10 Foods to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home

Grocery prices are going up everywhere.The other day, I took my husband grocery shopping with me and I sighed when I looked at all the prices.

“I remember when that cream cheese was only $1.09 a block. Now, it’s $2.50 on SALE”

“See that sour cream there? It used to be $1.50, now it’s $1.99”

“Ugh! Why on earth is the ice cream $7.00 a bucket now?” (don’t judge…it’s a staple in our house)

You get the idea.It actually was quite disparaging to me, because it means our grocery budget is stretched out to the max these days. And, it may be that way for many of you as well. I want to show you how we save money starting with making these 5 foods to stop buying and start making at home. Simple, easy and far more nutritious for you, too!

5 foods to stop making and start buying

Homemade Pizza

make your own pizza


A frozen pizza will cost you about $4.00 and take out pizza can cost up to $10 for a medium. With hungry teenagers who practice TaeKwonDo 3 hours a day, we need about 4 pizzas for my family. And $16-$40 for one meal just isn’t in my budget. Not to mention the questionable ingredients! So, I learned to make my own!

For the crust you will need:
1 cup warm (100°) water
1 T. dried yeast
2 T. sugar (or honey)
2 T. olive oil
3 cups flour (I use whole wheat, but you can use white if you like)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Begin by sprinkling the yeast over the warm water. Add the sugar and oil, and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to “proof”, then add the flour in 1 cup increments. Mix on medium speed with dough hook (or get some really good arm exercise and knead by hand) for about 1 minute, then add the garlic powder and salt. Mix together well for 5 minutes to allow gluten in flour to develop.

Allow to rise for 5-10 minutes, while oven is preheating to 450° degrees. Roll out the dough onto a cookie sheet, pizza pan or baking stone. Pierce with a fork all over, also called “docking the crust”. Bake the crust for 7 minutes alone. Remove from oven, and top with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Return to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is nicely browned and bubbly.

**TIP**

Allow the pizza to cool for 5 minutes before you cut it. This will help the cheese to stay in place, especially if you are like my family and pile that cheese on high.

Premade Pancake Mix

premade pancake mix


You’d be amazed at how long I bought into the notion that I *needed* to actually buy the dry boxed pancake mix! I’m almost embarrassed at the fact that it took me YEARS to figure out that all I really needed was flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder! Add to that some milk, melted butter and eggs…and voila-pancakes!

So, here’s my go to recipe for pancakes:

For the dry mix:
12 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, or a combination of white/wheat
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
2 Tablespoons salt
4 Tablespoons sugar (sucanat, organic cane juice, other dry form of sweetener)
Mix the above ingredients and store in a tightly closed container. I put mine in a gallon sized glass jar on my pantry shelves. Use within 6 weeks.
To make pancakes, simply take 2 cups of the mix, add 4 tablespoons melted butter, 2 eggs and 2 cups of milk. Mix gently and use 1/4 cup of mix per pancake.

**TIP**
Wait until the pancakes are all bubbly and dry on the top side before flipping over. You only want to flip them one time, otherwise you may end up with tough pancakes.

Taco Seasoning

taco seasoning


At the average price (in my area) of $1.39 for a couple ounces of questionable seasonings, it’s a wonder more people don’t make this on their own. Here’s my favorite recipe:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup cumin
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup dried onion, or onion powder if you prefer
1/2 TEASPOON cayenne pepper (more or less, to taste for spiciness) Mix all together and store in a covered jar or container for up to 6 months. To use, simply add 1/4 cup of mix and 1/2 cup of water for each pound of browned meat.
**TIP**
This is also great sprinkled on roasted potatoes or on chicken.

Homemade Tortillas

tortillas


We can easily go through about 50 tortillas a week, especially if my daughter makes lunch. Her favorites to make are quesadillas and tacos. Of course, they are really only flour, salt, fat and water and take about 10 minutes to make.

Just long enough to grate cheese, or brown some taco meat. And, for some reason, I felt that I was buying time or something when I bought them in the plastic little packages each week. They were nice, but these homemade ones ROCK!! All you need is:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup fat (lard, tallow, shortening…butter won’t really work well here)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • up to 3/4 cup water

Mix together the salt and flour and cut fat into it until it’s about the size of peas. Add water, 1/4 cup at a time until dough comes together. Knead together for about 2 minutes until smooth. Allow the dough to rest, under a damp cloth for about 5-7 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 little balls. Roll out with rolling pin and place on a dry skillet. Cook for about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a plate with a towel covering to help hold in heat.

**TIP**
If you happen to have any left over, heat up some coconut oil, or tallow the next day to 350°. Cut the tortillas into triangles with a pizza cutter and fry up. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder for some delicious chips for snacking!

