If your family loves beef jerky, French salad dressing and A-1 Steak Sauce as much as mine, you definitely need to learn how to make these grocery items yourself—cheaper and better!

Here’s the deal: If you can make it as good or better than its store-bought version for way less money, why not? Give these recipes a try. I’m going to bet that once you do, you won’t go back.

This recipe will make beef jerky better than anything you can you buy, and it is infinitely cheaper. Make sure you get the beef on sale and you’ll be under $5 a batch. A pound of store-bought quality beef jerky in my area runs anywhere from $24 to $40 a pound.

Beef Jerky

  • 1 pound very lean beef (chuck or round)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (or steak sauce, see below)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried onion flakes (or 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh onion)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Trim all visible fat from meat and freeze until firm and solid enough to slice into thin strips. Cut across the grain and make sure that the slices are thin, about 1/8-inch.

2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour liquid over meat. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 140 F. Remove meat from the marinade and place the strips on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in the oven. Bake at this very low temperature until strips are very dry and splinter on the edges (from 18 to 24 hours). Cool immediately before wrapping lightly in plastic wrap. Jerky will keep in a tightly covered container for 2 to 4 weeks. This recipe multiplies well. Yum!

NOTE: It might seem as though jerky should be stored like other dried food items. The shelf life of jerky is generous, but just like any other food item, jerky that is stored improperly will go bad. The best way to store jerky is to treat it like a fresh food item.Jerky can be stored in the refrigerator to be used within 6 months.

French Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking often, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Cover the dressing until cool then place it in the refrigerator to chill. Yield: 1 cup dressing.

Steak Sauce

You’re going to swear this is the secret recipe for A-1 Steak Sauce. I can’t guarantee that it is, but I would not be a bit surprised. Don’t fret about the raisins. They will disappear and this sauce will be smooth as butter once pureed.

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over med heat. Boil, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 10 minutes, dump mixture into blender and puree until completely smooth. Pour into a bottle or jar and cover tightly. Will last 3 months when stored in the refrigerator.

Question: Which grocery items would you like to be able to make yourself? Respond in the comments area!

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