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.
Mondelez International Inc. announced in January 2022 it would be was raising prices across cookies, candy, and other products sold in the U.S. by 6% to 7% . General Mills Inc. and Campbell Soup Co. said followed suit with their price increases that also took effect in January.
Kraft Heinz Co. told retailer customers that it would raise prices across many of its products including Ketchup, Jell-O pudding and Grey Poupon mustard, with some items going up as much as 20%.
It’s time to get ahead of the curve by stocking up on these items if and when they go on sale again, but even better: Learn to make ordinary grocery items ourselves to cut the soaring costs.
During the height of the pandemic, we were surprised to discover the U.S. experienced 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 (funny, I know because well … Hunt’s) and our supply never reaches its best by date!
To make a spot-on amazing copycat version of Heinz Ketchup:
✅ tomato paste
✅ light corn syrup
✅ white vinegar
✅ white granulated sugar
✅ 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 has already begun 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 $9.69 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.
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 to 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.
✅ dry macaroni
✅ 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.
✅ sour cream
✅ Worcestershire sauce
✅ dry mustard
✅ garlic powder
✅ ground black pepper
✅ blue cheese
(Full printable recipe below)
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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!
Copycat Heinz Ketchup
- 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
- ⅛ tspn garlic powder
- 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.
- 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
- Store in a recycled Ketchup bottle or other covered containers.
- 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.
- Non-Fructose Version: Substitute blue agave sweetener for the Karo light corn syrup in the foregoing recipe. Everything else remains the same.
Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese
- 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
- 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.
Blue Cheese Dressing
- 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
- 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.
1000 Island Dressing
- 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
- 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!
First published: 12-27-21; Revised & Updated 3-18-22