Sometimes ingredients from scratch are just that much better than store-bought. Here are 5 ingredients it’s worth it to make yourself.
1. Garlic Infused Oil
Garlic infused oil is available at most grocery stores and specialty food outlets. It’s delicious drizzled over bread alone or added to soups, salads and pastas. You can use it anywhere you would traditionally use a savory oil. This ingredient is actually very inexpensive and easy to make fresh at home. Simply chop several cloves of fresh garlic and simmer them in oil on low heat until golden brown. Strain the garlic pieces from the oil and cool. Store the oil in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Using fresh garlic really adds an extra punch that makes it better than store-bought infused oil.
2. Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is another ingredient readily available at the supermarket but is usually easier and cheaper to make yourself. To make simple syrup, you only need to have water and sugar. Heat the amount of water you want in a pan to simmering or boiling. Then, dissolve the same amount of sugar in the water. Allow the mixture to cool. Store in a bottle in your refrigerator.
3. Chicken Stock
Chicken stock sounds hard to make but it’s really not once you get the hang of it. You don’t need to chop any vegetables or cut any chicken to make delicious chicken stock at home. Fill a large pot with water and salt. Then, place bone-in chicken, carrots, celery, and onions to the pot. You can also add leeks, bay leaves, and fresh parsley. Feel free to throw these all in the pot whole, including the stems. Boil until the chicken falls off the bone and the vegetables are soft. Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the broth from the ingredients. Store the strained broth in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to seven days.
4. Pasta Sauce
Forget buying a jar of pasta sauce when making your own is almost just as easy. Making your own pasta sauce is definitely the healthier option. Add tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of sugar to taste. Simmer and adjust your seasonings as needed after the flavors have started to meld with the heat. Then all you need to do is serve it!
5. Cocktail Sauce
You can also make cocktail sauce at home with just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. Simply mix together a few tablespoons of ketchup with your desired amount of lemon juice and horseradish. Serve with fresh chilled shrimp or your choice of seafood. The great thing about this simple recipe is that you can easily adjust the amount of horseradish you use. Some people like a lot of horseradish while others prefer a more tomato-based flavor. You can also make the sauce more or less acidic and tart depending on how much lemon juice you use.