There are 5 scratch ingredients you can pretty much have on hand at all times that will enable you to cook from scratch much easier than from how that actually sounds.
I don’t like baking. I mean – I could bake a cake, maybe some brownies but I am no BAKER.
It’s too precise for me. I like guesstimating and baking doesn’t turn out well when you guesstimate ingredients….
Honestly though what I hate more is the necessity of going to the store for things I COULD make but it’s easier to buy – that’s why they sell it right? At a convenience cost to me though! (Pssshhh please)
I’m not suggesting you start making your own cheeze its here. But things like pancakes mixes, seasoning mixes, breadcrumbs, packaged gravies, et cetera – are things you can easily make at home to save some money and get more familiar with basic scratch processes and ingredients.
The Break Down-
There are usually 5 things almost any recipe calls for:
- All purpose flour – Basic building block – choose from wheat, coconut, almond, tapioca, bleached (least nutritional value) – whatever you prefer.
- Baking Powder – Gives rising capabilities – Try for aluminum free if your store has it. *Research at your discretion*
- Baking Soda – Also gives rising capablities – Recipes will either specify which levening agent to use (based on other ingredient’s chemicals and preferred rising process) *This crap gets technical – not my favorite. Follow the recipe always*
- Yeast – Yeast is a necessary levening againt that produces heavy breads to rise – use for pretzels or bread (Not often that I use this though I keep it on hand just in case)
- Cornstarch – This is your thickening power – there are many alternatives (these are basic tools). Many recipes that produce heavy breads that are not necessary to rise (like shortbread) will call for cornstarch when baking. I typically keep it around to thicken gravies, stocks, puddings, sauces or add it with batter mixes or things to be fried to ensure a nice crispiness. (It’s kind of like magic).
Having these available (plus a few other common kitchen staples) will give you the tools you need to make almost anything from scratch when in need. Utilizing these ingredients (like Grandma did!) will keep the convenience prices in check so you can gauge what types of things you are comfortable with no longer buying.Utilize some basic scratch ingredients and QUIT buying convenience foods from the store! Click To Tweet
Use these and you can begin making things like basic cakes and cookies, soups, stews, sauces, crusts, biscuits, packaged dinners (like hamburger helper) and side dish mixes. The list goes quite a ways out.
To note a few basic things you probably already keep in your refridgerator/pantry as well – let’s just refresh basics though cause this can get extensive the more you begin to cook.
- Cooking Oil (Try to research what is best for your family and cooking style for best choice honestly -I use grapeseed or coconut now but for the longest time I used vegetable oil).
- Basic Spice variety – salt and pepper, powders *You get what you pay for in spices people – Remember!
These are things we all usually have anyways so don’t go out and bulk up – just keep in mind how much you ALREADY have and that you can use to consider learning new convenience foods to start making at home.
I’ve been making pancakes from scratch for a long time now – they freeze well too so making a large batch is more convenient to me than stocking my freezer with a few boxes of pre-made frozen pancakes at $3.50 each. I’ve recently got the hang of a making a roux – we have gravy a lot (cause I love gravy with potatoes mainly) and I don’t like spending 1.99 or more per gravy portion (those convenience packets). I’m currently working on hollandaise. It’s a tricky one but I freaking love Eggs Benedict Casserole and it’s just not the same without it. I’ll hopefully get comfortable enough to post about it when I get there.
Learning these basic scratch ingredients and how to use them when cooking and baking has truly saved me a lot of money at the grocery store and in reality brought my cooking skills way up.
Try adding a few of these to your cooking pantry and challenge yourself to learning a new cooking skill that might save you some money.
- Make a gravy with breakfast – biscuits and gravy! (Gutsy)
- Make some brownies and surprise your honey! (Somewhat gutsy)
- Try some dumplings in a chicken stew! (Easy easy easy – Fall is here btw – it’s soup season! YAY)
Get your cook on!