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What normally storebought items would you only ever make from scratch?

LaureltQ Nov 11, 2013 02:57 PM

Less chowhoundy people tend to buy a lot of easy-to-make stuff prepackaged in the grocery store.

What are your items that wouldn't fly in your house if they weren't made from scratch?

In my house:
Caesar dressing and any type of vinaigrette
Mayo
Cakes
Stock (chicken, beef, etc)
Gravy (I have no idea if people other than my friend buy this in jars)
Pasta Sauce

  1. The Oracle Nov 11, 2013 03:02 PM

    Pie Crust

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Oracle
      LaureltQ Nov 15, 2013 07:50 AM

      This - DEFINITELY

    2. Veggo Nov 11, 2013 03:04 PM

      pico de gallo
      chimichurri
      mustard sauce for stone crabs
      sofrito

      6 Replies
      1. re: Veggo
        k
        Kontxesi Nov 12, 2013 04:42 PM

        +1 on pico de gallo

        1. re: Kontxesi
          c oliver Nov 12, 2013 06:01 PM

          I've never seen commercial pico de gallo. My Latino market makes it fresh and sells it but I don't think that counts as "commercial."

          1. re: c oliver
            fldhkybnva Nov 13, 2013 07:53 AM

            I'm not sure if it counts as commercial, but the local Whole Foods and Wegmans seem to make it fresh also they carry a few from local restaurants.

            1. re: fldhkybnva
              c oliver Nov 13, 2013 08:13 AM

              I wouldn't call the stuff made inhouse as commercial.

              1. re: c oliver
                fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 10:44 AM

                Me neither.

              2. re: fldhkybnva
                g
                GTM Nov 17, 2013 02:19 PM

                My Wegmans, a lovely store with great customer service, has a great Mediterranean food bar where everything is $8.50/lb and over, including said pico de gallo.

                Which is chopped plum tomato [$1.19 lb in winter, 79c summer], onion yellow, red, 49-99 c, your choice of green chile $2.29 (serrano, jalapeno)-6.99 (thai), cilantro ($2/lg bunch) and lime (3.69/2lbs) etc. My labor and convenience value, ??? I prefer the freshness of my own tomatoes cut with my own hands under my own eyes! Takes me about 5 minutes to cut the tomatoes, onions etc.and these fixings are things I always have on hand. So, such fresh salsas definitely are cheaper for me to make at home, especially in any quantity.

                Marinated olives, green ones especially. So expensive in deli cases! Preserved lemons, too. Pickled beets.

                Modified Lebanese salads, where I reduce the amount of parsley, and add more legumes and veggies to my taste.

                All egg, tuna and chicken salads: I blanch when I see pans of such sitting under lights in deli cases, the tops drying out and turning brownish at the corners, in even the best stores.

                Many Indian snacks & mains some might prefer to purchase frozen or to order out.

                Green and red thai curry paste, when the rare mood strikes.

                Fresh grated coconut: it is a hassle, but essential for Indian sweets, and mandatory for any food used as votive offerings.

        2. j
          janehathaway Nov 11, 2013 03:05 PM

          I made pretty much everything at home. Off the top of my head:

          All bread
          Ice cream
          Pasta sauce
          Stock
          Mac and cheese

          1. MidwesternerTT Nov 11, 2013 03:06 PM

            Taco seasoning

            Cinnamon Sugar - I had no idea that everybody didn't mix their own until I saw a cannister in the store a couple of years ago.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MidwesternerTT
              l
              LorenzoGA Nov 11, 2013 03:16 PM

              You mean there exists something called "taco seasoning" that one could buy from a store?

              1. re: LorenzoGA
                fldhkybnva Nov 11, 2013 04:06 PM

                I agree, once I started making my own taco seasoning, I haven't looked back at store mixed packets with mystery ingredients.

                1. re: LorenzoGA
                  KaimukiMan Nov 12, 2013 06:11 PM

                  sure, mccormick, shilling, etc. all make "taco seasoning" and they try to convince us its different than the fajita seasoning and the burrito seasoning, and the chicken fajita seasoning, and the . . . it may be, but if you read the ingredient list they are VERY similar.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                    fldhkybnva Nov 13, 2013 07:54 AM

                    I always tried to figure out how they were different, I just assumed the proportions were different somehow.

              2. weezieduzzit Nov 11, 2013 03:08 PM

                Stock, soups, gravy, mayo, salad dressings, sauces...I'm sure I'll think of more. :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: weezieduzzit
                  melpy Nov 17, 2013 01:29 PM

                  Soup definitely!

