7 Store-Bought Products You Can Make from Scratch–and Save!

Prepackaged items certainly save time when you’re in a rush to cook dinner, but you’re paying a premium for food that you could easily make yourself. Prepare these items at home to make them cost less, taste better and be healthier overall.

1. Salsa
Make the typical tomato salsa that you can find in jars in the store or go a little bit outside the box with a summery melon-pineapple salsa to use as a great topping for grilled fish.

2. Barbecue Sauce
The possibilities for barbecue sauce flavors are practically endless. Create your signature version by incorporating ingredients that suit your tastes. Your sauce can be vinegary, sweet, mustard-based, tomato-heavy, thick or thin. Our easy recipe for sweet and tangy sauce requires just five ingredients.

3. Pesto
Pesto always seems to cost more than it deserves. It’s basically just basil, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and oil. Try this quick pesto recipe to always have a batch on hand. You can also substitute in any leftover herbs you have in the fridge.

4. Granola Bars
Ditch the high-fructose corn syrup in your kids’ afternoon snack. These homemade trail mix bars are less than 50 cents a bar and include healthy ingredients like rolled oats and sunflower seeds.

5. Vanilla Extract
Making your own extracts at home is a huge money-saver. Vanilla extract requires only two ingredients: vanilla beans and alcohol. Simply put three vanilla beans in a jar and cover with one cup of vodka (or try bourbon or rum). Let this concoction sit for at least a month. You’ll end up with more vanilla extract than you would probably use in a year, so try this method as a gift idea during the holidays, too.

6. Salad Dressing
Salad dressing is tastier and cheaper when made at home. Plus, you avoid all those thickeners and preservatives when you use your own ingredients. Try one of our salad dressing ideas tonight.

7. Peanut Butter
Store-bought peanut butter usually has a ton of added sugar. To make your own, combine dry roasted peanuts and some salt in a food processor for 2 to 3 minutes. You can also add a tablespoon or two of honey if you miss the sweetness.

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  1. khumenuk
    August 14, 2014

    I love it. You should do cream soups. White sauce:2tablespoons flour, 2 butter/oil, 2 cups milk plus whatever kind you want to make add can of mushrooms and juce for cream of mushroom, a can of tomatoes or paste for cream of tomato,ect its about one half the cost of can soup with no additives.

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