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Cooking From Scratch 101


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Feb 16, 2024
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Cooking From Scratch 101

Cooking from scratch can sometimes be overwhelming for those learning to cook. There’s more to cooking from scratch than grilling a hamburger on the grill. It can be using a recipe, following what your mom or dad taught you, or just cooking the way that comes naturally based on your diet and what’s in your pantry. I remember watching my mom cook some of her recipes without a cookbook. It’s because she made that certain recipe just about every week or two.

When I was growing up, my family didn’t eat gourmet meals, but we learned to cook from scratch using basic items from the well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Oh my goodness, I’m so glad my mom taught me to cook from scratch when I was just a kid! I know I have saved thousands of dollars over my life just because I know how to prepare real food for meals from the items I store in my home. I wanted to update this blog post so I can share my ideas with many of my new readers who want to learn about from-scratch cooking.

In case you missed this post, 10 Rules for Organizing Your Pantry

Cooking From Scratch 101

Cooking From Scratch Storage Items:​

These are a few of the things I must have in my home at all times. Please keep in mind that when something I use all the time goes on sale, I stock my freezer, fridge, and pantry.

Also, today’s post is not about any particular diet, like The Keto Diet, Atkins, Vegan, The China Study, or whatever approach to eating that seems to have become so popular. Today is about saving money and knowing what you are cooking from scratch is good for you. In other words, good wholesome food is what I strive for when scratch cooking. Many of the items listed below I would consider staples since we should all have them on hand for our homemade meals. Another good thing about cooking from scratch is that you can use substitutes in a recipe based on what’s in the fridge or pantry that needs to be used.

The Freezer:​

  1. Butter: in quarters, I only buy salted butter, that’s how I roll.
  2. Bacon: thick, center-cut bacon.
  3. Frozen peas, chopped onions, and bell peppers: I never throw out wasted veggies from the fridge anymore because I monitor what is in my veggie drawer, other uses for it while in decent shape, make use of leftovers, or freeze it before it goes bad.
  4. Meat: I buy discounted meat in the meat section every six months. I stock up BIG time. Monday morning the grocery stores like to put out fresh meat and unload the meat that didn’t sell over the weekend. If you time it just right, the butcher brings out rack after rack. If the price is right, grab a basket and start throwing them in. I also like the rotisserie chicken from Costco, either the whole chicken or cut-up.
  5. Flour tortillas: I buy them from Costco and divide them into six in each bag (gallon bags). They freeze well for future meals. Be sure to take them out in time to thaw for use at the planned mealtime.
  6. Corn tortillas: also freeze well, just divide them into bags with the number of tortillas you’ll use for a casserole or just for tacos. I freeze 12 in each quart-size bag.
  7. Broccoli: I make chicken and broccoli a couple of times a month, so I like to keep a few large bags of broccoli in the freezer for casseroles or to eat in a salad. Again, take out in time for meal prep.
  8. SAF Yeast, Dough Enhancer, and Wheat Gluten: I purchase enough for a couple of years and store it in the freezer. I need these to make my bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and French Bread several times a month. They come in fairly small packages, so the storage space isn’t an issue.

Stocking The Pantry:​

  1. White bread flour or all-purpose white flour
  2. White sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar
  3. Honey
  4. Lemon juice
  5. Salt
  6. Oil: vegetable oil, olive oil, and coconut oil
  7. Baking Soda
  8. Baking Powder
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip
  11. Mustard, Barbecue sauce, and Ketchup
  12. Beans
  13. Unsweetened cocoa
  14. Popcorn
  15. Vanilla
  16. Spices and herbs like chili pepper, Cayenne pepper, sage, sweet basil, etc. We all have our favorites, right? In case you missed this post, 33 Essential Spices I Recommend Stocking Up On
  17. Canned chicken
  18. Canned tuna
  19. Maple Syrup
  20. Peanut butter
  21. Jam
  22. Salsa
  23. Spaghetti sauce
  24. Tomato sauce
  25. Tomato paste
  26. Diced tomatoes
  27. Chicken and beef bouillon (Better Than Bouillon brand)
  28. Cream of chicken soup
  29. Cream of tomato soup
  30. Chicken noodle soup (just enough for emergencies)
  31. White rice
  32. Pasta
  33. Gelatin
  34. Canned fruits
  35. Canned vegetables
  36. Corn syrup and Sweetened Condensed Milk (to make caramel corn)
  37. Vinegar: white, apple cider, and Balsamic
  38. Potatoes
  39. Broth