                2. m
                  mwhitmore Nov 11, 2013 03:11 PM

                  Cookies.

                  1. r
                    rainey Nov 11, 2013 03:12 PM

                    I tried making my own mustard 3 or 4 years ago. Haven't bought any since.

                    This year I started making my own yogurt. There's nothing in a store like it. I don't think I'll ever buy it again.

                    I've been baking bread for 40 years or so. At first it was pretty recreational. Later I got more interested and wanted to try a wide variety so it was exciting searching down recipes and seeing what I could do. Eventually I learned how to make a great crunchy crust. Less and less reason to buy. Recently I bought a loaf my husband liked. It was $6 for something I could make for $2 at most. So I may buy a particular kind of bread or be caught in a bread emergency but I'm not planning on buying it anymore.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: rainey
                      The Oracle Nov 12, 2013 10:01 AM

                      Do you have a bread recipe you'd recommend for simple white sandwich bread? My husband likes using white bread for peanut butter sandwiches and I would LOVE to make the bread.

                      1. re: The Oracle
                        r
                        rainey Nov 12, 2013 10:10 AM

                        My favorite simple white bread is James Beard's Buttermilk White Bread. Here's my version which deletes a lot of the extra yeast Beard was using back in the 60s and substitutes a sponge. You can use white whole wheat flour for half or more of the bread flour for a heartier loaf but it sounds like soft white bread is what your husband's looking for.

                        Use the basic amounts for a single loaf or the amounts in parenthesis for 2 loaves or a large braided loaf.

                        Buttermilk White Bread

                        • 1/4 tsp. yeast, (1/4 tsp)
                        • 1 tablespoon sugar, (1 1/2 tbs)
                        • 1/2 cup warm water, (1 cup)
                        • 1 cup unbleached hard wheat flour, (2 cups)
                        • 3 cup unbleached hard wheat flour, (6 cups)
                        • 1/4 tsp. yeast, (1/4 tsp)
                        • 1 tablespoon salt , (1 1/2 tbs)
                        • 3 tablespoon melted butter, (6 tbs)
                        • 1 to 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, (2 to 3 cups)

                        1. Combine the yeast, sugar, water and 1 (2) cup flour on the "Dough" cycle of breadmaker and allow to proof to create the sponge. Allow to ferment for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

                        2. Add remaining ingredients to sponge and process on "Dough" cycle.

                        3. Place in buttered bread pan(s), hand form loaf(ves) or shape rolls. Bake in a 375˚ oven for approximately 40 minutes for bread or 18 to 20 minutes for rolls.

                        4. For a soft crust, brush with melted butter when removed from oven. Place a tea towel over and allow to cool in the retained steam.

                        5. Makes 1 loaf or 16 rolls as given but amounts in parenthesis yield 2 loaves and twice as many rolls.

                        The double recipe makes a beautiful braided loaf that I make for our T-day leftover turkey sandwiches. ; >

                        1. re: rainey
                          The Oracle Nov 12, 2013 10:20 AM

                          Thank you so much! Any ideas for how to process the dough without a bread maker?

                          1. re: The Oracle
                            r
                            rainey Nov 12, 2013 11:31 AM

                            Check the link to the JB recipe below. It will have standard bread procedures that will work for you.

                            Is this your first bread? It was one of my first too and all this time later it's still a great recipe. Your husband will be so impressed!

                            If you like the Buttermilk White, "Beard on Bread" is still a great bread resource even if American bread baking has matured and many of Beard's techniques can be updated with even better results.

                            I recommend his Cheese Bread for knock-your-socks off toast. You can add a lot more cheese than he starts with and make it with part or all sharp cheddar for great flavor. I add a shot of hot sauce too. And I also recommend his English Muffin loaf for great starter recipes. Both are good as sandwich bread and for toast.

                          2. re: rainey
                            b
                            BangorDin Nov 12, 2013 11:26 AM

                            Your instructions and ingredients are a little confusing, must be from your personal notes?
                            Here's a recipe for this bread
                            http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1998...

                            1. re: BangorDin
                              r
                              rainey Nov 12, 2013 12:04 PM

                              Oops! Sorry.

                              They make sense to me 'cause I've used the recipe so many times and been there for each step in the evolution.

                              Thanks for supplying another version. I'm sure there are more. It's a great basic recipe that you can really play with.

