4 Quick, Money-Saving DIY Food Recipes

Raise your hand if you’ve ever cleaned out your fridge and had to throw out uneaten food. Before you toss money into the garbage again, try your hand at some of these DIY food recipes for items that often go wasted.

Dressings

Some salads call for specific dressings, but it doesn’t pay to keep 10 different dressings in the refrigerator. Chances are one or more bottles will go bad before you end up using them all.

For a basic vinaigrette, use a 3-to-1 tablespoon ratio of oil to vinegar, adding salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well and pour. You can make as little or as much as you need. For oils, try extra virgin olive, grapeseed, canola or sesame. Experiment with balsamic, red wine and apple cider vinegar varieties. Lemon or lime juice also work well to cut the oil. Throw in herbs and spices like oregano and parsley for an Italian flavor profile, tarragon for French Provencal or cilantro and cumin for a Mexican style dressing.

Crave something a little more involved? Top an endive, pear and walnut salad with this honey mustard dressing from BBC Food. Or try The Pioneer Woman‘s homemade ranch dressing, which calls for fresh chives and parsley. Serve over a Cobb salad or as a dipping sauce for a veggie platter. And this Asian dressing from Culinary Hill, incorporating freshly grated ginger and hoisin sauce, works great over a vegetable slaw or as a dipping sauce for potstickers. Vinaigrettes last up to two weeks refrigerated, while dairy-based dressings keep for one week.

Yogurt

Yogurt makes a healthy breakfast or snack. But this dairy treat can get a little pricey for everyday eats. Making your own yogurt might not be quick, but it is easy with this slow cooker recipe from Daring Gourmet. You’ll need a gallon of whole milk, 1 cup plain yogurt to act as a starter culture, a slow cooker, an instant-read thermometer and some cheesecloth. The recipe makes 8 cups of Greek yogurt. A bonus of making your own yogurt? Leftover whey to add protein to smoothies.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk gives pancakes, breads and sauces a nice mild tang, but unless you’re cooking for an army, most recipes don’t call for using the entire container, and it’s often difficult to use it up before it goes bad. But it’s easy to make a buttermilk substitute in just the needed amount. Combine 1 cup whole milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Allow the mixture to curdle for five minutes. For details, watch this how-to video from Ambitious Kitchen.

Hummus

This traditional Levantine puree often accompanies pita chips and warm flatbreads. It’s also a popular sandwich spread and can even be used to thicken broth-based soups.

Basic hummus is made with five ingredients: chickpeas, tahini (a sesame paste), extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Puree in a food processor and voila! Take it one step further by adding spices like paprika or ground cumin and vegetables like roasted red pepper or chopped black olives. You can also substitute other beans and legumes for the chickpeas, suggests Epicurious. According to Eat By Date, homemade hummus lasts from three to five days refrigerated, or six to eight months in the freezer.

This list is just a starting point for food items you can save on by going homemade. Even better, DIY food recipes allow you to eat cleaner, without the preservatives and artificial colors or flavors found in many premade food products. You can also limit added sugar and salt, which contributes to a healthier lifestyle.

For more DIY food recipes, including almond milk and English muffins, check out BuzzFeed’s list of 29 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could DIY.

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