker Jan 10, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                      I like telling the story about making sausage with the old guy and his wife. We'd all be in his small 2nd kitchen in the basement, busy as bees, sipping his homemade red, with the occasional "hand me that" or "pass the towel" when all of a sudden the two of them would break out in WWIII. Hell bent shouting in an Italian/English mix over some trivial non-such. A minute later, all is calm, back to "pass the knife" and chit chat. Sometime later, it would repeat.
                                                      Took me awhile, but I realized its just another day....
                                                      I miss that stuff.

                                                      1. re: porker
                                                        coll Feb 11, 2012 05:21 AM

                                                        We had Italian neighbors who you would frequently hear the whole family's voices escalating in an argument for 5 minutes or so, and then, without fail, you would hear the father yell "SHUT-A UP-A!!" Instant silence followed. My husband grew up in an Italian family and cracked up every time they did it, it definitely brought back memories. They were actually really nice, polite people, the arguments meant nothing in the long run. Just blowing off steam.

                                            2. re: iluvcookies
                                              t
                                              tonifi Jan 9, 2012 02:53 PM

                                              I wish there was a 'like' button for the profane-grandma story. A few weeks ago I sat at a stoplight and watched a little old man come running out of a house on "The Hill' (our Italian neighborhood) and scurry down the sidewalk as his irate wife stuck her head out the screen door and shouted after him in Italian..I now suspect she was yelling, "The CHUNKY ones! The CHUNKY ones!" (Your Grandma doesn't by any chance live two doors down from Urzi's market, does she?)

                                              1. re: tonifi
                                                iluvcookies Jan 9, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                No, that wasn't grandma, but it could have been one of my relatives. Grandma is one of 12 kids and I don't know where they all live :) She also could have been yelling at him to not forget the paper towels, or make sure the butcher doesn't try to rip you off and put his thumb on the scale. I heard that a lot too.

                                                I forgot to mention the part when you dip a chunk of bread in the sauce and she catches you, then says if you do it again she'll hit you with the spoon. But I'm not 100% sure that's part of the recipe.

                                                Sigh, all the yelling and cursing and I still like to cook.

                                                1. re: iluvcookies
                                                  p
                                                  pine time Feb 11, 2012 05:35 AM

                                                  Truly love the Grandma recipe story.

                                        2. Georgia Sommers Jan 8, 2012 08:12 AM

                                          Great thread, cstout! I want to mention a book that might be fun for you to look at:

                                          http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...

                                          Better than Store-Bought by Helen Witty is a good one for ideas and recipes and/or inspiration.

                                          As for saving money or not, I don't save every time but believe that I do overall. Also, there are some things I just have to have homemade like chicken stock, for instance.

                                          I've bookmarked this thread and plan to come back for fun ideas!

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Georgia Sommers
                                            c
                                            cstout Jan 8, 2012 08:53 AM

                                            http://www.chow.com/search?query=food

                                            I want that book right now..unfortunately, buying books is another one of weak points..I am addicted to cookbooks & if someone mentions one...I just want to go right to Amazon or wherever & buy it NOW....but I am getting a little better with it.

                                            I try to ration things out....like - will this book actually pay for itself in the long run?

                                            Will I actually make all those things in there?

                                            Could I find the same info on the Internet? And if I can, will I spend hours/days digging through the stuff? So much of what is out there is a bunch of bunk....can you imagine fifty million ways to make something...& not to mention trying to figure out which recipe really will turn out good?

                                            Excuse me, I got sidetracked. I ran that book through my check off list & got a green light to immediately go to a purchasing site. Thank you.

                                            Does anyone else have that book? Just curious if this is where you folks are learning to make these home made goodies.

                                            1. re: Georgia Sommers
                                              a
                                              AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 8, 2012 09:44 AM

                                              This is a wonderful book. Check out their recipe for breakfast sausage. I make this for our sausage stuffing at Thanksgiving. Only change I made is to add less salt until I fry up a patty to check the seasonings.

                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                c
                                                cstout Jan 8, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                "Better Than Store Bought"....went to Amazon & purchased it along with "Food In Jars", although that book has not been published.

                                                Here is a web site about the book...the tomato jam sounds wonderful....