                          3. re: The Oracle
                            r
                            rainey Nov 12, 2013 11:21 AM

                            Forgot to say I actually do use the bread machine for the dough but, of course, you can do this with a stand mixer or by hand using ordinary methods I'm sure you're familiar with.

                            And if you'd prefer James Beard's original recipe it's here: http://www.loulies.com/buttermilk_use... His recipe is faster to be sure but has more of the "yeast" flavor and less of the complex sugars/alcohol flavor of a preferment.

                        2. tim irvine Nov 11, 2013 03:14 PM

                          We make most of those things ourselves, but the spouse has started buying Dukes mayonnaise because raw eggs make her nervous. Also sometimes we will have jar of pasta sauce, but it definitely gets doctored.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tim irvine
                            g
                            GTM Nov 17, 2013 02:44 PM

                            If you have a cheap electronic thermocouple probe thermometer, like a Taylor, and can doctor up a slow cooker to keep a volume of water to stay between 140-150F, then eggs placed in this bath for roughly 50 minutes will come out pasteurized. The results will not be as fine as professionally pasteurized eggs, but at $ 1.50 -2.50/doz for good free range eggs, you can certainly use the yolks with a measure of confidence. Plus, you will be putting some acidic Dijon mustard into the beaten yolk and a bit of lemon juice in the yolks before you begin to whip in the oil.

                            The slightly gelatinized egg whites, post the pasteurization process, should not be wasted. They will whip up to a froth, but will take longer, and the structure will be a little less generous than fresh egg whites. Still, they are quite usable, and most certainly in omelets and other egg dishes.

                            With 12 egg yolks you can emulsify 6- 12 cups of oil, depending on how eggy you like your mayonnaise. 6 cups is a decent quantity for a small party, as this type should not be kept long, not more than 2 days at most. A 12 hour limit is better.

                          2. l
                            LorenzoGA Nov 11, 2013 03:14 PM

                            My wife grew up in a family that never bought mayo from a store and refuses to allow store-bought mayo in the house. It really does take only five minutes, and we know exactly what's in it. I'm a convert.

                            Sorry I don't have anything new to add to your list--except for cakes, that looks much like our list would.

                            1. r
                              rainey Nov 11, 2013 03:20 PM

                              Oh, I didn't read your premise very well.

                              I do just about all our baking. In fact, I do most food from scratch. That doesn't mean I won't buy stuff. I make a mean tomato sauce but there are a lot of really good tomato sauces that save me time so I don't have any religion about buying when it works for me.

                              I guess my bottom line is I buy if someone makes better than I do. I keep a certain amount of "ready" foods for emergencies. But if we'd be disappointed or be spending too much I make things. That's pretty much anything baked, soups, sauces, etc.

                              I buy cereal, pasta (it's fun to make but), broths, mayo (I could never keep up with my family), ethnic foods that are unfamiliar to me.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: rainey
                                1sweetpea Nov 11, 2013 03:28 PM

                                I will not buy commercial pesto, salad dressings, hummus, tzatziki, babaganouj or guacamole. I have jarred salsa for those times when someone wants a little on a burger or for their chips, but if I'm making anything remotely Mexican that calls for a salsa, I'll make it from scratch. Ditto chimichurri, gravy and dips of all ethnicities.

                                I don't bake often, but when I do, everything is from scratch, even pumpkin puree for a pumpkin pie.

                                1. re: 1sweetpea
                                  t
                                  tardigrade Nov 13, 2013 04:57 PM

                                  I gave up buying bottled salad dressing because every time I found one I liked it was discontinued. I usually have a jar of commercial salsa on hand, but lately it seems to go bad before we get to the bottom of it. Pestos vary: one local grocer carries a locally made one that's pricey but very, very good; some fresh ones are OK, bottled ones not so much. I have yet to encounter a commercial guacamole that's better than the ones I make. I can pick up a tub of hummus or babaganouj at the local gyro place.

                                  I made a pumpkin pie starting from a pumpkin once. It tasted OK, but it was weirdly pale.

                              2. linguafood Nov 11, 2013 03:27 PM

                                Sriracha mayo and wasabi mayo. Though I hardly ever make the latter.

                                 
                                 
                                4 Replies
                                1. re: linguafood
                                  t
                                  tastesgoodwhatisit Nov 12, 2013 06:25 PM

                                  I've recently discovered miso mayo, which makes a tasty dip - we had it served with grilled water bamboo.

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    LaureltQ Nov 15, 2013 07:56 AM

                                    I am confused why anyone would buy those. Why not just add sriracha and wasabi powder to mayo?

