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Old 07-14-2012, 02:19 PM   #21
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

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Originally Posted by aflyingbuttress View Post
Oh, Hungary Caterpillar, my DH and I do eat a lot of mac and cheese. I would love it if you shared your recipe!
It's pretty easy but it's sooo yummy and we make enough to eat dinner and then lunch the next day and sometimes dinner again. It's very easily doubled and tripled for company.

melt 1/2 stick of butter
Add diced half onion, and saute
Add two heaping tbsp flour
Stir really well until all flour is incorporated
Add two cups warm milk, a ladleful at a time.
Keep stirring until it's smooth and thick and yummy
Add a few grinds of pepper
Add half a cup of parmesan, shredded or grated
Stir for a minute or so
Add half a cup of Gruyere, shredded
Stir a minute or so, until starting to really melt in
Add a few tbsp of crumbly blue cheese
Keep stirring until all cheese melted in
Add chopped sun dried tomatoes and some chives to taste
Add cooked pasta - I add half a box if I am loading it up with other stuff
Eat!
You usually don't need salt bc of all the cheese

For non- vegetarians reading this - I add cooked chopped andouille sausage and cooked shredded chicken.

For veg - I have often wondered about adding baked tofu glazed in something smoky to mimic the andouille sausage.

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Old 07-14-2012, 07:30 PM   #22
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

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These suggestions are great and so encouraging. I really appreciate all the thoughtful responses. They reminded me that I do indeed already know how to do a lot of this. I actually already do a lot of cooking from scratch, or have over the years. I guess just the difference is that I only ever did one or two meals a week instead of most of my main staples and freezing things.

I do eat a lot of whole foods already, so I am not worried about my palette adjusting. I prefer the flavors of whole foods. They seem gourmet to me, while processed stuff seems like junk.

I don't know why but whenever I start thinking about this I always get so overwhelmed with all the things I want to make. But you are all right. I need to start with just a few things and go from there. I am a SAHM so I have been looking for things to do during the day to keep me occupied. I am looking forward to it!

Thanks so much for all the tips!
It took me awhile (someone on here gave me the idea last summer, but I didn't get around to actually succeeding with it until the spring when a close friend encouraged me to do it) but I found it really helpful to start doing some actual meal planning.

Also, I wrote out a long list of things we like to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and posted in the kitchen so we refer to it once in awhile if we run out of ideas or have nothing on the meal plan and can't think of what to make.

For the meal plans, I got sidetracked the past few weeks for various reasons, but before we would go grocery shopping, I started writing a list of things to make for dinner for the next 7 days and try to base some of it on things we already have available in the kitchen so stuff doesn't get wasted, and that way we also are a bit better about not getting groceries on a whim, but instead just get things we actually need. It was working pretty well. I also try to do a vegetable with every dinner. Going to start up the meal planning again right now

It was also fun to exchange meal plans with my friend and we got some fun ideas from each other that way too.

Processed stuff seems like junk to me now too.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:14 AM   #23
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

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Sorry for hijacking but would love it if you could share your Spanish rice and rice pilaf recipes
Sorry I haven't checked this for a couple of days.

Spanish (actually Mexican) Rice http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=13291342 I use frozen peas and carrots instead of canned- ends up having way more in there. And I have never done it with the chicken legs. Just made the rice. This makes quite a bit.

the rice pilaf- sort of- it came from Fix, Freeze & Feast. This is the whole recipe but I halve it because my big stock pot isn't big enough. Whole recipe makes 4 side dishes of 4-6 servings so 16-24 side dish servings (very healthy side dish servings)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
6 cups rice, uncooked
12 cups water
2 cups chopped carrots (about 4 med)
1 cup chopped onion (1 med)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
8 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or you can sub the granules and water for homemade broth)
4 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon back pepper

Heat oil and butter in large stock pot. Add rice, carrots, celery and onion. Cooking and stirring until rice is golden brown. Add in seasonings. Add water (or broth if that is what your using). bring to boil. reduce heat cover and cook for 20 mins (or whatever your rice recommends for cooking time- i use one that needs more like 35 mins) or until water is completely absorbed. Cool enough to handle then you can place in containers and freeze.