                                                www.foodinjars.com/

                                                1. re: cstout
                                                  Georgia Sommers Jan 9, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                  So glad you ordered the book! Makes great bedtime reading. :)

                                                  I'll bookmark foodinjars.com and check that out soon!

                                                2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                  Georgia Sommers Jan 9, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                  Oooh, I want to try this. Sausage stuffing is our tradition, too, and making homemade sausage sounds like a lot of fun!

                                              2. mamachef Jan 8, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                A lot of it depends on how I feel about the taste and quality of a purchaseable product, and how much it impacts the finished product. For instance, I refuse to make my own dumpling wrappers of ANY kind. I CAN'T make a product as evenly as a manufactured one, not as thin, not as well. And it's more textural, with something like that: not as taste-driven because the components of the wrappers are pretty much the same from product to product. It's not about money-saving efforts, because my time IS money: I make my living with food. So I'll shop around, maybe try a few different species of something like that, 'til I find the one that works in every way and doesn't compromise the completely homemade filling. Call me the Guerilla Sandra Lee.
                                                On the other hand, though some folks consider bread just a wrapper, a resting spot for butter or sandwich filling? I l LOVE great bread and make my own, mostly. Staff of life, you know - not necessarily in the American diet, but where my people come from it's all about heartwarming, delicious, amazing-smelling yeasty breadstuffs.
                                                Oh, and homemade fudge sauce. Not negotiable. Easiest thing in the world. Incomparable to store-bought.
                                                I have been known to make potato chips, using leftover duck fat. But that's another story, and I sure don't do that one by rote.
                                                And yep, I do make large quantities for a couple reasons - to split and freeze completed recipes that are made to the finish and frozen, or to make components of a finished recipe ( a lot of tomato sauce at once, say, to provide the base for the sauce for that lasagna, a lot of broth at once, etc.) like today: I (will be) braising down stewing beef: half for something that tastes a lot like stroganoff when it's finished w/ sour cream, herbs and mushrooms, half for good old shredded beef sandwiches with jus.) So okay: yeah, that saves time for me, which equates to money. I just didn't think about it. But I like to eat well, and this provides me a way to to do that even after a nuts-busy day in the life.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: mamachef
                                                  c
                                                  cstout Jan 8, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                  mamachef, how do you make a living with food? Thanks for sharing your food strategies.

                                                  1. re: cstout
                                                    mamachef Jan 8, 2012 07:59 AM

                                                    cstout: I cater locally, and I also bake per customer request. Frequently it's a Kosher preparation, which requires me using an industrial Kosher kitchen that has been cleaned and certified by a rabbi who specializes in that sort of thing. That way it can be served on the Synagogue grounds. I also work as a cook, though I took a leave at the end of last year, for a local fraternity house: a changeable roster of 25-30 healthy growing boys who really like good food and didn't get much of it for a very long time. Can't really call myself a "chef" for that one since the only person I'm bossing around is, um, myself. But I'm credentialed, and have run many kitchens and supervised many a line. So that's how I do it. I've always loved food, and it was pretty purely accidental that I drifted into it by mistake, never having been encouraged in that direction as a career move. It just kind of happened; I improved my education; I'm grateful for it.

                                                    1. re: mamachef
                                                      c
                                                      cstout Jan 8, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                      mamachef....you wear many food hats...a wonderful thing to be able to have employment in the food business...your knowledge is always appreciated here.

                                                2. Gio Jan 8, 2012 06:18 AM

                                                  Almost all of our meals are made from scratch, the only exception being an occasional rotisserie chicken from a local farm. Condiments and ingredients for ethnic cuisines are store bought, though certain of those are home-made as well. There was a time when I made All our baked goods but I've gradually eliminated most of them. Also, I've made harissa and bulk sausage meat. Day-to-day scratch items are:
                                                  Stocks
                                                  Dried beans
                                                  Soups
                                                  Bread crumbs/croûtons
                                                  Salads/w dressings
                                                  Pasta sauces
                                                  Salsas
                                                  BBQ sauce
                                                  Chutneys/cranberry sauce, etc.
                                                  Tapanade
                                                  Seasoning blends/chili powders
                                                  Self-rising flour
                                                  Creme fraiche

                                                  1. Hank Hanover Jan 7, 2012 09:18 PM

                                                    I try to make my own stock but often use canned and augment it with "Better than Bouillon" base. I certainly use more canned beef broth than my own stock as making good beef stock is expensive and time consuming.