                                    I tend to overfill my fridge, so space devoted to specialty condiments that can easily be assembled by things I already have is generally not afforded.

                                    Are either of them better than the "homemade" equivalent?

                                    1. re: LaureltQ
                                      linguafood Nov 15, 2013 09:10 AM

                                      Funny you would mention that. A while ago, I'd actually created an original post on the GT board with the title "Stupid (people) food", after having been inspired by the sight of these two 'products' in the international (!) section of Wegmans.

                                      I was stunned to see such idiocy for sale, when all it takes is 30 seconds of adding a squirt of sriracha / wasabi paste or powder to mayonnaise at home.

                                      You'd be surprised at the beating I got, from being called a snob to suggesting that I "probably made all of my condiments from scratch" (I don't). Oh, and apparently suggesting to mix two readily available condiments is also judgmental :-D

                                      I never suggested people should make their own mayo or hot sauce at home, or grate their own wasabi.

                                      Oh well.

                                      1. re: linguafood
                                        g
                                        GTM Nov 17, 2013 03:03 PM

                                        There was a very funny episode of Rumpole on PBS, where that barrister takes a dig at American dietary preferences. With his scathing and very dry wit, he expresses astonishment at the fact that a simple mixture of "salad cream" and ketchup, i.e. Thousand Island dressing, should exercise such a hold on the collective US imagination and bring forth such collective ingenuity in its marketing. I cannot possibly communicate the sarcasm and irony that Rumpole manages in a few words and his inimitable delivery!!!! See if you can find it in a library.

                                        The other sad thing is garam masala, pushed by so many cookbook authors. About some, the less said the better. So, people are mislead into using inappropriate mixes for different styles or regional cuisines, and buying stale and inappropriate mixes that have no value at all.

                                        Ground black pepper in cans or bottles are a third item that should be prepared at home by all, with the aid of a very fine pepper mill, or even a cheap coffee grinder.

                                  2. sandiasingh Nov 11, 2013 03:29 PM

                                    Easier to list what I don't make at home--Asian bottled sauces, coconut milk, Indian pickles, etc., pasta and dairy products.

                                    We make all stocks and broths, cakes, breads, mustard, hummus, pasta sauce, chutney, everything from scratch and all organic. Rarely eat out. Our food is much better.

                                    1. s
                                      sweetpotater Nov 11, 2013 03:35 PM

                                      All soups and stocks

                                      Salad dressings (one exception for the occasional bottle of poppyseed vinaigrette from a local farmstand)

                                      Anything pickled

                                      Any baked dessert (though we wind up scraping the bottoms off many things; I blame the oven in our new house)

                                      Jam

                                      Pasta sauce

                                      Barbecue sauce

                                      Almond milk

                                      Used to be ice cream....

                                      1. c oliver Nov 11, 2013 03:36 PM

                                        We do house exchanges and have petsitters stay and the two things they almost always leave are salad dressings and barbecue sauce. Periodically I throw them out.

                                        1. k
                                          kseiverd Nov 11, 2013 03:48 PM

                                          I'm cooking for 1, and went thru a stage where I was trying prepared/frozen stuff... ONLY if I had a GREAT coupon. Stouffer's makes a few frozen entrees that aren't bad at all... like stuffed peppers & lasagna... but NOT like home-made.

                                          Though soup is almost always home-made, I don't pass up a good sale on Progresso kinda that I like.

                                          Have NEVER bought canned stew, chili, or sloppy joes.

                                          Pie crust:me::garlic: Dracula!?! Will opt for frozen every time.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: kseiverd
                                            k
                                            Kontxesi Nov 12, 2013 04:46 PM

                                            I've made lasagna from scratch exactly once. It was very good, but I didn't think it was so much better than Stouffer's that I needed to put that much time into it.

                                            1. re: Kontxesi
                                              c oliver Nov 12, 2013 06:02 PM

                                              I make Hazan's Green Lasagna and since eating it won't eat any other. If hers is lasagna I don't know what all that other stuff is :)

                                              1. re: Kontxesi
                                                ttoommyy Nov 13, 2013 03:44 AM

                                                Sorry to be so blunt, but if it was not much better than Stouffers, then you made it wrong.

                                              2. re: kseiverd
                                                melpy Nov 17, 2013 01:37 PM

                                                Stew, chili, lasagne and stuffed peppers are always from scratch.

                                              3. s
                                                sueatmo Nov 11, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                Pie crust and salad dressing. Why anyone would waste money on premade salad dressing that never tastes fresh, I have no idea.