Homemade Mayo

homemade mayo


When I tell people that I make my own mayo, I have gotten responses from “oh, cool!” to the blank stares as if I told then I could transmute base metals into gold. It’s so simple, so easy to whip up a batch of your own mayo that you’ll wonder why you should buy the store bought stuff ever again!

You’ll need:

4 large eggs, brought to room temperature, with 3 separated
1 Tablespoon mustard (yellow is fine, but I like to use the brown for a different flavor)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

homemademayo

In a blender or food processor, add 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, the mustard and salt. Mix on high for a minute. While the mixer or food processor is still running, gently drizzle the olive oil in a little stream. This will begin to coagulate and thicken as you do. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

**TIP**
You can lacto-ferment your mayo by increasing the salt to 1 Tablespoon, and stirring in 1/4 cup whey to the finished mayo. Allow to sit at room temperature for 7 hours before storing in the fridge.

BREAD

This is really an easy thing to make, once you get the hang of it. If you have never made your own bread before, you’ll be in for a heavenly experience! And, avoiding the HFCS and other additives that are in store bought bread makes this recipe a go to! You’ll never have to worry about running out during a winter storm, either. Just keep some flour and yeast on hand, and you can whip up a batch in no time! This recipe will make 2 large loaves.
2 cups warm water
1 T. dry yeast (or one packet)>
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil, or melted butter
1 tsp salt
4 cups wheat flour
2 cups white flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

Add the honey and oil and stir. Add the salt to the flour, and add in 2 cup increments while mixing. Knead by hand or mixer for about 10 minutes. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Punch down, and divide the dough in half. Shape into loaves, and place in two greased bread pans. Let rise a second time until doubled again.
Put the bread in a cold oven, and turn the oven on to 400 degrees. This helps give the yeast another “kick” and makes your bread more fluffy. Bake for 30 minutes from time you put the bread in.
Cool, and remove from pans. Enjoy!
*TIP allow the bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before you cut into it. This will avoid “weeping” and the bread will finish cooking during the cooling time.

BISCUITS

I used to love the convenience of opening up a can of biscuits.

My kids would argue over who got to “pop” the can open. Once I learned to make my own, I never bought another can. They are so light, and so easy to make! Here’s the recipe:
4 cups flour (you can use white, wheat, or a combination)
3 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 T. cold butter
4 T. shortening (I use palm shortening)
*you could forgo the shortening all together and just use all butter, if you want*
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

Gently mix the dry ingredients together and cut the fat into it.

It’ll get crumbly, and you want pea sized crumbles. Mix together the eggs and buttermilk in a separate bowl and gently incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. BE GENTLE! Pat out on floured counter until about 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, or other sharp end (not a glass!*) cut out your biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake in oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

*TIPNow, as for why not a glass…I know you’ve heard everyone say that it’s okay, and best to use and all…but, truth be told here. It “seals” the ends up and you don’t get as high of a rise on your biscuits. Trust me. Try it for yourself. Next batch of biscuits you make, make 1/2 with a biscuit cutter or a sharp knife cutting them out and 1/2 with a glass and see which ones rise better for you. You can usually pick them up at a dollar store or Target pretty cheaply.

YOGURT

I have had people stare at me with this blank look when I tell them that I make my own yogurt.

You’d think I told them that I could trasmute base metals into gold! It’s really super easy to make your own yogurt, and I promise you’ll love it!

First, start off with milk.

I use raw, and whole milk is the best, but if you want to use skim I can’t stop you. Warm the milk gently in a pan until it reaches 145 degrees. You don’t want to leave it unattended during this time, as you will need to stir often to keep it from burning. Once it reaches that temp, turn off the heat and let the temp fall to 105 degrees.
Once it’s cooled, it will have formed a “skin” of sorts. Remove the skin and gently mix in 3 Tablespoons of starter yogurt. You can use store bought yogurt, but you need to check and make sure that it’s the plain kind and has the active cultures in it. That’s what you need to get your milk cultured. You can use any brand you want as long as it has the active cultures in it.

Pour into clean jars, and add a lid.

Place the jars in the dehydrator for 8-10 hours on 115 degrees. You can also set 2 large jars full of boiling water in a a cooler, add the yogurt next to the jars and shut the lid, undisturbed for 24 hours.

*TIP You can also use this to make your own frozen yogurt, instead of ice cream! Just as delicious and a great way to get more good bacteria in your guts!

CEREAL

The boxed stuff offers such things as convenience and ease of breakfast in the mornings, right?

Well, it also offers such things as GMO ingredients, HFCS and a host of preservatives. Making your own isn’t hard at all. As a matter of fact, make a batch of this on the weekend, and you’ll have easy breakfasts all week long! Alone in a bowl with milk, or as a homemade yogurt topping, and you can even make it into granola bars!
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. salt
2 cups dried fruit of choice

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients, except fruit together, and add oil and syrup and stir to mix well. Place on a baking sheet and put in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add fruit of choice, and store in covered container.