                                                    Never made my own mayo but I don't use a lot. 1 negative factor to making my own mayo is it wouldn't last very long in the fridge. I'm sure home made would taste better.

                                                    I wouldn't make my own pasta on a bet. I'm just not going to get flour every where and then clean up the kitchen.

                                                    I am really tempted to grind my own sausage although it sounds like it would be a big hassle but I understand it is a whole lot better tasting.

                                                    I'm not big on vinaigrettes but it would certainly seem worth the effort to make your own as is a mayo based salad dressing. It only takes a few seconds to throw something into a blob of mayo and make it a dressing. I have seen a pint of salad dressing cost $5 at the store!.

                                                    While I have cans of soup in the pantry, making your own would be economical and taste better. Now that sounds like a win win.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                      mattstolz Jan 8, 2012 05:27 AM

                                                      i sometimes cheat and make my pasta in the food pro. saves a ton of mess and it always comes out good still. it also makes it easy to augment with things like dried mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, etc

                                                      1. re: mattstolz
                                                        c
                                                        cstout Jan 8, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                        How do you make pasta in the food processor??

                                                        Yep, whenover I do anything that calls for flour, the whole kitchen gets messed up...cabinets, floors, chairs, you name it.

                                                        1. re: cstout
                                                          mattstolz Jan 8, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                          http://food.eagletribune.com/video/Pa...

                                                          that video sums it up really well. so much faster than the well method, and so much less messy!

                                                          and your experience with floury things sounds like my kitchen whenever i attempt making a yeasted bread. FLOUR EVERYWHERE!

                                                        2. re: mattstolz
                                                          e
                                                          escondido123 Jan 8, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                          In this day and age, certainly not much of a cheat to use a FP...lots of Italian cooks use them too. I could never do the well method with any success so it's always the FP for me.

                                                      2. ipsedixit Jan 7, 2012 08:44 PM

                                                        Bread - do not freeze, just taste better than store-bought

                                                        Ice cream -- freeze (of course), just taste better than store bought

                                                        Dumplings -- freeze, taste betteer than store bought

                                                        Stock -- do not freeze, taste better than store bought

                                                        Yogurt -- do not freeze, just taste better than store bought

                                                        1. mattstolz Jan 7, 2012 08:33 PM

                                                          im really surprised that fresh and dried pastas havent been mentioned more in this thread! one of my favorite things to make! also surprised by the lack of mention of nut butters.

                                                          do home-grown herbs count?

                                                          also, does anyone make their own sausage?? id love some good sausage recipes (along with strategies on how to make it if i dont have a meat grinder--if thats possible!)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: mattstolz
                                                            porker Jan 8, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                            I do sausage, as mentioned up-thread (boy, does that sound peculiar or what?!).

                                                            "strategies on how to make it if i dont have a meat grinder"
                                                            In general, sausage is made with ground meat. So you can grind your own using another method (chop with knife?) or buy the meat already ground.
                                                            This is only half the battle; you still have to stuff the casings. You can use a stuffer, or do it manually with a funnel and wooden spoon.
                                                            This is all theoretically possible, but infinitely more difficult than using a grinder.
                                                            A I mention in other threads, a $30, table-mounted, hand-cranked grinder will work wonders.
                                                            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q7K4G8/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1/180-6874909-7967732?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=1X3XQ9R0SGTNHEDBVGZ3&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_i=B0000CAQ17
                                                            You could probably get it used for cheaper.
                                                            The grinder will allow you to control what goes into the sausage (fat content/coarseness/type of meat/etc) and doubles as a stuffer with a platsic tube adjustment.
                                                            Or forget the true sausage, buy ground pork, season, and form into patties.

                                                            Maybe do a search on "homemade sausage" on the home cooking board. You might come across threads such as this one
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/580249
                                                            or this one where I ramble on about methods and recipes
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822421

                                                            1. re: porker
                                                              c
                                                              cstout Jan 8, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                              Mr Porker....glad to see you back with all your sausage knowledge...we can never know enough about those things...thank you.

                                                              I am just not good at finding things on this web site...glad you folks post the links..once I click on the link (sausage....) pardon the pun,then I can find other things to read. Just tricky for me to go back & find some things.