                                                I never buy pies either. Every so often I bake us one. Same with cakes. I never buy cakes, ever.

                                                I also never buy pre made salad and almost never buy pre cut fruit.

                                                I can't imagine why anyone would buy cinnamon sugar and I've stopped buying taco seasoning.

                                                1. f
                                                  foodieX2 Nov 11, 2013 03:57 PM

                                                  I would so for me this is a "never say never" deal.

                                                  For example-99% of the time I make my own pizzas but that doesn't mean we won't eat a take out pie now and again.

                                                  Its fun to make my own pasta but I would say at least 75% of time its store bought.

                                                  Bread- we all prefer homemade but we still keep a loaf or two of potato bread in the freezer.

                                                  The more I think about I guess in my family we won't refuse to eat something just because it isn't homemade. We may prefer the homemade version but are realistic that it doesn't always happen.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: foodieX2
                                                    juliejulez Nov 11, 2013 04:41 PM

                                                    Same here... I really like making my own stuff like salsas, chimichurri, dressings, sauces, baked goods etc., but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day.

                                                  2. girloftheworld Nov 11, 2013 03:58 PM

                                                    these little browines came by our house collecting cans for the food pantry the other day... and I realized the only thing we had in there was flour some sardines, tuna, oils , tea and some matzo...because most of what we do is from scratch,,,

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: girloftheworld
                                                      weezieduzzit Nov 11, 2013 04:09 PM

                                                      We had a similar incident that led me to realize that if there were an emergency we'd be screwed (this is earthquake country.) Now we do have some canned items but they are only there "just in case" and not even kept in the kitchen where space is too precious to give up. When I think they've been there too long they will be donated before they expire and new ones will replace them.

                                                    2. chefathome Nov 11, 2013 04:11 PM

                                                      All dressings, vinaigrettes, sauces, dips, usually stocks, seasoning blends, almost always various ketchups and mustards, salsa, various pesto, hummus, roasted red peppers, gravies, all baking, jams, jellies, chutneys, soups, vanilla extract...

                                                      1. k
                                                        kitchengardengal Nov 11, 2013 05:30 PM

                                                        I make my own jams and preserves and I put up pears when someone gives me a basket of them.
                                                        We grow and can our own cucumber and pepper products - pickles, sweet and dill, relishes (sweet and dill, but mostly sweet). Banana peppers and pickled green tomatoes.
                                                        I make my own Italian herb blend and chili powder. I grow my own rosemary and dry it.

                                                        I don't ever buy pie, cake, cookies or muffins. I make my own stocks and gravies.
                                                        I make my flavored vinegars. This season I did blackberry and peach vinegars for use in salad dressings.

                                                        Frozen yogurt and sherbet and ice cream. We make one or another almost every week in the summer.
                                                        Since my sister gave me a bread machine two weeks ago, I haven't bought a loaf of bread, either.

                                                        Several people mentioned mayo. I have made it successfully in the past, but last time it was a disaster. I think I've gotten gun shy! I am determined to try again, as you all have given me hope that it can be done!
                                                        What's easier to make successfully, a small batch of mayo ( say a cup or so) or a bigger batch?

                                                        1. n
                                                          nurban Nov 11, 2013 07:08 PM

                                                          vinegar! homemade is better than anything
                                                          yogurt
                                                          all breads, including sourdough (have years-old starter, eep, probably needs feeding right now)
                                                          stock
                                                          soymilk
                                                          kimchi

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: nurban
                                                            c oliver Nov 11, 2013 08:28 PM

                                                            I have to ask. Vinegar has been mentioned here. How does one make vinegar?

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              n
                                                              nurban Nov 11, 2013 08:48 PM

                                                              It's not at all complicated, and I recommend it, mostly a matter of time, because you have to get your culture started, and then give it time to work, and then ideally give the finished vinegar a bit of time to age. But it's so much better than store-bought that it's absolutely worth it.
                                                              Lots of great online resources, including

                                                              http://blogs.gangofpour.com/vinegar-f...

                                                              Basically you get yourself a starter culture (from, e.g., a wine/beer supply place), called a "mother" (and if you're in the Bay Area I'll happily provide you with one); feed it periodically with decent wine, keeping it in a light-proof, wide-mouthed vessel with a cloth over the top to keep dust, bugs etc out. I started with red wine vinegar, but from that (with the same culture) branched out to white wine, cider, sherry, and others. All delicious!
                                                              If you want more information let me know.