You can brown the rice let it cool slightly, add seasonings and separate into 4 containers and freeze like that. Then it would 4 meals worth. Then you pull out frozen rice put in pan and use 3 cups water or broth per container.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:52 AM   #24
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

We split bulk bags of things like bread flour with family... It's really not much of an investment to cook from scratch... we added seasonings as we needed them... and basic ingredients like flour are much cheaper valuewise than processed foods... we do grow most of our own veggies and raise beef so we don't see those investments in our food bill... although I'm pretty sure sometimes we'd be better just buying the burger at the store...
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:57 AM   #25
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

2quens&1princenmyhouse, I made those homemade tortillas last night and they were so easy and a total hit. Way better than store bought both in flavor and in quality. I hate how store bought tortillas fall apart when you use them.

We actually got started this week. Last night we had guests and made fish tacos. I used ingredients we already had and made rice, beans, and tortillas from scratch. The rice I made in a rice cooker, just white rice and I added garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, tomato paste, and used vegetable broth instead of water and it was fabulous. So all I had to go out and buy was the fish, lime, onion, tomato, avocado, and yogurt. Next time I will make the yogurt too.

For the rest of the week I planned a menu around what I already had on hand and had to buy very little. I actually think I might have gotten enough for 2 weeks of food and I didn't spend that much at all.

I'm so excited to keep doing this. Thanks everyone for all the tips and recipes! Hungary caterpillar, I can't wait to try that mac and cheese!
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:41 AM   #26
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I make most everything from scratch except bread and cereal, breakfast bars etc. I have always done this and I don't buy any processed foods.
Meal planning is how to make it work. For example, I will buy a roast and make it in the crockpot. The leftover meat I will season and make burritos or tacos or whatever. Leftover mashed potatoes will be shepherds pie the next night.
Leftover beans can become burritos, beans and rice, taco salad, etc. leftover cold rice makes
Excellent fried rice. If you plan carefully enough there are only a couple days a week where you are really cooking and baking a bunch and preparation can be very simple the rest of the week. An organic chicken is inexpensive and you can create two or three meals from just one plus make broth.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #27
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

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Originally Posted by aflyingbuttress View Post
2quens&1princenmyhouse, I made those homemade tortillas last night and they were so easy and a total hit. Way better than store bought both in flavor and in quality. I hate how store bought tortillas fall apart when you use them.
Hmm, I should try that... we get wraps for burritos and quesadillas but my son keeps sneaking wraps if they are in the fridge so I usually end up sticking them in the freezer and that helps them last longer too, but homemade would probably be way better!
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #28
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

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Originally Posted by jbug_4 View Post
Sorry I haven't checked this for a couple of days.

Spanish (actually Mexican) Rice http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=13291342 I use frozen peas and carrots instead of canned- ends up having way more in there. And I have never done it with the chicken legs. Just made the rice. This makes quite a bit.

the rice pilaf- sort of- it came from Fix, Freeze & Feast. This is the whole recipe but I halve it because my big stock pot isn't big enough. Whole recipe makes 4 side dishes of 4-6 servings so 16-24 side dish servings (very healthy side dish servings)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
6 cups rice, uncooked
12 cups water
2 cups chopped carrots (about 4 med)
1 cup chopped onion (1 med)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
8 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or you can sub the granules and water for homemade broth)
4 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon back pepper

Heat oil and butter in large stock pot. Add rice, carrots, celery and onion. Cooking and stirring until rice is golden brown. Add in seasonings. Add water (or broth if that is what your using). bring to boil. reduce heat cover and cook for 20 mins (or whatever your rice recommends for cooking time- i use one that needs more like 35 mins) or until water is completely absorbed. Cool enough to handle then you can place in containers and freeze.

You can brown the rice let it cool slightly, add seasonings and separate into 4 containers and freeze like that. Then it would 4 meals worth. Then you pull out frozen rice put in pan and use 3 cups water or broth per container.
thank you! They sound yummy!
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:52 PM   #29
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

I make most things from scratch. There are a few things I am too lazy to make, like tortillas and cereal. I'm on-again-off-again with bread, depends on my mood.

I like the advice to think about what you eat a lot of, and then start with one or two items to start making from scratch. That way, you can start building up your pantry items slowly, plus you won't be overwhelmed with a whole bunch of new things.

WRT to beans, last fall I pressure canned a 5 lb. bag of pinto beans. Usually I freeze them, but didn't want to fill up my freezer, so I tried canning them. I will do that from now on, because it was actually very easy. DH also finds them much easier to digest than the cooked-then-frozen beans.


Start small, and keep trying new things! You will be surprised at how much you learn to make from scratch within six months to a year.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:30 PM   #30
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I am going to keep watching this thread. I have been wanting to make more from scratch as well. How do you make your own broth of you have a good recipe? I tried a while back and it was almost flavorless. Not sure where I went wrong.
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