Saturday, April 13, 2013

Convenience Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

Pantry On A budget Part Two

It seems these days that everyone is looking for convenience. What they miss is that convenience doesn't have to necessarily be expensive if you make your own convenience foods. For instance I love oatmeal so every night when I make the coffeepot I put 1/3 cup quick oatmeal in my wide mouth pint jar. I add my sweet potato bark, honey, dried apple chunks, cinnamon, raisins or whatever flavor I am in the mood for then add 2/3 cup milk. Then I place the cap on it and put it in the fridge. The next morning I take it out and shake to mix and microwave for 1 minute and I have hot oatmeal for breakfast. No little packages but also much cheaper. 

When I make waffles I double the batch and freeze the leftovers. They microwave beautifully and taste so much better than the leading frozen brand. No preservatives, cheaper and they taste better. Make your own convenience. Same with pancakes and instead of buying those baking mixes try making your own. There are lots of recipes for homemade baking mixes available online.

Why not spend a Sunday afternoon making your own snacks for the kids lunches. Cheaper and healthier. Wait until chex go on sale then stock up and freeze them. You are going to toast them anyway.

Try homemade egg noodles. They freeze wonderfully and once you taste them you will never go back. 

Buy that day old french bread that is marked down then slice and freeze. It makes great garlic rounds for pasta. 

Instead of buying those expensive frozen entrees try making your own and freezing them. Stuffed shells and lasagna freeze great and you can take them out the night before or that morning and by the afternoon they are ready to pop in the oven. 

 When onions are cheap try freezing them. Just chop, bag and freeze. These are so convenient and I do hundreds of these when my onions are harvested from the garden. This also works with green pepper and celery. All of these spices dehydrated are easy and time savers also. Many spices such as basil, parsley, and chives are super simple to grow at home and can be either frozen in olive oil cubes or dried and stored very cheaply.

Try making and freezing your own pie crusts. They can be made very cheaply and make that unexpected dessert you need so much more convenient to make.  

Instead of that expensive cereal try making homemade granola for breakfast. Buy oats in bulk sweeten with honey or maple syrup. The one above has almonds, raisins and coconut. 

Stale bread makes great homemade garlic croutons so much cheaper. Salad dressings are so cheap to make from scratch. Try making your own mayo especially if you have your own chickens and lots of those home grown eggs. Try making homemade BBQ sauce it is so easy and much cheaper. 

The moral of this story is the more you make yourself and remove yourself from the consumer minded merry go round lifestyle, the more your grocery bill will drop. Period! You will be getting more for your money but you don't necessarily have to give up convenience. In many cases it is also much healthier without the preservatives added to make these items shelf stable to sell. Just make your own. I take one day a week and make enough salad dressing, croutons, bread, pie crusts and such items to last my family for the week.  

I'll challenge you to next time you go shopping for every item you pick up on that list ask yourself could I make my own cheaper and even healthier. 

I want to hear from all you homemakers out there now. 

What is your favorite homemade convenience food that you make.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Awesome post, such great advice and pictures are worth a 1000 words. You are the mother that we all needed but didn't get. Thanks for teaching us how to take care of our home and family.

  2. Thank you so much for all these great tips! I really appreciate it and will use several of these ideas.

  3. I love the oatmeal idea. Never would have thought of that one. I do make my own pancakes and keep them in either the fridge or freezer. I love making my own Italian dressing that has no sodium in it. All it takes is a little ingenuity and time and you can have your pantry/freezer filled with healthy, low cost food that has no junk in it. Thanks for such a great post.

  4. I did the frozen stuffed shells and my family loved them. They love fresh made lasagna, but can't stand the national brand frozen lasagna. I haven't made home made noodles yet, but my husband has and they are wonderful. I'm so excited to see all the neat ways you preserve your food. I really enjoyed your blog over the past year, and I've learned so much.

  5. I love these tips, CQ!

  6. Oh geez.. I dont buy hardly any convenience foods at all.. and never have.. My mom was always a great and adventurous cook and kept us in homemade granolas and fruit roll ups so I never had anyone model buying them premade.. I've always made most of our goodies.

    I think for me, one of the biggest homemade products that many people buy is spice mixes.. I make my own most of the time.. Its a rare day when I buy packets for chili, Mexican food, or sauces.. I prefer my own too.

  7. I so enjoy reading your post. There's always something there for me. I love to cook and bake. I make most of our cleaning products. It makes me feel good to feed my family as healthy as I can and save money at the same time :). I also have pancake mix that I make with wheat and oatmeal in my freezer that I can make pecan pancakes or crepes by thinning it out. I'm still learning in my 50's. Thank you for sharing!!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Sorry about the deleted post. Kids playing with the computer. :)

  10. A resounding 'Yes!', to every bit of this post! Well done. (I've done all of it except the overnight soaking for the oatmeal...which I intend to try.)

  11. well, just got around to reading this page of your blog...
    so, here is me new to my dehydrator, and excited to share...grin...all those onions you chopped/froze would dehydrate something amazing...(I have done a few),

    and that day old bread...well, I have tried a couple of ways to make croutons out of sale rack bread, and this one works the very best, for me, in my dehydrator....
    (also, uses NO oil or butter to add calories)

    cut bread pieces into squares...Can usually stack several pieces/many together..

    get your very largest bag (I have some of the GIANT Ziploc bags, I now save for this)..Toss the cubes of bread in this...toss in any flavorings and can also add a pinch of salt (not too much, I put too much salt in at first)..

    seal bag, and shake / rotate. I put the bag in fridge overnight, and everytime I walked by the fridge, I gave the bag a little shake/rotation..

    in morning I spread croutons on trays of dehydrator and dehydrated until crispy...

    suggestions for different "flavors" to toss into bag

    herbs from garden (already dried, although fresh chopped likely would work)
    dried onion
    dried cheese

  12. I finally got around to making the oatmeal in a jar last night. I had it for breakfast this morning. It was great! I was a little apprehensive about nuking the cold jar, but it was totally fine. Mine took 1 minute 30 seconds and was perfect! Love it, will be making it daily -or nightly rather =)


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