                                                              1. re: porker
                                                                mattstolz Jan 8, 2012 09:09 AM

                                                                I think I will most likely form patties, as i always end up cutting store-bought sausage out of the casing and crumbling it into recipes anyways. thank you for the explanations and the links!

                                                            2. b
                                                              brooklynkoshereater Jan 7, 2012 06:10 PM

                                                              I always make my own tomato sauce, barbecue marinades, soups, challahs, and brownies. I don't know if it's that it's cheaper, if it tastes better, or if i just plain enjoy doing it. i know my family values the homemade taste and work, and i enjoy doing it for them. on the other hand, my family loves fresh rotisserie and fried chicken from a take-out place in the neighborhood, so i would NEVER even bother making it myself.

                                                              1. Hank Hanover Jan 7, 2012 05:42 PM

                                                                Oops I just started a similar thread. I tried to see if there were similar threads before I posted.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                                  c
                                                                  cstout Jan 7, 2012 07:56 PM

                                                                  Hank...that's OK...the more the merrier..we will all visit back & forth.

                                                                2. s
                                                                  smtucker Jan 7, 2012 05:27 PM

                                                                  Easier to answer the other way around. Things I don't regularly make at home and buy prepared:

                                                                  crackers
                                                                  dry pasta
                                                                  "standard" jams
                                                                  peanut butter
                                                                  "everyday" bacon
                                                                  hot dog rolls
                                                                  butter
                                                                  pickles

                                                                  As to why I cook from "scratch" I do save money [but not time], I can control both the amount of salt which has spun out control and the quality of the salt, and same for oils. Since I control the ingredients, I can make things exactly as we like them. A good example is granola. We like sour cherries and cranberries, no oil, lots of almonds and just a few pecans. There is no commercial product that is made this way.

                                                                  I make bulk of some things, I freeze other things, and some things just need to be made to order.

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: smtucker
                                                                    t
                                                                    tonifi Jan 7, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                                    Over the years I have learned to make more and more of our staples at home. As a stay-at-home-mom I feel the need to justify my existence, and, of course, to save money. A few of the things we regularly make at home instead of buying ready-made are:

                                                                    Yogurt: Much, much better than store-bought. And, if you like the Greek-style (as we do), much, much cheaper. I use the drained-off whey to make....

                                                                    Bread: White and multi-grain. We do still buy the occasional bagels or sandwich loaves(when the kids want 'regular sandwiches' for school lunches...but I reckon I'm making 3/4 of our bread now, it was a learning curve, but failures became croutons or breadcrumbs, and I'm pretty good at it now.

                                                                    Jelly & jams: Not ALL of it, since my English-born husband sometimes yearns for the Cross & Blackwell of his childhood, but a lot of it. I make mostly crabapple (due to the availability of free fruit) and trade jars with friends who make other varieties.

                                                                    Bacon: This is my new thing, and I'm edging into it, but pork bellies are much cheaper by the pound and it really isn't difficult. The results thus far have been pretty darn good, this week I'm going to try tea-smoking some of it, we'll see how it goes.

                                                                    Vanilla sugar/extract: Seriously, you can get a lot of mileage out of a vanilla bean...stick it in a vat of sugar and you've got vanilla flavored sugar, then drop the dried-out pod into a bottle of cheap-ass booze and pretty soon you have vanilla extract. Dry it out one last time, pulverize it in the food processor, and add it to your...

                                                                    Granola: The greatest revelation of my personal make-it-at-home movement. smtucker is right, control is all...we like lots of nuts, no coconut. I use whatever nuts & fruits I find cheapest. A little less sugar, a little less oil. We were addicted to the granola from Black Bear, a local bakery cooperative, and it was six bucks for a small bag. Homemade granola rocks. You can make it in huge batches & freeze it in zipper lock bags for later use. If you don't do it yet, you should give it a try.

                                                                    I will admit that without the proper tools I wouldn't be doing quite so much of what I do, my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer made bread SO much easier...and I now have a commercial grade slicer (about 70 bucks at a 'hunting & fishing' type store), and I just got a small vacuum sealer (!!!) for Christmas, which has made slicing bread & bacon so much easier, and will now make storing them easier, too. I am motivated largely by cheapness, but there is something very gratifying about creating something good and knowing exactly what went into it.

