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

Convenience Foods You Can Make Better & Cheaper Yourself

Homemade Corn Tortillas that Will Rock Your Taco Night

The taste of homemade corn tortillas just can't be beat. And you'll be pleased to see how easy they are to make!

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Easy Cheese Pizza with Homemade Pizza Sauce

Say goodbye to frozen pizzas forever. This easy cheesy pizza will become a Friday night tradition.

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Seasoned Rice Pilaf (like Rice-a-Roni but better & cheaper!)

Enjoy the San Francisco treat without all the preservatives. This seasoned rice pilaf is the perfect, easy side dish!

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Homemade Onion Soup Mix to Replace that Foil Packet

Soups, stews, roasts, and casseroles will be packed with flavor with this homemade dry onion soup mix you can make yourself.

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Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup for Cooking

Ditch the can, man. You can make your own cream of chicken soup for cooking!

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Basic Vinaigrette Better than the Bottle

Homemade vinaigrette dressing mixes up in minutes, making for the ideal homemade substitute for bottled salad dressings.

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Delicious Ranch Dressing You Can Make in Minutes

A handful of spices are all you need to mix up your own buttermilk ranch dressing at home.

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Marinara Sauce Simple Enough for Everyday

Jarred marinara sauce may be simple, but this sauce takes just minutes to prepare yourself at home -- and it tastes so much better!

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Homemade Salsa - It's Easier than You Think!

Canned salsa is for other folks. Enjoy fresher flavors for less when you make your own salsa at home.

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Orange Cinnamon Rolls that Don't Come in a Can

These orange cinnamon rolls are just the perfect start to the day. Fresh flavors and nothing artificial!

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Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits to Make at Home

As cool as canned biscuits can be, these taste so much better. You'll taste the difference in the very first bite!

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Ditch the Frozen Crust with this Easy Pat in Pan Pie Crust Recipe

No more frozen or refrigerated pie crusts. This one comes together quickly and easily and tastes amazing!

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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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