                                                              1. re: nurban
                                                                c oliver Nov 11, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                                Wow! This is very cool. Thanks a lot for sharing your expertise.

                                                                May I suggest that you start a thread on this?

                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                  n
                                                                  nurban Nov 11, 2013 09:29 PM

                                                                  I'm surprised there isn't one already!

                                                          2. f
                                                            Funkalicious Nov 11, 2013 08:39 PM

                                                            I after i learn how easy it is to make Dijon Mustard, and taste so much better I can't do the storebought mustard anymore

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Funkalicious
                                                              k
                                                              kmlmgm Nov 12, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                              Love Dijon! It's so expensive to buy (good ones, that is). What is you recipe, please?

                                                              1. re: kmlmgm
                                                                fldhkybnva Nov 13, 2013 07:54 AM

                                                                Do you have a Trader Joe's nearby? They make a wonderful Dijon, it's a bit on the spicy side but great

                                                              2. re: Funkalicious
                                                                Emme Nov 12, 2013 08:49 PM

                                                                would you mind sharing your recipe pretty please?

                                                              3. p
                                                                Pookipichu Nov 11, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                                The only thing I never buy is pasta sauce (that includes pesto). Pasta sauce is always made from scratch.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Pookipichu
                                                                  KaimukiMan Nov 12, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                                  Same for mee Pookipichu. I like to make various things from scratch including pie crusts, cakes, dressing, some sauces, but I have absolutely no aversion to store-bought on many items. I always have cream of mushroom soup in the "pantry" cupboard, and a variety of canned beans, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned corn, canned chili, etc. I will occasionally buy spaghetti sauce if it's on sale, but it never gets left undoctored,and often after doctoring it, it has taken as much time as doing it from scratch - mind you I count using canned tomatoes and tomato sauce/paste as making it from scratch. I do not have a back yard or a nearby community garden to grow my own tomatoes and garlic or onion, etc. And at the price of fresh tomatoes in Honolulu . . . about 4.50 a pound

                                                                2. w
                                                                  wontonfm Nov 11, 2013 09:00 PM

                                                                  vanilla extract and pie crust

                                                                  WON
                                                                  http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                                  1. t
                                                                    tardigrade Nov 11, 2013 10:09 PM

                                                                    Bread crumbs. We have a number of local bakeries producing decent loaves of bread, and since it' usually very dry here, it goes rock hard real quickly (one of the bakeries actually prints instructions on what to do with old baguettes: after a day, croutons; after two days, use it to hammer nails), almost always before we can finish it. I put the dried out pieces in my special bread-smacking bag (made from leftover fabric scraps that go through the washer nicely) and pound them with a rubber mallet until they're mostly small pieces. These I throw in the blender until they're reduced to crumbs.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: tardigrade
                                                                      c oliver Nov 12, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                                      Definitely bread crumbs. Mine aren't THAT hard so the FP does the trick quite well.

                                                                      1. re: tardigrade
                                                                        d
                                                                        DebinIndiana Nov 16, 2013 01:44 PM

                                                                        "bread-smacking bag"

                                                                        Wonderful!

                                                                        1. re: DebinIndiana
                                                                          girloftheworld Nov 17, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                          this could be the next big kitchen gadget...

                                                                      2. d
                                                                        Dcfoodblog Nov 11, 2013 10:10 PM

                                                                        jam, pickles, nutella

                                                                        1. letsindulge Nov 11, 2013 10:17 PM

                                                                          Rubs, marinades, spice mixes, soups, mixers, and whipped cream, to name a few.

                                                                          1. h
                                                                            hheath9h Nov 12, 2013 12:41 AM

                                                                            I love to cook, but I love to cook when I have time. I don't enjoy working a 12-14 hour shift and coming home to make homemade everything just because. My husband does laugh because I do always "upgrade" my food. Fresh shaved Parmesan and ground pepper or a sprinkle of really good salt to finish can turn the boring frozen Macaroni Grille lasagna into a decent meal. I do usually make dressings, cakes/desserts, pie crust, pasta sauces, taco seasoning, stocks and pretty much everything from scratch. I always use Hellman's. We don't keep any kind of premade snack food really except for nuts/ cheeses. I do occasionally keep something frozen in case I did not plan ahead for quick dinners on the days I am working, but on days off we eat really well. The one premade/packaged food I usually have on hand is a package of ghirardelli brownie mix. I just prefer them to my scratch brownies, and I can upgrade them too by adding different good chocolate or mints ect...