                                                                    1. re: tonifi
                                                                      c
                                                                      cstout Jan 7, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                                      Stay at home mom....you are doing absolutely wonderful...I have seen some stay at home moms that would still open up some canned soup or whatever & just go on the same way as they did when they were working. Junk food out the gazoo, sodas & what not. You are doing the absolute right thing to be there for your children & doing all those things to provide quality & goodness for the family's body & soul.

                                                                      How do you make your granola? I would like to make some. One time I made some & it was so hard I could not eat it....just did not try any more. Maybe you have a secret...sure hope so!!!

                                                                      1. re: cstout
                                                                        s
                                                                        smtucker Jan 7, 2012 08:58 PM

                                                                        I used the Bittman recipe as a starting point. I am not a huge Bittman fan, but this recipe was easy to rework to our preference.

                                                                        http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                                                        1. re: smtucker
                                                                          c
                                                                          cstout Jan 7, 2012 09:11 PM

                                                                          smtucker,,,I just checked out the Bittman recipe...do you make home made nut butter? I would like to to that. Thank you. I will get some ingredients to try another batch of granola.

                                                                          1. re: cstout
                                                                            s
                                                                            smtucker Jan 8, 2012 05:35 AM

                                                                            We aren't big nut butter people, so I don't. Well there was the time I was making almond meal and let it go too long!

                                                                            1. re: smtucker
                                                                              mattstolz Jan 8, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                                              "not big nut butter people" actually exist??

                                                                              i always just thought the only people who didnt really like nut butters were the ones who hadnt tried them yet

                                                                            2. re: cstout
                                                                              q
                                                                              Querencia May 22, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                              We used to make our own peanut butter,. cstout---just put peanuts (with or without salt according to your taste) in the Cuisinart and let it run until they turn into peanut butter. This will definitely happen.

                                                                              1. re: Querencia
                                                                                c
                                                                                cstout May 22, 2012 11:42 AM

                                                                                Peanut butter - you don't have to add any type of oil? Seems to me it would be too dry. Do you use just regular peanuts or dry roasted or what?? Sounds so good right now...hmmmmm

                                                                                1. re: cstout
                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet May 24, 2012 04:52 PM

                                                                                  oil is only necessary if you prefer yours with that emulsified, completely uniform texture you get with commercially produced PB. once the processor or blender starts running, the heat & friction will help release the oils...but adding a tablespoon or so of oil can move things along.

                                                                                  if you're adding salt, wait until you've gotten it close to the desire consistency. same goes for dry sugar crystals, though if you want to use something like honey or other syrupy sweetener, you can add a little at the beginning which will also help the blending process.

                                                                                  i prefer dry-roasted peanuts for mine, but it's up to you. i would, however, recommend using unsalted peanuts and then salting the finished product to taste if you so desire.

                                                                            3. re: smtucker
                                                                              IndyGirl Jan 8, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                              I am so going to start doing this again. I used to, but stopped, ad I dont' really know why.

                                                                              1. re: IndyGirl
                                                                                IndyGirl Jan 8, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                Well, I made the Bittman recipe with my own alterations--less honey, more nuts, no fruit. It is awesome. Thanks so much for this great thread and for mentioning this great recpie!!

                                                                            4. re: cstout
                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Jan 8, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                              granola recipes:
                                                                              http://www.chow.com/search?query=granola+recipe&board_name=Home+Cooking&search_board_id=31&type=Topic&from_date=&board_parent=&search_board_id_btn=31&from_date_select=&user_name=&post_title=&search_board_id_btn_pop=31&sort_mode=best_match&recipe_source=

                                                                              nut butter:
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701069
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761304
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/359045
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/277447

                                                                              and while i'm at it, homemade nut milk:
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7401...

                                                                            5. re: tonifi
                                                                              MartiniGenie Jan 8, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                              Hi tonifi,
                                                                              Great that you are a stay at home mom, but check out how much you would get paid to do all that you do and you won't have to justify being one! (chef, personal shopper, networker, travel agent, maid, laundress, gardener & if kids, then chauffeur, life coach and child care worker)

                                                                          2. jmcarthur8 Jan 7, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                            I make my own jams, this year was strawberry, peach and pear.
                                                                            Red or any other pasta sauces.
                                                                            Chicken, turkey and shrimp stock.
                                                                            Croutons.
                                                                            Sparkling water.
                                                                            Barbeque sauce.
                                                                            Cookies, cakes, muffins.
                                                                            Corned beef (using my mother's recipe for corning)
                                                                            Chili powder and Italian seasoning (thanks to letsindulge for reminding me to list those!)
                                                                            Pesto.
                                                                            We put up corn relish, tomatoes, salsa, pickled green tomatoes, banana peppers, pickles and pears this summer.

