Face it, there are a TON of ingredients that are commonly used in recipes that even the most vigilant home cook routinely reaches for on the grocery shelves without thinking that there may be a cheaper (and healthier) version available.
Here are several of the most common recipe ingredients that I’ve used in my cooking, and the DIY alternative recipes I’ve found for them. Even if you don’t use these all the time (I know life can be hectic!), they can come in handy when grocery sales/coupons are uninspiring, because they are generally way more affordable (even with sales and coupons!) than their packaged counterparts.
These recipes are all easy, inexpensive and healthy. If you have a few extra minutes of time they are a great alternative to buying the packaged alternatives that are often laden with sodium, preservatives, and unpronounceable chemical additives. If you grow a few of your own vegetables and herbs in the summer, and/or buy spices in bulk, the cost for many of these is slim to nil.
- Cream of (Mushroom, Celery, Chicken) Soup
- Taco Seasoning Mix
- Homemade Chicken Stock/Broth (sooo much less expensive, and sooo much more delicious)
- Tomato Sauce (this is especially cost-effective if you grow/can your own garden tomatoes)
- Dry French Onion Soup Mix (Like Lipton’s)
- BBQ Sauce
- Homemade Gravy (Beef, Chicken, Etc.)
- Picante Sauce
- Red Enchilada Sauce (Emeril Lagasse’s Recipe….mmmm)
- Pancake Batter
- Homemade Croutons