As part of my tightwad education, I’ve read every book I could find about saving money. Many of these books offer recipes for homemade “convenience foods,” but it’s been my experience that the time and expense involved in making them often makes them more expensive than just buying the convenience food at the store.
There are a few exceptions.
I buy my spices in bulk from an Amish grocery store, and I’ve found that I can make my own seasoning mixes for about half the cost of the little store-bought packets, and they actually taste better. If you don’t have an Amish grocery near you, chances are you do have a bulk grocery. Check the yellow pages. If not, stores like Sam’s Club and Costco sell spices in bulk quantity, as do food service suppliers. They’re definitely worth investigating.
Here are some recipes that we’ve tried and enjoyed:
Taco Seasoning Mix
6 teaspoons chili powder
4 1/2 teaspoons cumin
5 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. 5 tablespoons of this mix equals one 1.5 ounce packet. It’s quite strong, so you might want to use less. We’ve found that about 3 tablespoons is plenty for us.
Onion Soup Mix
3/4 cup onion flakes
4 teaspoons onion powder
1/3 cup beef bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. The ratio for this is 2 tablespoons to one cup water.
Cream Soup Mix
2 cups dry milk
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken bouillon powder
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
Mix all ingredients in an airtight container. To make the equivalent of one 10 3/4-ounce can of condensed cream soup, combine 1/3 cup mix with 1 1/4 cups water.
Seasoned Rice Mix (similar to Rice-a Roni)
2 cups uncooked rice
1 cup of broken spaghetti pieces
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
6 tablespoons chicken or beef bouillon powder (I use chicken)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To use, combine 1 cup mix with 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until rice is tender.
All recipes are courtesy of the Complete Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn. If you do not own this book, I highly recommend that you purchase it. It’s well worth your investment! I consider it to be the “tightwad bible,” and I’ve referred to it more often than any other book I’ve ever owned. I have a hardcover copy that is so well-used that the cover is coming off. Of course, I will repair this with packing tape, because that’s the tightwad way![print-me/]