10 Fabulous Foods We Make at Home (Not Buy!)

I thought it would be fun to do a compilation of our favorite homemade versions of either convenience food or restaurant items. Here are 10 fabulous foods that we make at home!

Homemade mocha frappuccino

#1. Homemade Mocha Frappuccinos! These taste remarkably similar to Starbucks, but for a fraction of the price. We like to add unflavored whey protein to ours when using as a morning pick-me-up. Joshua has drank one of these every day for the past year! (Save money by purchasing your cocoa powder at a bulk foods store.)

#2. Papa Murphy's Specialty Pizzas. I started out by creating what we considered the perfect homemade pizza, which surpasses any take-out pizza we've ever eaten. Now, Papa Murphy's keeps sending us advertisements in the mail, so I got inspired by their ads to create my own homemade versions of their pizzas. YUM!

Papa Murphy's pizzas I've created thus far (another one coming tomorrow!):

Thin-Crust Bacon Artichoke Pizza

Mediterranean Herb Chicken Pizza

Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal

#3. Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets. This was a fun project, and the kids loved all the flavors we made! I'm picky and prefer old-fashioned rolled oats cooked on the stovetop, fresh that morning, but this is a simple and frugal convenience food. :)

Olive Garden Salad and Dressing

#4. Olive Garden Salad and Dressing. I've served this salad to lots of guests and it gets rave reviews! Salads are generally very affordable to make, and having a good salad recipe can be the inspiration needed to create one at home!

Sweet and Sour Chicken over Rice

#5. Sweet and Sour Chicken. This photo needs updated, but the recipe is excellent. This from-scratch sweet and sour chicken is deliciously similar to the kind we loved at Chinese buffets.

Hot chocolate made from the mix!

#6. Powdered Hot Cocoa Mix. Super easy, super yummy. No more Swiss Miss packets! :)

yellow rice

#7. Homemade Yellow Rice. Did you know that you can make your own yellow rice? It's delicious and that beautiful yellow color is from turmeric -- a healthy spice. :) We LOVE this yellow rice.

Orange julius

#8. Orange Julius! Joshua is the master behind these. :)

Deluxe Chocolate Cake

#9. Deluxe Chocolate Cake Mix. This can be made ahead and stored like a boxed cake mix. It's also the best homemade chocolate cake I've tasted! :)

Condensed cream of chicken soup recipe

#10. Homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. Just as good as canned -- without the MSG! :) I haven't bought canned cream of chicken soup in over 6 years. This homemade recipe is my own version and it's worked great in everything I've tried! :)

Bonus mentions:

Homemade chicken stuffing mix --like the boxed mixes, only using your own bread crumbs and spices.

Homemade vanilla extract --very nice when we didn't have access to Costco's vanilla. Now that we have Costco, I may just buy theirs when we run out. :)

Dairy kefir --healthy and really affordable to make. (Super easy, too!)

Which of these things have you made at home? Are any of them new to you? What am I missing on this list that I really should try in the future?? :)


I also try to make most of our food from scratch, but a few of these I haven't tried yet. I'm going to have to try the Olive Garden salad dressing. Thanks for posting them.

The things I am still wanting to perfect is home made tortillas, bagels and english muffins. I have tried a few recipes and variations, but none come close to the store bought that we love.

Oh yes, breads! That is what I was forgetting. :)

I've made bagels and pita pockets that rivaled store-bakery versions... my homemade tortillas aren't quite like store-bought, although I do like them. (The ones from the store just stay softer and more flexible... maybe I should try adding dough conditioners like we did with our bread! :P)

English Muffins is something I've been meaning to try for years... just never have! :)

I would encourage you to try English muffins! They're EASY and taste wonderful!

Use a cast iron griddle for tortillas & make sure it is hot. The tortillas cook quickly. Flip them as soon as they start to brown. They will stay pliable & not dry out. When the griddle is not hot enough, they take longer to cook & dry out.
Good luck
Love your site. I was checking out the Kefir Instructions.

To make tortillas that stay soft & do not dry out; heat a cast iron griddle on medium high heat so the tortillas cooks quickly for about 20 seconds per side. Flip the Tortilla as soon as it starts to brown lightly.
Good luck !!


We make most of these from scratch as well but I haven't attempted the vanilla extract so we're excited to give that a go.

I saw your comment, Tammy, about trying English muffins. Over at joyinmykitchen.blogspot.com Sno White (her screen name) has an excellent recipe for whole wheat english muffins. They are super easy and very tasty!! Her recipes are listed by category so look for the muffins under breads. Hope you get to try them!!

I love Joy in my Kitchen! :) I will look up her recipe! A chef friend of mine recently shared a recipe that I was thinking of trying, but hers are white, not whole wheat, so maybe I'll try both kinds! :)

The Frugal Girl also just did a post about homemade English Muffins too! They look delish!

I need to try your sweet and sour chicken! That is a favorite of mine when we go to Chinese places and would love to make it at home.

~Elizabeth in Alaska

I've tried the english muffin recipe at this site and it is to DIE for...


you don't need the wood burning stove though.. LOL

I love your cream of mushroom soup recipe. I've made it many times, usually in a double batch so I can freeze in in 'can portions'. I need to make another batch soon.

