A woman standing in front of a store

How to Make Your Own Groceries to Cut Soaring Costs

Chances are good you’ve noticed the price of ordinary grocery items beginning to soar. The Wall Street Journal is reporting these food items are getting more costly in 2022: mac and cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, soup, coffee, and snacks. And don’t assume it will stop there.

A woman standing in front of a store

As reported by Apple News this morning, Mondelez International Inc. said recently that it was raising prices across cookies, candy, and other products sold in the U.S. by 6% to 7% starting in January. General Mills Inc. and Campbell Soup Co. said their price increases also would take effect in January.

Kraft Heinz Co. told retailer customers that it would raise prices across many of its products including Jell-O pudding and Grey Poupon mustard, with some items going up as much as 20%, according to a memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

It’s time to get ahead of that curve by stocking up on these items if and when they go on sale again, and perhaps even better: Learn to make ordinary grocery items ourselves to cut the soaring costs.

 

Heinz Ketchup

Earlier this year, we were surprised to discover the U.S. is experiencing a ketchup shortage. Not kidding. Ketchup! And specifically, our favorite brand, Heinz. Honestly, Heinz Ketchup is about as common a product as any in the Hunt refrigerator and our supply never reaches its best by date!

French fries with ketchup on wood tray

To make a quite amazing (!)  copycat version of Heinz Ketchup:

You’ll need:

✅ tomato paste

✅ light corn syrup

✅ white vinegar

✅ water

✅ white granulated sugar

✅ salt

✅ onion powder

✅ garlic powder

(full printable recipe below)

Panera Mac and Cheese

For the moment, let’s try to forget boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese. Its price is about to soar, according to the folks at Kraft. Sure it’s great option for the kiddos but as long as we’re talking about cooking from scratch at home to save money, let’s shoot for the moon.

Everyone has their weakness—mine happens to be macaroni and cheese and in my opinion, it’s hard to beat Panera’s signature Mac & Cheese. But that $9.09 price tag for a single serving is hard to swallow.

Everything in me has been determined to figure out how to make this myself at home, and for more like $.80 a serving. And now that’s exactly what I do—as often as I dare.

A bowl of Macaroni and cheese

This Copycat Panera’s Mac and Cheese Recipe is, in my opinion even better than Panera’s. It’s smooth and creamy thanks to a secret ingredient that may make some of my dear readers wince.

In a word: Velveeta.

I know what you’re thinking, but if an ingredient or technique makes a dish taste better and gives it a heavenly texture, I am all for it. The key lies in how much Velveeta you use—only a very small amount. That is the secret for this mac n cheese’s velvety smooth texture. Otherwise it will get lumpy, even slightly gritty depending on your white cheddar. I don’t know why.

I promise you, people will go nuts for this Mac & Cheese. Just don’t mention the V-word. It’ll be our little secret.

You’ll need:

✅ dry macaroni

✅ butter

✅ flour

✅ evaporated milk

✅ heavy cream

✅ sharp white cheddar

✅ Velveeta cheese

✅ black pepper

✅ dry mustard powder

(Full printable recipe below)

Blue Cheese Dressing

The best brands are found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. And they are not inexpensive! You can make blue cheese dressing even better and cheaper yourself—better than the refrigerated and the bottled options.

blue cheese dressing

You’ll need:

✅ sour cream

✅ mayonnaise

✅ Worcestershire sauce

✅ dry mustard

✅ salt

✅ garlic powder

✅ ground black pepper

✅ blue cheese

(Full printable recipe below)

 

More Resourcessalad wedge

Check this popular Everyday Cheapskate post:

15 Quick and Easy Recipes to Make the Best Salad Dressings From Scratch

 

Surprise! Free DownloadEasy do-it-yourself recipes and instructions to duplicate your favorite commercial seasonings, rubs, dips, sauces, soups, gravies, salad dressings, baking mixes and more!

More than 150 recipes for rubs, dips, sauces, soups, gravies, salad dressings, baking mixes, and more are in our eBook, Make Your Own Mixes: Easy do-it-yourself recipes and instructions to duplicate your favorite commercial mixes and seasoning packets.

For a limited time, my eBook, Make Your Own Mixes it is a Free Download just for you, as a bonus for reading all the way to the end! MakeYourOwnMixes download.

 

Stay Tuned

You can be sure that this is only the beginning of the discovery for how we can make ourselves the food items we’re now paying others to make for us, when we can do it cheaper, better, and faster. Are you with me? Then stay tuned. Don’t miss a single Everyday Cheapskate post!

