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Better to make than buy...

1572 Views 35 Replies 31 Participants Last post by  happy1nluv
So at Christmas time I decided to make my own cranberry sauce. From scratch! It was my first year hosting Christmas dinner and I figured I would go "all out" and make my own cranberry sauce.

To my utter shock it was ridiculously easy. Boil bag of cranberries in some water and sugar. And it tasted a million times better than the stuff in a can.

So that makes me wonder... what else am I buying that I could easily make at home and have it taste better (and be better for you, I am sure)?

What do you make yourself?
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I've wondered about the cranberry sauce thing. My mom always made it, and I wasn't raised on canned cranberry sauce... and it tastes AWFUL to my palate. I made some for Christmas with the in-laws last year, and my MIL felt just like you - cheated. She was all interested in watching me cook it, and was like - "that's IT??" She too is not using the canned sauce anymore. Given how easy it is to make, I have no idea how the canned stuff got popular (and it grosses me out when I see people serve it retaining the canned shape, and just slicing it).

I don't have anything in mind quite as mind boggling as cranberry sauce, but I've found pizza crust using the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day method to be really easy. Applesauce is really easy of course. Apple pie is easy IMHO. I also am grossed out about soup from a can now - some soups are easier than others to make but many of them are too easy to justify opening a can of yucky stuff.
Everything tastes better made from scratch!!!

Applesauce is so, so, so much better homemade. And you can branch out into pear sauce, peach sauce, nice berry sauces for over pancakes, and on and on.
I can't bring myself to buy bakery goods anymore (breads, muffins, cookies)since they are practically inedible compared to homebaked. Yum!
I agree that canned soups can be pretty yucky too, once you get used to making homemade.
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not as easy as cranberry sauce, but homemade mac and cheese is way better than boxed stuff...but it does take at least twice as long, and is 'work' the enire time....but so yummy
I agree about the mac and cheese - we can't stand the boxed stuff now, and my DH used to live on it in his bachelor days.

Fresh homemade pasta is fabulous - it just doesn't even compare to the dry stuff IMO. I still use the dry stuff sometimes, but when I have the time I make it from scratch. Noodles and ravioli both. They even freeze well. And SOOOO much cheaper than storebought "fresh".

Jam is beyond fabulous homemade, and no nasty HFCS. And I'm even at the point where I prefer the homemade PB. Oh, and homemade mayo - nothing storebought tastes that good.

Homemade whipped cream instead of out of a can. Biscuits/pancakes from scratch instead of a mix or a can. I won't go near any canned soup products anymore... the salt those things contain is revolting (not to mention the ingredients). And homemade stock and soup really is easy (and stock freezes beautifully). I used to make my own crackers, too - yummy. But I just don't really eat crackers at this point.

Pretty much anything that you'd buy a mix for can be made better from scratch. Cake, pie crust, cheesecake, muffins, cornbread, frosting, stuffing, jello and even pudding.

There are very few pre-made foods I still buy... mustard, soy sauce, tabasco, a few asian sauces... And sourdough bread from the local bakery (I'm just too lazy). I've made tortillas in the past, and they are excellent - but mostly I buy them just because they're usually part of a 5 minute meal.
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: It's time consuming, but not hard to make and it tastes sooo much better. Plus I know exactly whats in it. Every year my mom, sister and I go pick strawberries at a local farm then I make enough jam to last us the next year.

I also like from scratch brownies much better than boxed mixes, and the work is about the same.
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I make my own hummus and it's really good, but more importantly, it saves me a lot of money. I make my own guacamole every so often too.

For my own quick version of homemade mac & cheese, I just cook some elbows then add shredded sharp cheddar (usually shred it myself in my Magic Bullet) and some butter. So much better than the boxed stuff. I also have an old-fashioned baked mac & cheese, but it's more time consuming and more work.

Everything I bake is from scratch. I'm too lazy for homemade bread but my husband got me a breadmaker and that makes it as easy as 1-2-3 to have homemade bread.
Definetly jam & jelly. I really need to make another batch of grape jelly & blackberry jam... I gave the last I had away this weekend to family, along with some strawberry jam. Its SO good and REALLY easy!!

Originally Posted by henny penny View Post
Everything tastes better made from scratch!!!