*TIP Granola is a personal cereal. You can switch out any of the ingredients, delete, add or whatever! Make it your own!

RANCH DRESSING

This is our family’s favorite for salads and dips.

A bottle of the store bought stuff only is about $1.50, but with the preservatives and MSG, I won’t feed that to my family. Making your own is so easy, too! Just a bunch of seasonings, some buttermilk and sour cream and you’re good to go! In a quart sized jar, just add:
1/2 cup dried chives
1/2 cup dried parsely
1/4 dried dill weed
1/2 cup dried onion powder
1/2 cup garlic powder
2 T. salt
1 T. black pepper

Mix together and store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.

To use, simply add 2T. of the mix to 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 3/4 cup sour cream and mix well. Chill well before use (if you can wait) and use within a week. This recipe lasted me nearly 3 months before I had to make it up again, and I make ranch dressing nearly weekly.

*TIP forgo the buttermilk and mix 2 T. into 1 cup of sour cream for a delicious party dip!

What foods are you making at home that you used to buy?

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26 thoughts on “10 Foods to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home”

  1. Interesting! I might try the mayo. We go through a ton of it. Not sure if I will do the tortillas. We do use quiet a few of them, but we use like 20-30 at a time. And that’s being light. With 10 people eating, and 3 of those being guys who want like 7 tacos at a time, you can understand why. LOL Definitely doing the taco seasoning. I’ve done it before, but it’s been awhile. We need a new mix.

  2. Such a great post! I make all of these except for mayo and tortillas – we don’t eat these in our house. I would also add soups and tomato sauce to the list!

  3. Jennifer Bagley-Rodriguez

    Just s quick tip to make your tortillas a little healthier: instead of lard, use coconut oil. It’s amazing!!! The flavor us incredible and its healthier for you than eating lard! 🙂 My husband and I have been making our tortillas for over a year and we will never go back to store bought!! 🙂

        1. Thank you! The tortillas I’ve made have no fat in the recipe and are tasty but not soft and flimsy like I want. I’ll have to try coconut oil!

  4. We do homemade pizza and pancakes but I’ve always wondered about taco seasoning. Thanks for sharing this! Definitely pinning to use later!

  5. I was so happy to see the Premade Pancake Mix recipe! This is something that I really wanted to try bc we love our Pancake Sundays. I always seem to run out of batter before my monsters are done.

  6. Those tortilla’s look amazing! I never thought of making those on my own. Do you find they freeze well if you premake them?

  7. I have already been making many of these things at home, but I had NO idea that tortillas are that simple! They are one of my son’s favorite foods and he probably has something tortilla based three times a week. Oh, the savings we could have!

  8. The only one of these I don’t do so far are the tortillas. I’d add canned beans to the list. Buy dry beans, cook, and can your own. Makes it super easy to use them and no extra salt and chemicals.

  9. I make homemade mayo all the time – the store bought now tastes so blah. I always add fresh lemon juice & dry mustard to mine and a few dashes of hot sauce just to perk it up.

  10. Taco seasoning, tortillas and pancake mix, these are all things I buy frequently. Wait, did you already know that?… Great post!

  11. i’ve been making my own bread and saving lots of money that way. i can make organic loaves with multiple grains mixed in for well under $1 per loaf. (was paying around $3.50 per loaf or more for organic in stores).
    i also recently made bagels – organic, whole wheat for around 40 cents a batch.

    great post. thanks for these fantastic ideas…

  12. I am definitely bookmarking this! This will save us a lot of money, especially on taco night (my favorite!). My husband was just saying yesterday that we need to go to the grocery store and pick up some pancake mix. This recipe just saved us a trip!

  13. We also make our own yogurt- very easy in a crockpot, Instructions on-line
    We seldom buy canned beans. We cook them up, and put them in the freezer until needed. If there are several different kinds, a 3-bean salad is almost instant, and good for a quick pot-luck.

  14. Hmmm – just came across your site in search of more self-sufficiency stuff. Good idea to encourage people to make these five things – and many more. I am appreciating my mum tonight because she taught me how to cook from scratch. I have never (even before my current do-it-yourself phase) bought pancake mix and taco seasoning. We hate supermarket pizza, so if we feel rich, we take-out but most often we do our own. I have made mayo in before but find it difficult. Will try your recipe. Tortillas are sooooo easy to make, why would anyone bother buying them?
    More please 😀 like Tomato Sauce (Ketchup), BBQ Sauce, soft cheese, yoghurt, sausages, bread, etc Thank you.

  15. I add just a sprinkle of baking powder in my flour to get puffy rising tortillas (think gorditas). I only make these homemade any more… Everyone in the family LOVES them.. Even the 2 year old! We freeze them too!

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