DIY Convenience Foods

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Want to make your own trail mix? Oatmeal cups? Flavored cream cheese? Frozen taquitos? Well, read on because DIY Convenience Foods are in your reach.

DIY Convenience Foods | Good Cheap Eats

There are a lot of things out there that are convenient to grab when you’re out and about. The grocery shelves are filled with snacks and goodies and premade concoctions that are easy to serve at home. These “convenience” foods make life easier, but they can be less than good for us, overly priced, or both.

New series: DIY Convenience

This month I’m starting a series that I’ve been thinking about since last December: DIY Convenience Foods. I’ve written about this already a fair amount: here, on Life as MOM, and in my book, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. You probably already know that my heart belongs to homemade. This month, I’m stepping it up a bit.

I’m looking forward to this series as a chance to make homemade more of those things that I count as expensive junk food. I don’t want to be held hostage by frozen foods, bottled beverages, or snack pack sizes of anything. I want fun food to reign at my house, but not at the expense of good health or high prices. I want to encourage my husband in his desire of eating better and more economically at work.

And I want to make cooking an eating just a little more enjoyable and a little bit cheaper.

I know that making my own convenience foods won’t exactly be “convenient”. There’s a reason why these products are so very popular. They’re easy to grab and throw in your cart. The marketers have convinced you that it’s too hard or too expensive to make it yourself. 

It’s true. There’s a history of food manufacturers realizing that if they can just convince the consumer that it’s too hard to mix together flour, butter, and eggs to make a cake her own, then she will buy the cake mix. The mix that she has to add butter and eggs to anyway!

Make your own convenience foods Good Cheap Eats

My hopes are manifold:

  • to experiment with new recipes and things I’ve been hesitant to attempt on a regular basis, like homemade bagels
  • to perfect some old favorites that we already love, like tamales
  • to develop more strategies that will help my family eat better and cheaper, even when we crave “junk food”
  • to make packing lunches and road trip food a little bit tastier, healthier, and less expensive

31 Days of DIY Convenience Foods

Easy Chicken Strips for the Freezer

3 Ethnic Foods You Can Make Yourself

Make Cookies More Convenient

DIY Baking Mixes

Homemade Cranberry Soda

Honey Syrup

Fill the Freezer with DIY Convenience

5 Seasoning Mixes You Can Make Yourself

Strawberry Mango Smoothie with Banana

Seasoned Rice Pilaf (or Rice-a-Roni without the Box)

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

Lemon Lime Sports Ade

Three Mall Favorites You Can Do Better Yourself (Soft Pretzels, Fudge, and Smoothies)

Stone Soup (How to Make Soup with What You Have)

Hot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Carrot Juice Plus

6 Great Dips to Make Yourself

Homemade White Whole Wheat Sub Rolls

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Cheese and Garlic Croutons

5 Great Pizzas to Make Yourself

Basic Vinaigrette

Triple Chocolate Donuts

3 Recipes that Beat the Box

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Three Things You Should Never Buy in a Bottle

Nut-Free Monkey Munch Trail Mix

Chicken, Bean, and Cheese Burritos

Easy Chicken & Cheese Flautas

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Three kinds of flavored cream cheese

Flavored Cream Cheese


Today I’m linking up over at The Nester’s 31 Days series where hundreds of folks are sharing their 31-day challenges. I did this last year on both blogs and it was a lot of fun. If you missed those posts, you can still find them in the archives: 31 Days of Freezer Cooking and 31 Days to Stop and Smell the Roses.

This year over at Life as MOM, I’ll be blogging 31 Days of Kitchen Time Savers, so you can follow both and hopefully we’ll both learn new tricks in the kitchen.

Don’t want to miss a post in this series? Subscribe to 31 Days of DIY Convenience food here. Get updates via email here.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. kort says

    so happy for this 31 Days series, Jessica!

    i’ll be writing about Advent at my place….and checking back here too! can’t wait!

  2. I love this, Jessica! I, too, want to have fun foods in my house with worrying about the health or high prices. I will be following along, and am excited to gain some more great recipes from you!

  3. carey says

    What a great topic, I’m really looking forward to your recipes!!

  4. Vanessa B says

    I’m looking forward to this series for so many of the reasons you named. My husband is always asking me, “what can I just grab and eat?” One can only eat crackers and peanut butter so many times I guess. Just yesterday I walked through the frozen food section and felt like I’d passed through an alternative dimension. Everything was so foreign to me.

  5. I will definitely be following this one! I’m trying to only eat out once a week (Sunday) but I’m gradually even wanting to start using crockpot more and freezer meals to eliminate that. I feel bad that alot of times my freezer contains processed frozen foods instead of homemade ones that I freeze.

  6. I can’t wait for the series to start!! Yei!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Veronica says

    I just started making my own granola at home, so yummy and easy! However, I would like to go a step further and make granola bars for snacks on the go. I hope you can include a recipe for these one of these 31 days! Looking forward to your posts! Thank you!

  8. Cherie says

    This series has really met a need for me – my time and schedule are tighter than ever!
    Your burrito post got me started
    I’ve taken some odds and ends out of the freezer and made chi ken and cheese burritos – also shredded some BBQ pork and made a dozen slider sandwiches
    A little ground beef and pork became a sheet of “meatballs” last night that ill turn into meatball calzones this afternoon
    I had been doi g pretty well with breakfasts but I see I now really need to keep “instameals” for days the teens are famished and there’s no time to cook

  9. Mia says

    Thank you and keep the recipes coming! You are one of my fave 31 Dayers! 🙂

  10. M. G. says

    I followed this link from Pinterest, in the hope that there was an actual recipe for taquitos. 🙁 Guess I’ll be removing that pin.

    • Sorry that Pinterest wasn’t clear. You can find my beef taquitos recipe here. My chicken flauta recipe (similar to taquitos) is here. So yummy!

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