DIY Pantry Staples You Can Make for Less Than $1
Why buy products packed with preservatives when fresher is cheaper?
When you make mayo at home, you know exactly what you’re getting. In a blender or food processor, mix four egg yolks, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, and two tablespoons water. Slowly add 1.5 cups vegetable oil (or a mix of vegetable oil and extra virgin olive oil) while the blender’s motor is running to combine. Add a pinch of white pepper—or cayenne for some heat—and store in the fridge for up to five days. For more recipes like this, grab a copy of Homemade: 707 Products to Make Yourself to Save Money and the Earth.
Wow your guests (or family!) by making fresh pasta instead of resorting to a box. Add 2.25 cups plain flour, two eggs, ¼ cup water, a tablespoon olive oil, and a teaspoon salt to a food processor. Using a plastic dough or metal chopping blade, process for 20 to 30 seconds, until the dough rides up in the center. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about five minutes to make it smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes, then roll out the dough using your hands or a pasta machine. When it’s ready to cook, boil a large pot of salted water and add the pasta. It will cook quicker than dry pasta—a minute or two for thinner strands or six minutes for ravioli—so keep an eye on it.
Turn a basic salad into a gourmet side by making your own dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup extra virgin or virgin olive oil, one tablespoon vinegar (whatever kind you prefer, including white wine, red wine, or tarragon) or lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. If you’d like, add one tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil, or parsley. Check out these other 11 smart ways to eat healthy on a tight budget.
Ranch dressing mix
No ranch mix? No problem. You can whip it up with ingredients you already own. In a small, airtight container, add 2.5 tablespoons onion flakes, one tablespoon dried parsley, 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder, and two teaspoons each of paprika, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Shake until blended, and keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to a year. To turn it into dressing, whisk the dry mix with a cup of mayonnaise and a cup of buttermilk or low-fat yogurt. DIYers–these personalized gifts go the extra mile.
Italian herb blend
Don’t bother buying yet another jar for your spice rack. In a ziplock bag, add six tablespoons dried basil, three tablespoons dried oregano, two tablespoons dried parsley, two tablespoons dried thyme, and one teaspoon dried garlic. Shake to blend, then store for up to three months.
This versatile recipe can be made thinner (for soups) or thicker (for casseroles or soufflé bases). In a small saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter over low heat. Add a tablespoon of flour and whisk for two to three minutes so the mixture is smooth, not brown. Gradually stir in a cup of hot milk, then increase the heat to medium, stirring constantly for three to five minutes. Remove from heat, then add a pinch of white or black pepper. If you need to refrigerate the sauce until later, reheat it with a double boiler. Don’t miss these other 27 foods you should never buy again.