I also make my own iced coffee drinks... similar to your frappuccinos. I take a large glass, fill with ice, fill 3/4 full with cold (leftover) coffee, stir in a teaspoon or 2 of sugar, stir to dissolve and then fill to the top with milk and a squirt of chocolate syrup if I'm making a cafe mocha or sometimes I just leave it out and drink it like a latte. Yumm-O!

I'm definitely gonna try your chocolate cake. Would love to have the recipe for the frosting... it looks so light and fluffy... just like I like !!

I've also made the hot cocoa mix recipe. I use a recipe my mom used to make 30+ years ago when I was a kid !!

I will add the chocolate frosting recipe soon!! :)

This is making me so hungry! Love it - definitely bookmarking this. The sweet & sour chicken looks particularly awesome!

we've been using your cream of chicken soup recipe for a few months now : ) i love to make a double or triple batch and store it in can portions in my freezer, just like the commenter before me! makes it super easy to pull one out the night before to thaw out.

we also make a similar frappaccino recipe,
and homemade pizza is a staple around here : )

looks like i'm going to have to try some more of your recipes, that chocolate cake is calling my name!

Great idea for a post! I'm going to try some of these and maybe share a few of our own.

Many of these I had never seen and I am super excited as the convenience versions cannot be bought here. I will have to give some of these a try.

@ Ich liess mein Herz in Deutschland

Hi Tammy, love your site!

As an American born who moved to Britain as a teenager, I missed a lot of the American foods I had grown up with. At first it was not too bad, as my parents (American Father, English Mother) both worked on USAF bases, but once I married and moved to Scotland with my husband certain products were nigh on impossible to get. Bisquick, egg noodles, taco seasoning mix, hot dogs (English ones are absolutely foul), breakfast sausage, Cream of Wheat, etc, etc - I had to learn to make them or do without! Some of these items, such as Bisquick, cake mixes, taco seasoning are now available from the large supermarkets, but they are usually pricey! Great article today, think I am going to try a few of these!

Keep up the great website and I hope that all is well with your wonderful family.



Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

The Orange Julius recipe has become an absolute favorite at my house! Thank you!

Next week I will try your Olive Garden Salad recipe and the Sweet and Sour Chicken. I have been looking for a good Chinese recipe that will keep us from going to the local buffet! :)

Thanks, Tammy!

Tina http://tulipsinthesunlight.blogspot.com

We make Orange Julius at our house, but we use kefir. Sometimes we use half orange and half pineapple juice for a yummy variation.

Have you ever tried stirring a spoonful of peanut butter into your oatmeal? It's delicous, and adds more protein to keep you going.

I haven't tried that, but I should! I wonder if the kids will like it. They really didn't care for the coconut oil I tried adding one time! :P :) They're usually not picky though! :)

Try making homemade crumpets. Yummy!

SO simple. I just love the receipe posted by Kendra at New Life on a homestead. Find it here:


The only additional advice that I would give is to take the small lid off your blender and insert a funnel into it for a "no mess" way of slowly adding the oil.

~Chantel, Iberia, MO

Good suggestion! :) I actually bookmarked a homemade mayo recipe a couple weeks ago. Right after Joshua for several jars on sale! :) I will probably use what we got and then make my own when we run out! :)

This is my all time favorite make at home food!


Fun post, I might copy you. ;)

Those look great! I have been meaning to do more experimenting with homemade granola bars, since the ones I've made have been on the sweet side... I'll have to try your recipe when I have time to start making some! :) Thanks for sharing the link. :)

We make an awesome Garlic Chicken Pizza (just like Papa Murphys - even better, so says the hubby!)


I love garlic and your pizza does indeed sound awesome! Thanks for the idea!! :)

You just gave me a boat load of inspiration. Thank you sooo much!

We will definitely be trying several of these recipes!! I have tried your condensed cream of chicken soup, after cooking two whole chickens in the crock pots.... made enough cream of chicken soup to last us a WHILE! :)

If your family loves ice cream - you might want to check out http://scoopalicious.blogspot.com. She "copies" many of the gourmet ice cream shops! :)

Thanks for the idea! We love ice cream as well, and I'm not sure why we haven't really gotten into making our own -- yet! I'll bookmark that link for future reference. :) We probably already even have the ingredients, since we get cream at Costco and usually have it in our fridge! :)

Thank you for sharing these recipes. I look forward to trying all of them.

Your homemade Mocha is yummy but I also love to make homemade iced coffee--think Starbucks frapuccino that you buy in the glass bottles. Here is the link to my recipe, although I'm sure you all could improve it even more!


Do you think it would still work (also store well?) if I used butter in the cake mix instead of vegetable shortening? I try not to use shortening anymore.


homemade ricotta , marcarpone and cream cheese are super easy and are not time comsuming..Save $$$ and enjoy the yummy taste.

I'd also add bisquick. Oh how easy it is! And cheap!!!
Thanks for the yellow rice. I made it tonight, and it was yummy! I didn't have any homemade broth left, but I can imagine!

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