I hope you’ve gotten some helpful tips from me over the last several months on saving money. But sometimes saving money -though it’s great- isn’t the only motivation to try something new. Another great reason is to make things healthier for you and your family. That’s why I want to show you how to make five cooking staples on your own instead of buying them… for your wallet and your health.

5-things-you-should-stop-buying

Grabbing pre-made seasonings, stock and sauces may be easy but if you know how to make your own you might just be amazed at how easy it is too.. and healthier.

And after you’ve made and stored it, it’s much easier to grab what you need from your own pantry or freezer than going to the grocery store.

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Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning has to be the absolute easiest thing to make. You probably already have all the ingredients sitting in your pantry. They just need to be mixed together.

According to FoodRenegade.com‘s recipe, mix together:

  • 1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. Black Pepper (optional)

After you mix it, store it in a jar. I chose reusable jars with customizable chalk labels from Amazon.com. There are a lot of options on Amazon that are cute and affordable. And you can use them for anything, over and over again.

When it’s time to make tacos (Tuesday perhaps?) use 2 tablespoons of seasoning for every pound of meat.

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Fajita Seasoning

Fajita seasoning is just as easy and it’s just as likely that you already have the ingredients sitting in your pantry.

According to TheFrugalGirls.com recipe, mix together:

  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Corn Starch
  • 1½ tsp Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper

After you mix it, store it in a jar like you did the taco seasoning. Be sure to label them because taco and fajita seasonings look a lot alike.

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When you’re ready to make fajitas:

  • Stir together 3 tbsp seasoning and 1/3 C water
  • Cook 1 lb. thinly sliced chicken or steak in 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Stir in fajita seasoning mix and bring to gentle boil, stirring occasionally
  • Serve with grilled onions and peppers on tortillas

 

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Marinara Sauce

Another great thing to make and have around is Marinara sauce. I don’t know about your family, but mine loves pasta. My tiny 6-year-old daughter can put away a large plate of spaghetti before you can say parmesan.

And this recipe is super easy to make and store for later. For this recipe I turned to my sister Stephanie. She’s an amazing cook. You should check out her Instagram account @peaceandcooking.

Marinara Ingredients

  • 3 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • Half a head of garlic, finely chopped

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Marinara Instructions

  • Add tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano to crockpot
  • Sauté garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil for a few minutes to soften, not brown – add to crockpot & stir
  • Cook on high heat for 2 hours *If cooking on stove top, bring to a boil then simmer 30-45 minutes
  • Use immediately and/or store excess in freezer
  • Use 1 quart marinara for 1 lb. of pasta or 1 lb. of ground beef

You can store the marinara in freezer approved tupperware or in ziploc freezer bags.

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Chicken Stock

Lots of soups and other recipes call for chicken or vegetable stock so it’s good to have some around. The broths and stocks you get at the grocery store can be filled with sodium and vegetable concentrate. It’s much better to make your own with fresh vegetables and good quality chicken.

And by making them in bulk and storing for later, you will save money versus getting a new box at the store each time you need it.

These stock recipes are also from my sister Stephanie. We recently made them in my kitchen and in addition to turning out absolutely delicious, they made the house smell wonderful.

Chicken Stock Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. bony, dark meat chicken (a mix of backs, wings & drumsticks) – The bones give the stock its richness
  • 4-6 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 4 stalks celery, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large leeks (or 3 smaller) – cut green stems off, then cut remaining portion in half lengthwise and rinse out any dirt from inside
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in large chunks
  • 2 bunches each fresh sage, rosemary and thyme
  • Peppercorns to taste
  • 12 cups water

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Chicken Stock Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to crockpot
  • Cook on low heat for 8 hours – If cooking on stove top, bring to a boil then simmer 2-3 hours
  • Pour into a large container through a colander or strainer AND cheese cloth, discard vegetables and chicken Cheese cloth helps to catch all of the fine particles like bits of herbs
  • Cover container and put in fridge overnight
  • Skim fat off top and discard
  • Use immediately and/or store excess in freezer

Like the marinara, you can store the stock in freezer approved tupperware or in ziploc freezer bags. You can also store in ice-cube trays for quick use of small amounts for recipes.

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Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock Ingredients

  • 4-5 lbs. of vegetables to achieve your desired taste
  • Some suggested vegetables (cut all into large chunks): carrots, leeks, celery, parsnips, zucchini
  • 2 bunches each fresh sage, rosemary and thyme
  • Peppercorns to taste
  • 10 cups water

Vegetable Stock Instructions

  • Spread all vegetables on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil
  • Bake in oven until golden brown, 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees
  • Add roasted vegetables, all herbs and water to crockpot
  • Cook on low heat 2 hours until broth is full of flavor – If cooking on stove top, bring to a boil then simmer 1 hour
  • Pour into a large container through a colander or strainer AND cheese cloth, discard vegetables Cheese cloth helps to catch all of the fine particles like bits of herbs
  • Use immediately and/or store excess in freezer

Again, you can store the stock in freezer approved tupperware or in ziploc freezer bags. You can also store in ice-cube trays for quick use of small amounts for recipes.

 

Bonus – Grate Your Own Cheese

A super easy way to make all your shredded cheese healthier is to shred it yourself. Instead of grabbing the pre-shredded bags at the grocery store, get the same kind of cheese in a block and shred with a cheese grater.

If you don’t think this is important, just check out this great post by Not Quite Mother Of The Year. You’ll never eat pre-shredded cheese again.

 

www-frugalfloridamom-com

 

This post contains affiliate links. I may get a small portion of your purchases from Amazon.com (at no additional cost to you). This helps to maintain this blog full of helpful tips. Thanks!

 

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38 comments on “5 Things You Should Stop Buying”

  1. Pinned! I love this list, I already make my own taco seasoning but I have been trying to get better about chicken stock!

  2. I make my own Taco Seasoning and usually my own stock. I definitely prefer it over store bought. It makes it so much easier too when I decide to make something on a whim and don’t have to worry about last minute trips to the store. I never knew that about pre-shredded cheese! I will definitely be shredding my own from now own. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who makes these things! My fiancé laughs at me, but it just doesn’t make sense, to me anyway. And, as you say, your own personal version is healthier for you and your wallet. Great post!

  4. Thanks for the recipes on how to make chicken and vegetable stocks! I am constantly buying these at the store and go through so many; I’m sure we could save quite a bit if I take the plunge and trying making my own!

  5. Hi, I’m a mother of 3 adult children here in New York State and when my kids were small I always made my own stock as well as my own tomatoe sauce (both with a little variation).

  6. I didnt know we could make all these things at home. I always used to buy them or eat out whenever we feel like eating some of these things. But thanks to you we will now try some of these things at home.

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