                                                                            Some things are made as I need them; garden vegetables, jams, pesto and spice blends are made in larger quantities to last till next summer. My impetus is partly for the fresh flavors, partly for the pure and natural ingredients and partly because it costs less to do it my self.
                                                                            I cook most of our meals from scratch, as well, and for the same reasons.
                                                                            I often make homemade salad dressings, but we do keep bottled dressings around, too. Come to think of it, I don't know why!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8
                                                                              porker Jan 7, 2012 06:37 PM

                                                                              I like canning tomatoes as well. Not as much to save money (probably works out to the same $ as store bought) as having a much better product; I call it sunshine in a jar.
                                                                              I also do sausage. Again, it comes to about the same price as bought, but I get a much better product.
                                                                              Sausage making led to a dabbling of charcuterie; lonza, bacon, ham, cretons, pates, air dried sausage. These more for the love of the process than anything else.

                                                                              1. re: porker
                                                                                mattwarner Jan 7, 2012 10:14 PM

                                                                                We can tomatoes. Unless you get a bumper crop of your own or receive them from someone who does (we got a bushel from my partner's boss), they are not a dollar cost saving, even if they are amazing in the winter.

                                                                                1. re: mattwarner
                                                                                  porker Jan 8, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                  Thats my point.
                                                                                  I buy tomatoes from the public market when cheap and tasty in late August (we did 4 bushels this year, hoping to do more next year). We're enjoying them to the fullest right now with frigid temps outside. They're better than any store-bought and thats why I go to the trouble - not to save money.

                                                                            2. tim irvine Jan 7, 2012 04:24 PM

                                                                              Bread, mayo, salad dressings, marinades, broth, croutons, tomato sauce, vinegar (white and red), Garam masala, roasted peppers, hummus, jams, salsa, and probably more, but these with regularity. I wil admit, however, that from time to time I get store bought versions of these, too. one of my great duh moments was when I realized how easy it is to turn a half carton of berries into a little jam. I love mayonnaise and seriously think of the real thing and store bought as two completely different things.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: tim irvine
                                                                                c
                                                                                cstout Jan 7, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                                                berries into jam....please tell me how to make some berries into a little jam. Can you use any kind of berry?

                                                                                1. re: cstout
                                                                                  tim irvine Jan 7, 2012 04:47 PM

                                                                                  Add sugar to taste, a little water if needed, heat gently, let it simmer on very low heat. Basically the same thing as regular jam making on a much smaller scale and skip the canning part! Strawberries seem to work best. Blackberries and raspberries seem to need that little bit of water. It works with anything...peaches, apricots, berries, sliced oranges or limes for marmalade.

                                                                                  1. re: tim irvine
                                                                                    c
                                                                                    cstout Jan 7, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                                                    Can you make jam with frozen fruits? I have a bag of purchased mixed fruit that I could try this very minute if it will work.

                                                                                    1. re: cstout
                                                                                      mattwarner Jan 7, 2012 06:18 PM

                                                                                      You sure can! If they are coated in sugar, you may want to rinse them first.

                                                                                      1. re: mattwarner
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        cstout Jan 7, 2012 08:07 PM

                                                                                        Rinsing the sugar off the frozen fruit...just curious, why do I need to do that?

                                                                              2. letsindulge Jan 7, 2012 04:07 PM

                                                                                Things not mentioned so far that are better when home made and $ savers IMO are spice/seasoning blends (Cajun, blackened spice etc.), rubs, and marinades.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: letsindulge
                                                                                  c
                                                                                  cstout Jan 7, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                                                  Spice / seasoning blends...yes those are quite expensive, especially the "gourmet" ones. I am looking across the kitchen at one right now, "Kicked Up Chicken"...the only thing that needs to be kicked around here is my butt for being in a weak moment & buying that darn thing for seven bucks.

                                                                                  Excuse me while I try to attempt to kick myself....now stay right where you are at...I don't need any help with this. Thank you.