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: hheath9h
                                                                              h
                                                                              hheath9h Nov 12, 2013 02:36 PM

                                                                              Oh, and shredded cheese , vanilla extract, bottled lemon or lime, and bread crumbs.

                                                                              1. re: hheath9h
                                                                                c oliver Nov 12, 2013 06:03 PM

                                                                                I've never understood shredded cheese. Is there anything any easier to do...and in large quantities.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  fldhkybnva Nov 13, 2013 07:55 AM

                                                                                  I can't believe I used to buy shredded cheese covered in strange powdery anti-caking agents. Shredded cheese is so easy.

                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                    h
                                                                                    hheath9h Nov 18, 2013 05:32 PM

                                                                                    For me it just doesn't melt well at all, and it really is quick to grate.

                                                                            2. Monica Nov 12, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                                              American style cakes like carrot cake, cupcakes, chocolate cakes.

                                                                              1. c
                                                                                casinsepa Nov 12, 2013 11:49 AM

                                                                                Another thing that's ridiculously easy to make is sauerkraut. It's two ingredients--cabbage and salt. I always have a crock of it sitting around fermenting.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: casinsepa
                                                                                  ttoommyy Nov 12, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                                                  It may be "ridiculously easy to make" and yes, that great if you use a lot of it. We eat sauerkraut about 4 times a year, so making it just for those times would not be worth it for me, even if it is easy. Sometimes buying something pre-made is just easier and more convenient. Nothing wrong with that.

                                                                                2. v
                                                                                  valerie Nov 12, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                  Pesto. I make it all summer long and keep it in small batches in the freezer for the winter months.

                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                    shellie76 Nov 12, 2013 04:39 PM

                                                                                    Buttermilk dressing, chili, sspaghetti sauce, any gravies, sauces. Cheese sauces, Jellies, syrup, bread n butter pickles, broth of any kind, creams, buttermilk, cream of anything, cakes, biscuits, pancakes or waffles, breakfast burrito or any burritos for that fact. Alfredo creams. Mac n cheese....
                                                                                    lol my family would check my pulse if any of these things were bought. Raised in the country makes living like this relatively easy. I snuck in instant potatoes and after dinner I caught my husband going through my potato bin thinking a rotted potatoe somehow was in the mix... l o l he said the potatoes tasted funny!!!

                                                                                    1. j
                                                                                      jaykayen Nov 12, 2013 04:47 PM

                                                                                      American baked dessert type things, like sliced loaf cake and cookies. I always feel like I can taste the baking powder in grocery cakes.

                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit Nov 12, 2013 06:46 PM

                                                                                        Most of the common ones - the only salad dressing I buy premade is Japanese roasted sesame. I sometimes make mayo, and sometimes buy it, depending on circumstances. I make dips, in general (hummus, tatziki, dill dip, bean dip, guacamole, salsa). Soup is always from scratch, as is gravy, pesto, all pasta sauces, barbeque sauce.

                                                                                        I do make my own lard and ghee.

                                                                                        There's some stuff which I will do either, depending on circumstances - yoghurt (can take two or more days to ferment, so it depends on how urgently I want it). Stock - we have limited freezer/fridge space, so it's a mix of home-made and canned, depending on the recipe. Mayo - sometimes homemade, but I have pre-made in the fridge, and tend to use them for different recipes.

                                                                                        Baking - we don't eat desserts regularly, and only have a toaster oven, so sweet bready stuff is usually purchased, although I always make pies from scratch, and sometimes make cookies, muffins and so on.

                                                                                        I have made jams and pickles, but it's very difficult to get canning equipment here (it costs more for the empty jar than it does to buy a jar of jam) and we don't have much storage space, so I don't do it regularly. I make quick pickles quite often (currently there's pickled onion and pickled daikon in the fridge), and make some hot sauce. I've made Indian pickles on occasion, but sometimes buy.

                                                                                        I rarely buy mixes or convenience foods, but I do cart a few boxes of Kraft Dinner back from international trips, and occasionally like a can of ravioli.

                                                                                        I do buy some pre-made condiments - dijon mustard, tonkatsu sauce, dashi, wasabi, some Chinese sauces. I've made home-made ketchup and like it, but it's not worth the effort for something I use maybe once a month.

                                                                                        Western breadcrumbs I make myself, panko I buy.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                          f
                                                                                          foodieX2 Nov 12, 2013 06:54 PM

                                                                                          I give you credit for only having a toaster oven. I lived with out a real oven for a couple of weeks, I have never taken it for granted since! I was not able to get the same results in a toaster oven. Lasagna, bread, pizza all suffered. Granted it was basic toaster oven not like some out there today.

