Dinner Ideas: MORE Supermarket Products You Can Make at Home 27

My earlier post entitled 10 Supermarket Products You Can Make at Home really resonated with people. Some were indignant about the “food” we find in the stores. Others were happy to find dinner ideas and DIY recipes to make some of the products they usually depend on from the grocery store.

Corporations are working to convince us that cooking from scratch is hard. Not. So.

As we traverse the supermarket we’re bombarded with “easy!” “fast!” and the purely ridiculous. Pasta has always been one of my go-to meals for hurry-up nights, and yet someone decided that people might want to make it even faster. That speed comes with disposable plastic packaging and very likely some unpronounceable ingredients. Potatoes—normally a very inexpensive, basic ingredient—have been dried, doctored, and packaged up in convenient boxes that cost more than the original by far. And in the liquor section, we find ready-to-roll drinks. Just twist, slam shots with names like buttery nipple and whipped cherry, then toss the disposable hard plastic shot glass in the trash.

No matter what the food corporations want you to believe (It’s hard! You don’t have time for cooking!) you can cook from scratch. The food will taste better, you’ll eliminate some questionable ingredients, and you’ll be creating much less waste.

Cook pasta at home and get yourself a reusable lunch tin to take it to work.

Pasta and grain dinner ideas

Potatoes are one of the least expensive things a person can put on the table. And they're easy. Here are some recipes to replace the box.

Perfect potatoes

Plastic trays of pre-cooked rice to pop in the microwave! People. Rice is not that hard to make!

Dinner ideas: Rice

That Pillsbury Dough Boy is cute and all, but homemade is so much better.

Homemade cookies

Gluten free baking sounds scary, but it's not. You can do this without the plastic containers!

If you can stir together some ingredients, you can make a quick bread. No need for a "kit."

Make at sweet bread

Muffins are super easy to make and great for breakfast. Skip the packaged mix (and the waste) and try making them at home!

DIY muffins

No need to depend on canned frosting; it's super easy to make your own!

Frosting and Icing

A disposable, hard plastic shot glass for every drink? I don't think so. Think of the landfill and make your own!

DIY drinks

People. Bacon. It's easy.

 People. It’s bacon. You don’t need a recipe. You just need one of these.

Want to learn to make more of your own pantry staples? 

Check out Off The Shelf: Homemade Alternatives to the Condiments, Toppings, and Snacks You Love!

100-page ebook featuring recipes to revamp your pantry!



50+ recipes from some of the web’s top real food bloggers.

100 pages featuring gorgeous photos and simple instructions.

Replace your favorite supermarket “cheats” with simple homemade alternatives.

Discover just how easy it is to make your own.

Save money and eliminate wasteful packaging.


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27 thoughts on “Dinner Ideas: MORE Supermarket Products You Can Make at Home

  • dropofkim

    Okay, these are all awesome recipe suggestions! Thanks so much but I gotta know, where in the world do you find premade shots?! I have never seen such a thing. Again, great compilation!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Right?? Those just blew my mind! These are at my local supermarket.

      • Karen Lynn

        Wonderful recipes to choose from I need lots of ideas for fall lunches and quick family meals….we are really trying to change things up and have more variety this year…….plus doing gluten free makes things challenging but you shared a ton of variety!!!!

        also thanks for sharing my rice recipe….love me some rice! Thanks so much 🙂

  • heather

    Who knew that you could make all that stuff at home, right?  I was in my late 20’s before I found out that you don’t have to buy pancake mix in box!!!

  • Nicole

    Some other sites that have good food stuff: unconventional kitchen, deliciously organic, 100daysofrealfood, chocolate covered kate, marathon mom, cook smart…to name a few more :). This is an awesome reference. Thanks!

    • Kayla

      Wow Nicole!! Thank you for this list, these sites are now all bookmarked on my browser. 

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Gravy was the thing that probably stumped me the most, initially.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around actual drippings and spices and, weirdest, adding *flour.*  I don’t know what I thought was in those gravy packets, but flour was for baking, not gravy-making.  Thankfully I’ve been happily making my own gravy now since around 2009.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      That’s funny. Gravy was always homemade when I was growing up, but pudding? Who knew you could make that without a box??

      • Sherry

        My three boys have had very little convenience foods growing up.  When my oldest was around 12, he realized that you can buy soup in a can.  However, they all think soup from a can would be gross.  To date, they have never eaten soup from a can.

        • Kris Bordessa Post author

          That’s funny. My boys were at a party one time – they were tweens – and someone was serving tater tots. They had no idea what they were!

  • Jessica @ConveyAwareness

    Fantastic overview! So nice to see you work up these gentle reminders that most, if not all (if one is capable), can make their meals at home from scratch & fresh ingredients! This is your second rendition. I’m excited to see what you come up with for the next one. Thanks for including my links, too. =)

  • sandra

    one of the dumbest “quick and easy” foods is the oatmeal packets. quaker instant oatmeal: sold as healthy, fast and convenient. here are the ingredients in the packages:  

    you can buy a big box of quaker quick oats with ingredient list of:
    100% ROLLED OATS

    it’s just as quick and easy… 1/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup water, 40 seconds in microwave
    add various optional ingred:  bananas, brown sugar, honey, blueberries, etc. etc.

    just as fast just as easy and less packaging and waste and it’s cheaper!

    • Cyndi

      I make my own homemade packets. Adding oatmeal, cinnamon, brown sugar or raw sugar and powdered milk. My kids love them. You can add dried fruit and they taste better than the fruit and cream packets by Quaker. Takes 10-15 minutes to make near 25 packs.

      • Tina Marie

        My kids don’t like the regular oatmeal. They say it is overly mushy. Is there a way to make it less mushy and more like the packets? it is a waste of money to buy the individual packets but its also a waste to throw away mushy oatmeal.

        • Kris Bordessa Post author

          Weeeelllll….. There’s a reason some people call oatmeal “mush.” 😉 The best way to overcome mushiness in my experience is to go a bit lighter on the liquid. You’ll have to report back!

          • Arlene

            I despise snotty oatmeal! Instead I bake steel cut oats. Soak the oats a few hours (or overnight) in water with a little yogurt. Drain, mix in eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar (maple syrup, agave, honey…), dried fruit, nuts…what ever your heart desires. Pour into a greased pan, bake (350 degrees, 45 mins or so, depending on how deep your pan is) I don’t have quantities listed because it really doesn’t matter. I always comes out delicious!

  • Amberjane

    I do make all of these at home but am bewildered by the cooked bacon – seriously who would buy that ?! The smell of cooking bacon is heavenly.

  • Random Guy

    As a farmer I have never really bought food at the store without thinking about if I could make it cheaper at home. Some of this stuff takes a little time to prepare but if you make batches it can go in the freezer, canner, or dehydrator pretty easily. I’m thinking of egg noodles from fresh ground dhurra millet, and yard eggs with fresh garden veggies on the side.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      You make noodles with millet flour? Some of us can’t eat wheat here, so I’m always curious about alternatives!

  • Brandy

    I love this post! For years I have tried to find recipes to replace nasty “store bought food”. It quickly became an addiction for me and still is. We have given up a nearly all convenience foods for the make your own options. Most of my friends n family think we are off our rockers but this was what God led us to and I am taking full advantage of it. It slowly progressed to daily hygiene products. For the last five years, our grocery bills have significantly reduced because of this and I have more time at home and less time running to the store because of the awful forgotten last minute items. My pantry loves the home canned goods and we have a sense of satisfaction of always having a meal at hand. Keep pushing on and thank you for a wonderful post!