                                                                                  1. re: cstout
                                                                                    a
                                                                                    aleasan Jan 10, 2012 08:14 AM

                                                                                    I absolutely agree. this includes those little packets for tacos, beef stew, pot roast, etc. most are salt salt salt and very little actual flavor.

                                                                                    1. re: aleasan
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      sueatmo Jan 10, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                      Williams chili seasoning contains no salt. I assume that the other products also contain no salt. However it isn't economical to buy packets for one dish.

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                        a
                                                                                        aleasan Jan 10, 2012 02:49 PM

                                                                                        i'm not sure I know of Williams. mostly I'm thinking of McCormick. i could be wrong of course but nonetheless, i completely agree that they are not economical. plus, my blends just taste better! :-)

                                                                                      2. re: aleasan
                                                                                        melpy May 22, 2012 01:46 PM

                                                                                        I third this! I season with my spices not premadr packets.

                                                                                  2. o
                                                                                    oferl Jan 7, 2012 03:34 PM

                                                                                    Hi, Glad to join this discussion :-) Apart from baking, which is not my "cup of tea", i try to do as much as i can at home - stocks from poultry, fish and shellfish, veal of course, sauces and reductions, ice cream, sweets, fruit purees, jams, preserves and liquers, exceptionally good humus and other "spreads" and list can go on and on.. Apart from quality being incomparible with any "industrial" brand, this cooking way gives me also an opportunity to support many "smaller" local markets/speciallity stores for more basic ingredients, instead of the "big chains" let's call it, works just fine for me.

                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                      SydAll Jan 7, 2012 03:19 PM

                                                                                      Soup and bread, definitely!

                                                                                      1. e
                                                                                        escondido123 Jan 7, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          c
                                                                                          cstout Jan 7, 2012 04:17 PM

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

                                                                                        2. a
                                                                                          AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 7, 2012 02:59 PM

                                                                                          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. s
                                                                                            sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                                                            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
                                                                                              c
                                                                                              cstout Jan 7, 2012 02:56 PM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                linguafood Jan 7, 2012 03:18 PM

                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                  cstout Jan 7, 2012 04:12 PM

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

                                                                                                  1. re: cstout
                                                                                                    linguafood Jan 7, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                      cstout Jan 7, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                        hyde Jan 7, 2012 07:05 PM

                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                          cstout Jan 7, 2012 07:58 PM

                                                                                                          Antilope"s version of mayo...how would I find that recipe?

                                                                                                          1. re: cstout
                                                                                                            h
                                                                                                            hyde Jan 8, 2012 05:26 AM

                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                              cstout Jan 8, 2012 07:14 AM

                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                            IndyGirl Jan 8, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                                                            immersion blenders are the best!!

                                                                                                          3. re: cstout
                                                                                                            Barbara76137 Jan 7, 2012 07:24 PM

                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                              cstout Jan 8, 2012 09:15 AM

                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                The Chowhound Team Jan 9, 2012 12:40 PM

                                                                                                                Just a quick request that follow-up discussion of brands of Immersion Blenders move over to the Cookware board ( http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/41 ). Post a link here so people can find you over there.

                                                                                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                  cstout Jan 9, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                    sueatmo Jan 9, 2012 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                    See you there! I go there a lot.

                                                                                                            2. re: cstout
                                                                                                              melpy Jan 8, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                nomadchowwoman Jan 9, 2012 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  Maggiethecat May 24, 2012 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                  I use my immersion blender for all sorts of things:

                                                                                                                  salad dressing, as mentioned above
                                                                                                                  smoothies
                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                    coll May 25, 2012 03:18 AM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      Antilope May 25, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                        herby May 25, 2012 07:35 PM

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

                                                                                                                2. re: cstout
                                                                                                                  mamachef Jan 7, 2012 06:10 PM

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

                                                                                                              2. re: cstout
                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 05:13 PM

                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                  Barbara76137 Jan 7, 2012 07:21 PM

                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                    rasputina Jan 7, 2012 08:36 PM

                                                                                                                    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. r
                                                                                                                  rasputina Jan 7, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                  I can my own stock and make
                                                                                                                  bbq sauce
                                                                                                                  marinara
                                                                                                                  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. e
                                                                                                                    escondido123 Jan 7, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                                    Show Hidden Posts