Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats: 5 Foods I Choose to Make From Scratch

Thursday, January 23, 2014

5 Foods I Choose to Make From Scratch

We can buy anything at the grocery store.  Anything you want.  They either can make it for you via their deli or bakery section, you can order it from their meat counter, or more often than not you can find some version of what you want right on their shelves.

Was this common 70 years ago?

Not a chance.

During that era they had to work a bit more for their food.  You know, put a little elbow grease into their meals.  And walking into a grocery store was uncommon and certainly nothing like they are today.

Why am I talking about this?  Well, I recently got to thinking about what I make from scratch vs. buying. Items I could easily buy with a swipe of the debit card, but I choose not too.  Either because of taste or because when I make it from scratch I actually know what ingredients are in it.

So here are the 5 foods that I choose to make from scratch vs. buying at the grocery store. I'd be curious to know what yours are?

1.  Pizza dough, bread dough, any dough.


Do you know how easy it is to make a pizza with homemade crust?  Or make homemade cinnamon rolls with fresh dough?  It's much easier than you think.  Heck, the pizza dough recipe I use only calls for flour, yeast, water and salt.  I'm pretty sure even the amateur cook has those ingredients in their kitchen.  I use this same dough for calzones and my homemade pizza pockets.

I use this world's best bread dough for more substantial breads - cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls, my German kraut burgers and your basic dinner rolls.



And who doesn't like homemade bread of any kind?  I've never heard someone complain about homemade bread.  It just doesn't happen.

2.  Any baked good.



Cookies, brownies, cakes, if it has sugar in it and it is typically classified as a dessert I make it from scratch.  I do occasionally take the help from a boxed mix, but I prefer doing it on my own.  And I never, ever buy a birthday cake from a store.  I have my reasons, judge me if you want, it's just not something I want to do.

If my kids are eating a "treat" it is more often than not something I have baked.  Should they eat a ton of sweets?  No.  But if I know it came from me and not some boxed treat with a zillion fake ingredients, I'm a bit more in favor of it.



Some of my favorite, tried and true dessert recipes are my classic oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, my basic brownie recipe or my various homemade doughnut recipes - you can find here and here.

3.  Sauces.



During the summer my tomato plants usually provide me with more tomatoes than I know what to do with. I've talked about my garden before - it is NOTHING to look at and I'm convinced I have some sort of miracle soil, as year after year I've got tomatoes coming out of my ears.  But, thankfully this provides me with lots and lots of red sauce.  Usually enough to freeze and last us through the winter months.

Some of our favorites are my crock pot basil marinara sauce and this one I received from Steph at Been There, Baked That.  Both freeze well and taste great months later.



I've also been known to throw together homemade alfredo and carbonara sauces.  Don't be afraid to try these - they really are simple!

4.  Jams/Salsas.

It has become a tradition to go strawberry picking every June.  This past summer I took the little man for the first time.  He ate more strawberries than his own weight and I'm a bit shocked he didn't get sick, but despite all of that we had a great time.  I carve out at least one full day each summer to stock our freezer with this jam.  It is the same jam I grew up eating. It is nothing fancy and I will never claim it doesn't have a LOT of sugar in it, but again, you know what?  In the end, when it is made, I know the ingredients.



Oh.  And it tastes awesome.

Secondly, after jam, salsa is probably one of the favorite condiments in our house.  We eat a lot of it - an almost embarrassing amount.  In the summer when tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro are in abundance I make it fresh.



This version is our favorite.  Throw it all in the blender and whirl away.  I still have not met a person who doesn't like it.  In the winter - I do sometimes resort to jarred versions, but we really do prefer it fresh.

5.  Seasoning packets

Growing up I was never a fan of taco seasoning.  You know, the kind you buy in the little paper packet at the grocery store?  Back then, I didn't care what was in it, I just knew I didn't like the taste.  Fast forward many years and now I care what is in it and still do not prefer the taste.  Therefore I make my own.

When we make tacos at our house I simply season the meat with chili powder, cumin, garlic salt and a bit of cayenne pepper.  Or sometimes if I'm really lazy I just throw in some fresh salsa.  If you are still buying those darn little orange packets - STOP.  You have the ingredients right in your spice rack.  Not only will it save you money but you can control the sodium and countless other additives they put in there.

Other than taco seasoning - I've also been know to make my own Italian seasoning and Ranch packets. Both are super simple.  Here are some versions I've used in the past.

Tell me what you make from scratch - I'd love to hear what you are cooking at home!

4 comments:

  1. I love making pizza dough from scratch. It's so easy! And breads too, except I need to improve on planning ahead so it has time to rise. I never use seasoning packets, though I do have a reliable collection of some spice blends. I will have to check out your homemade sauces and try out your tomato sauce. I'm lazy when it comes to marinara.

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  2. Steph@Been There Baked ThatJanuary 23, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    My list is very similar to yours. I have really gotten in the habit of making our own chicken broth and love not having to purchase it from the store. One thing I haven't tried but it's been on my list for a long time now; making my own cream of "whatever" soup to use for cooking. I rarely cook with those types of condensed soups but I have a recipe I've been meaning to try out.

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  3. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)January 23, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    That carbonara pasta looks PERFECT.

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  4. A couple of years ago I developed a "fun" intolerance to the artificial ingredients used in prepackaged food so I've had to learn to make things myself. Now that I am in the habit, I don't know that I'd go back to prepackaged even if I could! I make my own bread but use the dough setting on my bread maker for perfect results every time. Plus, I found an amazing pizza dough recipe that takes only 30 minutes from the time you start the dough until it out of the oven and ready to eat. I also make all my own sauces (spaghetti, pizza, etc.) and salsas and even make my own bulk sausage (super easy!). I even make homemade pepperoni. :) Like you, spice packets aren't allowed in my house either. I just need to learn how to can/get over my fear of canning. :P

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