Cooking from scratch can sometimes be overwhelming. Cooking from scratch is not grilling a hamburger on the grill. It can be using a recipe or just cooking the way that comes naturally to you. I remember watching my mom cooking some of her recipes without a cookbook. It’s because she made that certain recipe just about every week or two.
When I was growing up, my family didn’t eat gourmet meals, but we learned to cook from scratch using basic items from the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Oh my goodness, I’m so glad my mom taught me cooking from scratch! I know I have saved thousands of dollars over my life just because I know how to prepare a meal from the items I store in my home.
Cooking From Scratch Pantry Items:
These are a few of the things I must have in my home at all times. Please keep in mind when something I use all the time goes on sale, I stock my freezer and pantry.
Also, keep in mind today is not about any diet, like The Keto Diet, Atkins, Vegan, The China Study, or whatever approach to eating that seem to have become so popular. Today is about saving money and knowing what you are cooking from scratch. In other words, good wholesome food.
- Butter: in quarters, I only buy salted butter, that’s how I roll.
- Bacon: thick, center-cut bacon.
- Frozen peas, chopped onions, and bell peppers: I never throw out wasted veggies in the frig anymore because I monitor what is in my veggie drawer and either
useit while in good shape,or freeze it before it goes bad.
- Meat: I buy discounted meat in the meat section every six months. I stock up BIG time. Monday morning the grocery stores like to put out fresh meat and unload the meat that didn’t sell over the weekend. If you time it just right, the butcher brings out rack after rack. Grab a basket and start throwing them in the basket, if the price is right.
- Flour tortillas: I buy them from Costco and divide them into six per bag (gallon bags). They freeze really well for future meals. Be sure to take them out in time to thaw for use at the planned mealtime.
- Corn tortillas: also freeze really well, just divide them into bags with the number of tortillas you will use for a casserole or just for tacos. I freeze 12 in each quart-size bag.
- Broccoli: I make chicken and broccoli a couple times a month, so I like to keep a few large bags of broccoli in the freezer for casseroles or to eat in a salad. Again, take out in time for meal prep.
- SAF Yeast, Dough Enhancer, and Wheat Gluten: I purchase enough for a couple of years and store it in the freezer. I need these to make my bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and French Bread several times a month.
Stocking The Pantry:
- White bread flour
- White sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar
- Lemon juice
- Oil: vegetable, olive, and coconut oil
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip
- Mustard, Barbecue sauce, and Ketchup
- Unsweetened cocoa
- Spices like chili pepper, Cayenne pepper, sage, sweet basil, etc. We all have our favorites, right?
- Canned chicken
- Canned tuna
- Maple Syrup
- Peanut butter
- Spaghetti sauce
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Diced tomatoes
- Chicken and beef bouillon (Better Than Bouillon brand)
- Cream of chicken soup
- Cream of tomato soup
- Chicken noodle soup (just enough for emergencies)
- White rice
- Canned fruits
- Canned vegetables
- Corn syrup and Sweetened Condensed Milk (caramel corn)
- Vinegar: white, apple cider, and Balsamic
- Cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese
- Cheese: blocks of cheddar, shredded cheddar, and shredded Mozzarella
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, when in season
- Celery Stalks
- Bosch Bread Mixer, Kitchen Aid 6-Quart Mixer
- Griddles, waffle maker
- Pressure cooker
- Soup Pot
- Frying Pans
- Dutch Ovens
- Cookie Sheets
- Muffin Tins
Cooking From Scratch Recipes
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 gallon of milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Sugar optional
Melt the butter, add the flour and quickly start whisking it. This makes a roux. Once it’s smooth and thoroughly mixed, add the milk and keep on whisking, until smooth. This is good for making mac and cheese, Cream Chipped Beef and even gravy.
White Sauce Meals
- Mac and cheese: you just add about two cups of grated cheese, stir until its melted and creamy. Add some cooked and drained macaroni, stir until smooth.
- Creamed Tuna on toast or biscuits: just add a can of tuna (drained) to the white sauce. Serve with peas.
- Chicken a la King: add some leftover chopped chicken (2 cups) to the white sauce, 4 ounces of chopped pimentos, and some mushrooms. Serve over cooked rice.
- Creamed Chipped Beef on toast or biscuits: add two 4.5 ounce jars of dried beef, rinsed, and chopped to the white sauce. Add a little sugar (optional) salt and pepper to taste.
- Mushroom soup: add some sliced mushrooms to the white sauce and thin it with milk, if it’s too thick. Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Cream of potato soup: add cubed cooked potatoes to make a creamy potato soup. Thin the soup with a little milk, if it’s too thick.
- Sausage gravy:
fryand crumble a small package of sausage and drain it, then add it to the white sauce. Serve over hot biscuits.
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
- 1-1/2-2 cups Ketchup
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Combine the ingredients and mix until creamy. Refrigerate after mixing. Serve with shrimp and celery sticks.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- Dash of Worcestershire
Combine the ingredients together and mix until smooth. Serve with fish sticks or grilled fish of your choice.
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer about 2 minutes. Pour over cakes, banana bread, and puddings.
How To Make Gravy
- Turkey, Chicken, or Beef Drippings
- Salt & pepper
I use the pan the turkey, chicken or beef was baked in with the “drippings” and bring the liquid to a boil. If you have very little juice or drippings add some water. Now I can’t give you exact measurements because this depends on the size of a turkey, chicken, or roast you purchased. I take about 1-2 cups of flour and put it in a quart jar with cold water and shake it like crazy. I slowly add this mixture to the hot boiling turkey, chicken, or beef drippings. Use a whisk and stir constantly. I have a quart pitcher with cold water to add to this pan as the gravy thickens. I add water until it’s the consistency I prefer. Not too runny, but not too thick. I add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Yep, it’s the sugar that brings out the flavor. Of course, it’s optional. Now, if you have some lumps no worry, bring out the hand mixer. The flavor is fabulous and so easy to make.
I hope my post today helps someone learn the joy of cooking from scratch. I tired to write down everything I could that I could visualize in my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator. I probably forgot an item or two, but I will add them as I remember.
Let’s teach the world to eat at home again. Teaching people to cook, set the table, teaching manners at the table, and cleaning up as a family cannot be done through a drive-thru. Please let me know
It’s all about teaching the next generation the skills we learned as a child. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. No one can take care of your family like you can. May God bless this world to be self-reliant.
Copyright Images: AdobeStock_199304079by Magdal3na