Applesauce is so, so, so much better homemade. And you can branch out into pear sauce, peach sauce, nice berry sauces for over pancakes, and on and on.
I can't bring myself to buy bakery goods anymore (breads, muffins, cookies)since they are practically inedible compared to homebaked. Yum!
I agree that canned soups can be pretty yucky too, once you get used to making homemade.
How do you make your applesauce and specifically what types of apples do you use? My daughter eats it by the truckloads and I buy plain unsweetened applesauce but recently thought I should just make it myself. This has inspired me.
Also, can you freeze it?
(Such a lame chef but I'm working on it - THANKS to this forum!)
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I made tons of applesauce last summer with local apples when they were in season. I think I just asked the guy who was selling them which were good for sauce and bought those
I don't really remember what kinds they were, but I do remember that it was a variety - just one kind of apple will make an at least semi-bland sauce. You want a decent mix.

As to how to make it, I just cut them up into chunks (I think I basicly quarterd them), then cooked in a little water till they were good and mushy, and put through my foodmill. Then I canned them. You can just water bath apple sauce, which makes it easy. I still have LOTS of it in my basement. I honestly forget about it sometimes!!
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My free e-book on cooking from scratch has a nice list of things you can make yourself. My best advice is to figure out what you want to buy, then figure out how to make it yourself! I publish a monthly newsletter on making things from scratch (you can get a free intro issue at, it has a few recipes in it) and cooking things from scratch rather than buying is my passion! lol.

breads, buns, tortilla shells, taco shells, sauces, meals, snacks, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, salsa, condiments. Essentially you can make anything you want aside from raw ingredients you aren't growing yourself. We dont' have a cow or access to raw milk, so we buy it. We buy cheese because I dont yet have the supplies to make it myself. Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and other dry pantry ingredients I buy. I make baking mixes, baking powder, seasoning blends, mixes for cakes, brownies, cookies, coatings for meat and poultry, etc.
I don't even like to eat store bought applesauce anymore!

I make my own hummus...all sorts of different flavors: pumpkin, red pepper, sundried tomato, eggplant, rosemary white bean...

Quick breads and muffins--I can control the fat and sugar content, and they just taste less fake or something

I don't like canned soups because they taste too salty and have a syrupy consistency, IMO; I eat some type of bean stew or soup that I make almost every day for lunch


I like the flavor of homemade yogurt, but I can't get the consistency right without using gelatin, and I'm vegetarian, so don't like using that stuff

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Well- this is especially apt for those w/ allergies as well. Allergy friendly goodies are OUTRAGEOUS and may or may not be edible!
I make almost everything from scratch. I started once I discovered my son's food allergy and he couldn't eat most packaged things.

I don't do bread (well I do make bread, but most of the sandwich bread we eat is store bought), bagels or tortillas, but almost everything else is.
With our food allergies we are starting to make more items from scratch.
I love homemade applesauce (you can do this in the crockpot, you don't need a food mill if you don't mind chuncky applesauce.)

I love home canned peaches, we picked, prepared and canned them for the first time this year.

Guacamole, salsa are super easy and worth the time.

Hummus, very cheap and easy. Much cheaper than the store varieties.

Pumpkin, for pies, breads, etc. Put cut up pumpkin in crock pot (with skin on) and let cook until soft. When soft (and cool, if you like fingerprints) scrape out of skin and let drain(cheese cloth may be helpful to squeeze the liquid out) and run through a food mill or food processer in small batches. I like to freeze it in 2 cup batches(that is how much one of my pie recipe calls for) My family will not eat canned pumpkin unless we are out of fresh

Ohh I forgot about SOUP! We do not eat any canned soup. We actually make extra soup from what ever scraps that we have from a Chicken/turkey for my Grandmother it saves her money, reduces her sodium intake, and she loves it
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I made a dessert for Easter and I can now say with confidence that whipped cream, chocolate frosting and pudding all taste 100% better when made from scratch
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Salsa is by far better from scratch.

And I am always shocked by the number of people that eat boxed mac and cheese. I am a mac and cheese snob. LOL

I like homemade salad dressing, too. I don't like the taste of the stuff in the aisle at the grocery store. The refrigerated kinds are okay, but homemade is better.

But, I'm a terrible bread maker, so for me, store-bought is better for bread, biscuits, dumplings, and the like. I'm good at muffins and quick breads, though.

And, my pie crust is good. Dare I say better than store-bought.
How do you make your applesauce and specifically what types of apples do you use? QUOTE]
I use any apples that look tasty at the store or farmer's market. Some varieties are drier than others but all make nice sauce. I just peel them, chop into large chunks and simmer on the stove till saucy. If needed, I add a little water and mash with a potato masher. You can add spices but we prefer plain. It freezes well.

Homemade guacamole is another must do.......
About homemade applesauce - I've discovered 2 things that make it really tasty. A dash of salt and/or a tiny bit of ginger (not even enough to taste the ginger, just enough so that people wonder what's in there
). And it freezes really well!
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This has me inspired!

We have been doing home made granola lately!
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