April 1, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Cooking from Scratch?

You read that right.

Don't freak out, okay? Please?

Just give me a chance to explain.

Cooking from scratch comes easily to me. I enjoy cooking. I like to try new recipes.  And there is just so much variety out there, I just have to try it all.

But I know that not everyone is like me.  Some people don't like to cook, and some people just don't have a knack for it.  So for those people, box dinners are heaven sent.

But they're expensive.  Which begs the question:

Is it more worth it to have time or money?

In my life, money.  So, on the off chance that you are in a similar situation,  here are a few lifesaver recipes for you. Yes, from scratch.  But also, just as easy as a box mix.

Sloppy Joes:
This recipe is originally from Real Mom Kitchen.  We love these. They are incredibly easy.  They take just as much work as using a packet mix and they taste SOOO much better.

1  pound hamburger
1/4-1/2 cup onion chopped
1 can condensed tomato soup
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp or more barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns
8 slices of american cheese, if desired

Brown together the hamburger and onion. Add the soup, sugar and barbecue sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. You can add more barbecue sauce to make it the consitency you like. Serve on buns.

Blueberry Muffins: 
I LOVE muffins. I make muffins at least once a week. But those box mixes are expensive. So, this is my solution. This is an incredibly simple muffin recipe that can be easily altered to you tastes.  No mixer required
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs 

1 c. milk (or cream)
1 tsp. lemon extract
½ c. oil
1 to 1 ½ c. blueberries

Mix dry ingredients first, add wet and stir. Bake in greased or lined muffin tin at 400 for about 20 minutes.

I like to play with this recipe. You can switch out the blueberries with raspberries or black berries or use a mix.  In the winter I buy frozen berries and throw those in.  I make lemon muffins by leaving out the berries, adding about 1 tsp. of lemon zest, decreasing milk to ¾ cup and adding ¼ cup of lemon juice. I do the same to make orange muffins, replacing the lemon extract with orange extract and then adding orange zest and orange juice. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think that would be really good with cranberries. 

I make this whenever we have chili or taco soup. It is sweet enough that you don't need honey, but I love it with butter and honey anyway. Once again, no mixer required. You can find corn meal for pretty cheap in the baking aisle. 

1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
1tbsp baking powder
2/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 c. oil
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 c. milk

Mix dry ingredients first then add wet and stir. Bake in oblong greased pan (somewhere between 8x8 and 9x13) for 25 min at 400 degrees. You can also make corn muffins, just reduce cooking time to about 16 minutes.  

I hope that makes cooking from scratch a little less scary for you.  In addiation to being cheaper,  food made from scratch tastes so much better!
*image from here


Momza said...

I don't like box mixes.
My kids don't like them either.
Nearly everything we eat,
is "from scratch"--
it's healthier than a box full of preservatives, all the way around.
It keeps meals simple too. Fresh.
So cook On little momma, Cook On.

heather said...

I'm pretty good at this. Not perfect, but pretty good. Hubby hates eating out. HATES it. His mom made every meal "from scratch" and that is what he prefers.
It is much less expensive then the boxed or frozen meals and much, much healthier!!

Do you have any from scratch rice recipes?

Anonymous said...

I love cooking from scratch too. Very rarely do I buy pre-prepared food items. I love Real Mom Kitchen!! Thanks for the recipes

Emmy said...

I must admit when it comes to muffins and baked goods.. I don't make them from scratch very often. I guess I cook from scratch, I just don't bake from scratch :) I should though, sounds like good recipes.

Omgirl said...

I love to cook from scratch too, but I am even more fanatical about baking from scratch. For me it is not about money or time, though, but taste. I have never yet eaten a baked good from a box that was anywhere near as good as from scratch. Box brownies disgust me. Boxed cookies are hard and chemically (except Oreos of course), and boxed corn bread is revolting. Which is why I am going to snap up your corn bread recipe and make some as soon as I finish this dumb diet! Thanks!

Lourie said...

I'm all about home cookin, but that's the way Mama raised me! It just plain tastes better!

Mary Gilmore said...

Hey Rachel! I'm back, at least for a little. I've already copied your recipes and I can't wait to try them. You probably already do post your recipes a lot, but if you don't, I love it! Post some more!!!

SpencernAmy said...

I can't wait to try your recipes . . . when I'm feeling brave. I find the boxed baked goods keep me from eating too many of them . . . . :) Thanks for sharing!

Liesl said...

You also have to consider the long term savings. I mean those box dinners have all those additive and preservatives and probably cancer causing stuff. You save loads on medical bills 10, 20 years down the road!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

The truth is I wouldn't mind cooking from scratch more if someone would do the dishes for me when I'm done!

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