Store-bought pantry items like soups, peanut butter and powdered spice mixes can certainly cut back on cooking time and seem super convenient. But some foods can actually taste better (and are certainly healthier) if you make them from scratch.
You’ll also be surprised how fast you can can whip them together! So during the cold winter months, when you’re spending more time indoors, try these tasty homemade versions of pantry items that are better for you and taste better too.
Homemade Chicken Broth
Store-bought chicken broth is a time-saver when you want to make a fast soup — but if you want to take your healthy soup over the top when it comes to flavor, try making this delectable homemade broth. If food additives are a big concern for you, think about making your own broth and freezing it. Store-bought broth can be a haven for gluten-containing ingredients like natural flavorings, yeast, starches and stabilizers and can also contain additives, artificial colorings, and other potential allergens like soy.
Homemade Peanut Butter
Nut butters are a wonderful way to enjoy one of Nature’s rich-tasting superfoods. Store-bought can be a bit lackluster when it comes to health since many national brands contain hydrogenated oils (which typically carry some amount of trans-fats). Natural brands are healthier but many of them can lack taste — and a little bit of salt and honey goes a long way in this homemade version.
Makes 1 quart peanut butter
1 pound roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 tablespoons light olive oil or coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
Place the peanuts, salt, and cayenne in a food processor and grind until finely chopped (about 1 minute with the motor running). While blending, add the oil and the honey and process another 2 to 3 minutes (depending on desired chunkiness), scraping down the sides periodically. Once processed to your liking, transfer to an air-tight container and store in your fridge for up to 1 month.
Nutritional Stats Per Serving (1 tablespoon): 45 calories, 1 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (3 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber, 89 mg sodium
Once you have homemade peanut butter, get creative. Try these delectable dark chocolate cookies: Start with chocolate wafers and add one tablespoon peanut butter and press two wafers together. Or simply serve this peanut butter with antioxidant rich blueberries topped with plain kefir or yogurt.
Hot Cocoa Mixes
Those little packets of hot cocoa mix might seem convenient but you can make your own delicious real hot chocolate with other items you might already have on hand in your kitchen, like real milk or almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and spices. Indulge yourself with this easy Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa that you can make in minutes.
Take-out pizza is just a phone call away but in that same five minutes it takes to locate the pizza shop number you can literally whip up your own homemade pizza dough crust. Just follow this easy how-to and top with healthy ingredients that live in your veggie crisper like mushrooms, peppers, spinach and broccoli. Use your favorite jarred marinara and shredded cheese of your choice.
I love the spices in taco seasoning pouches, but many brands on the market contain MSG, artificial colorings, and loads of salt. You can easily make your own from spices that hang out in your spice rack.
Makes 2 servings, for 2 pounds of ground meat
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons (or 8 grams) salt free beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 ground cayenne
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or place in a coffee grinder and pulse until well mixed. Transfer to an air-tight container and keep in a cool, dark cabinet for up to 2 weeks.