At least once a year, someone asks me to stuff a turkey. And I’m not usually one to be a stickler for taste, but stuffing just doesn’t taste the same when you use the crust of the bread. So what do I do with the crusts that I’ve cut off? I dry them, put them through my food processor and make a year’s worth of breadcrumbs, of course!
2. Chicken or vegetable stock
There’s no excuse for buying chicken stock when at least once a year, I’m roasting the bird mentioned above. When I’m done, I just boil up the bones and have a year’s worth of stock to put in soups and such. (My roommates much prefer chicken-based soups, so I sometimes use that in place of vegetable stock.) And don’t even get me started on how easy (and free) vegetable stock is.
3. Pumpkin purée
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a pumpkin every Halloween. I just don’t carve it anymore, so that I can make purée out of it afterwards. Sure, people say that a pie pumpkin is what you want to use to make purée, but what happens to all that perfectly edible flesh in your jack-o-lantern? I believe in using the whole
animal fruit wherever
Have you ever made your own hummus? If you have, this needs no explanation, but if you haven’t, let me elaborate. Not only is it about a quarter of the price, it’s also super easy, much fresher, and so much tastier than store-bought hummus. And preservatives, additives, and ingredients you can’t pronounce? None of that here.
5. Pizza crust
Why buy a pizza crust from the grocery when you can make your own easily and it tastes so much better? I have a bread machine, which does all the work for me, admittedly, but even before I got my bread machine, it was worth the work. So fluffy and moist, with a little chew on it... Did I mention that it’s also dirt cheap to make?
6. Pickles, relishes or jams
Not only are they more natural and delicious than store-bought versions, they’re also a whole lot cheaper. Besides, preserves are what keep me from wasting food a lot of the time. Why on earth would I toss food and then buy preserves from someone else?
With a few vegans kicking around, there’s no real reason for me not to make my own mayonnaise anyway. Whether I’m making it vegan for my friends or ovo-lacto for my roommate, making mayonnaise is so easy that there’s really no excuse.
8. Salad dressing
When you douse your salad with amazing, homemade Caesar or balsamic dressing, you save a bunch of money and reward your tastebuds, too. Oh yeah, and if you happen to be entertaining guests, you also become an instant superstar.
Two autumns ago, my mother got 80 pounds of apples at the market. Now, if you’re having trouble imagining what 80 pounds of apples looks like, imagine a hatch-back car with its hatch 2/3 full of apples. So what did I do? I made applesauce. Like, a lot of it. So much that over a year later, there are a few jars still left in my cupboard. The flavour of homemade applesauce can’t even be compared to commercial. It’s just so much richer, and while the colour may not be as perfectly pretty, you can be sure your applesauce isn’t loaded with unpronounceables.
One day, some girlfriends of mine who got together regularly to cook decided I should join in one week, and I suggested a side of Caesar salad be added to the menu. They had a head of lettuce and a bottle of dressing in mind, while I was thinking crispy (homemade) bacon bits for the omnivores, freshly-grated parmesan, homemade Caesar dressing, and croutons fresh out of the oven. The croutons were, hands-down, the star. So crispy and yet light, with just enough garlic that the girls were popping them like candy before the salad was even made. And so easy they’re ready in 10 minutes. Needless to say, I became a regular after that.