French Fries with Ketchup

Copycat Heinz Ketchup

This recipe was created by Todd Wilbur for his book "Even More Top Secret Recipes". You can find more of Todd's original recipes at TopSecretRecipes.com
Now that the price of good ketchup is soaring, you can relax. Make it yourself! This is so close to Heinz, you're going to amazed. And it's super cheap to make yourself.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 tablespoons
Calories: 23kcal
Cost: $.70

Ingredients

  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • ½ cup light corn syrup like Karo
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 tspn salt
  • ¼ tspn onion powder
  • tspn garlic powder

Instructions

  • Into a medium sauce pan set over medium heat, pour all of the ingredients.
  • Stir or whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture looks smooth.
  • Once the ketchup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer.
  • Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes (be careful to not let it burn).
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Cover and allow to cool. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Notes

  1. This recipe was created by Todd Wilbur for his book "Even More Top Secret Recipes". You can find more of Todd's original recipes at TopSecretRecipes.com
  2. Store in a recycled Ketchup bottle or other covered containers
  3. My cost to make this recipe, using store-brand tomato paste about $.70. An equal amount of Heinz Ketchup, at about $.15 per oz at my supermarket, works out to $3.59 for the same amount—more than 5x this homemade version. Wow! What a savings. 
  4. Non-Fructose Version: Substitute blue agave sweetener for the Karo light corn syrup in the foregoing recipe. Everything else remains the same. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!
A bowl of food, with Cheese

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

This Copycat Panera's Mac and Cheese Recipe is even better than Panera's. It's smooth and creamy with a heavenly texture, thanks to a secret ingredient— Velveeta, but just a very small amount. I promise you, people will go nuts for this Mac & Cheese. Just don't mention the V-word. It'll be our little secret.
4.25 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 (1-cup servings)
Calories: 655kcal
Cost: $7

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta, cavatappi, elbow, shells
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, or any milk except skim
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded See NOTE 1
  • 2 ounces Velveeta, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, ditto
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions making sure to salt the water. Retain about 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Set a large pot over medium high heat. Add butter and allow to completely melt. Add the flour and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated. Cook for one full minute.
  • Reduce the temperature to medium. Pour in the milk, heavy cream, salt, dry mustard, and pepper. Continue whisking until it begins to bubble. Reduce temperature to Low and add the grated white cheddar and Velveeta cheeses. Stir until melted and fully incorporated.
  • Add the cooked pasta, gently stirring until combined.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, as it thickens. If it gets too thick, return to Low heat, adding pasta water a couple of tablespoons at a time while stirring gently until it is just perfect. Taste to check for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as desired.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

I use Costco's English Coastal Cheddar, but any good, sharp white cheddar will do.

Nutrition

Calories: 655kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 320mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1482IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 381mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!
blue cheese dressing

Blue Cheese Dressing

Fabulous as a dressing on salad and also dipping sauce for wings
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Refrigerate before serving: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 10 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 139kcal
Cost: Varies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tspn Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tspn dry mustard
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn garlic powder
  • 1/2 tspn ground black pepper
  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Stir in mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in blue cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 191mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

Bonus

1000 island dressing

1000 Island Dressing

Classic, delicious and so easy to make
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Cost: Varies

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, hard-boiled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper

Instructions

  • In a bowl, mash egg with a fork, stir in the rest of the ingredients until well incorporated. Best when used immediately, or alternatively, this delicious dressing will last up to three days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Yield: About 1 cup. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

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7 replies
  1. Thank you says:

    Hi,
    Just joined and already love this site
    Sorry if this question has been asked but are you able to can these recipes ( ketchup, dressing) for long term storage?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I have not attempted to can any of the recipes. However, in that most contain vinegar they have a relatively long shelf life. Sorry I can’t give you a definitive answer. If you give it a try, I’d love to know your outcome!

      Reply
  2. Cally Ross says:

    5 stars
    I remember the first time my mom made 1000 Island dressing, I thought to myself, “she really can make anything!” then she made mayo and my mind was blown. Why do we become so dependent on these items in bottles and jars that our grandparents made all the time? lazy? busy? both? Thank you for the reminder that we are not hostages to the rising costs of food, we just need to be aware of alternatives. 🙂 Happy new year!

    Reply
  3. KM Martin says:

    In my area, mayonnaise — no matter the brand — is going or around $5 a jar! Fortunately, I still have all my old cookbooks from the 1970s & ’80s, i.e., Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes & Gardens (among many others), and am making my own mayo now for a fraction of the cost. In fact, I had chicken salad sandwiches just tonight for supper using my homemade mayo.

    Reply
  4. Joey says:

    5 stars
    These will definitely work in my house for sure. Love saving now for later. I have been doing many things that you suggest on your site and they have proven out to be at the top of the bar as far as taste, savings and just a joy to know and do. Thank you so much for all the things you do there to help all of me and my friends to do now and save for what we won’t be able to do in the too near future !! We love you and your site here in Washington State!!!

    Reply

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