                                                                                        2. tonyabbo Nov 12, 2013 06:48 PM

                                                                                          clam chowder!

                                                                                          1. Emme Nov 12, 2013 08:56 PM

                                                                                            for me, it's a list like many others…

                                                                                            --baked goods/pie crusts/ all desserts really -though OH likes to buy ice cream from time to time and giant ice pops
                                                                                            --breads
                                                                                            --pasta (we probably have an emergency bag in the back of the cupboard, and some emergency wonton skins in the freezer, (and some gluten free pasta for when the mood randomly strikes me), but i find it soothing to make it and roll it out)
                                                                                            --butter - for OH's personal consumption
                                                                                            --salad dressing
                                                                                            --gravy
                                                                                            --pasta sauce

                                                                                            1. tcamp Nov 13, 2013 08:13 AM

                                                                                              Short list here. Maybe in retirement I can be more diligent about everything from scratch but now, I'm no purist. That said, I do make my own vanilla, dry rubs, marinades, salad dressings, pesto, gravy, and cakes as they are SO MUCH better than storebought. Other things, like mustard, mayo, salsa, jams, pasta sauces, I have made but also buy.

                                                                                              1. j
                                                                                                John Francis Nov 13, 2013 02:04 PM

                                                                                                None. Making from scratch at my place is an option, not a commandment. :-)

                                                                                                1. westsidegal Nov 13, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                                                                  cooked legumes because to my palate there is a horrible taste and smell associated with canned legumes (there is a reason no decent middle-eastern or mexican restaurant would let a can of beans enter their place)

                                                                                                  any dish made with fresh tomato because to my palate tomatoes get flavorless and mealy when they are refrigerated. (this would include pico de gallo, salsa cruda, etc. no prepacaged salads that include fresh tomato in my house.)

                                                                                                  any sauce that depends on the flavor of fresh ginger or fresh garlic because, to my palate, those flavors never do well after having been through the process of jarring or canning.

                                                                                                  1. Savour Nov 13, 2013 03:56 PM

                                                                                                    My list is pretty similar to yours, except for stock. I found a boxed broth I really like and I use it a lot. My husband came to me last week and said, "Can we just make one nod to normalcy and have a jar of spaghetti sauce and a bottle of salad dressing?": I bought them to make him happy, but that stuff is gross. Have you read the ingredients list for bottled salad dressing lately?

                                                                                                    1. fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                                                      Thanks for the reminder, I thought of this thread when I dropped a tub of roasted pepper and feta spread in my cart this morning and then thought "why the heck am I buying this, it'd be so easy to make at home" and back on the shelf it went.

                                                                                                      1. Meowzerz Nov 15, 2013 06:17 PM

                                                                                                        Pesto... Certain dressings... Baba ganouj.... Do mashed potatoes count? I never had instant mashed potatoes until a month ago. My boyfriend had never had real mashed potatoes until eating at my mom's house haha. P.S. they sucked

                                                                                                        1. melpy Nov 17, 2013 01:28 PM

                                                                                                          Agree with salad dressing, gravy, pasta sauce, and stock most if the time.

                                                                                                          1. MamasCooking Nov 17, 2013 02:10 PM

                                                                                                            Corn bread .... gravy ...soups.... cookies.... lemonade ( I have a lemon tree) coffee has to be freshly ground and French pressed.... most salad dressings tarter sauce dipping sauce and vinaigrettes ...pasta sauces ....most legumes....marinades.....spice/seasoning rubs....garlic....onion...pepper...and all salad items have to be fresh (never pre sliced....bagged or frozen) and processed at home or they will be snubbed.NO frozen waffles...pancakes.....French toast!!!!! Breadcrumbs...croutons.......stuffing for chicken and pork roasts......applesauce.

                                                                                                            1. PotatoHouse Nov 17, 2013 03:37 PM

                                                                                                              Pies
                                                                                                              cakes (and NO, A BOX MIX DOES NOT COUNT!!)
                                                                                                              frostings
                                                                                                              cheesecakes
                                                                                                              peppermint patties
                                                                                                              creme brulee
                                                                                                              pancakes (see cakes addendum)
                                                                                                              limoncello
                                                                                                              pasta sauces
                                                                                                              mac and cheese
                                                                                                              granola
                                                                                                              hollandaise sauce
                                                                                                              gravies
                                                                                                              and pretty much everything else

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