The Refrigerator – Dairy and Other Items:​

  1. Eggs
  2. Milk
  3. Butter
  4. Cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese
  5. Cheese: blocks of cheddar, shredded cheddar, and shredded Mozzarella
  6. Fresh fruits and vegetables, when in season
  7. Celery Stalks

Kitchen Tools We All Should Have:​

  1. Bosch Bread Mixer, Kitchen Aid 6-Quart Mixer, or Zojirushi Bread Maker
  2. Whisks
  3. Spatulas
  4. Griddles, waffle maker
  5. Pressure cooker – Instant Pot
  6. Soup Pot
  7. Frying Pans
  8. Dutch Ovens
  9. Cookie Sheets
  10. Muffin Tins
  11. Food Processor
  12. Slow Cooker – Crock Pot
  13. Can Openers – more than one, just in case

I’m looking for new recipes all the time where meals can be prepared from scratch. Consider making this white sauce, you’ll love it.

Cooking From Scratch Recipes​

white sauce


White Sauce by Food Storage Moms​

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes minutes
Total Time 27 minutes minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 gallon of milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sugar optional


  • Melt the butter, add the flour and quickly start whisking it. This makes a roux. Once it’s smooth and thoroughly mixed, add the milk and keep on whisking, until smooth. This is good for making mac and cheese, Cream Chipped Beef and even gravy.

Some Meals You Should Try With My White Sauce:​

  1. Mac and cheese: you just add about two cups of grated cheese, and stir until it’s melted and creamy. Add some cooked and drained macaroni, and stir until smooth.
  2. Creamed Tuna on toast or biscuits: just add a can of tuna (drained) to the white sauce. Serve with peas.
  3. Chicken a la King: add some leftover chopped chicken (2 cups) to the white sauce, 4 ounces of chopped pimentos, and some mushrooms. Serve over cooked rice.
  4. Creamed Chipped Beef on toast or biscuits: add two 4.5-ounce jars of dried beef, rinsed, and chopped to the white sauce. Add a little sugar (optional), salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Mushroom soup: add some sliced mushrooms to the white sauce and thin it with milk, if it’s too thick. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cream of potato soup: add cubed cooked potatoes to make creamy potato soup. Thin the soup with a little milk, if it’s too thick.
  7. Sausage gravy: fry and crumble a small package of sausage and drain it, then add it to the white sauce. Serve over hot biscuits.

Yes, we can make great meals at home with these delicious recipes. When cooking from scratch, you can batch cook based on the number of people being served. Menus can be adjusted pretty easily and I shop each week based on my menu planning. There is something special about making our own meals and not just serving packaged foods from the store. If you like shrimp, give this shrimp cocktail sauce a try the next time you entertain.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce​

Cooking From Scratch


Shrimp Cocktail Sauce by Food Storage Moms​

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes minutes
Cook Time 1 minute minute
Total Time 11 minutes minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 1-1/2-2 cups Ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard


  • Combine the ingredients and mix until creamy. Refrigerate after mixing. Serve with shrimp and celery sticks.

Tartar Sauce​

Cooking From Scratch


Tartar Sauce by Food Storage Moms​

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes minutes
Cook Time 1 minute minute
Total Time 11 minutes minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce


  • Combine the ingredients together and mix until smooth. Serve with fish sticks or grilled fish of your choice.

Caramel Sauce​



Caramel Sauce by Food Storage Moms​

Prep Time 10 minutes minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes minutes
Total Time 12 minutes minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer about 2 minutes. Pour over cakes, banana bread, and puddings.

How To Make Gravy​



Linda’s Homemade Gravy​

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes minutes
Total Time 45 minutes minutes
Servings 10 people
Author Linda Loosli


  • 1 cup Turkey, Chicken, or Beef Drippings
  • 1-2 cups of Flour
  • 1 quart Water or Milk (I use water more than milk)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sugar


  • I use the pan that the turkey, chicken, or beef was baked in with the "drippings" and bring the liquid to a boil. If you have very little juice or drippings, add some water. Now, I can't give you exact measurements because this depends on the size of a turkey, chicken, or roast you purchased and how many drippings are available. Over time, with experience, you'll learn.
  • I take about 1-2 cups of flour put it in a quart jar with cold water and shake it like crazy.
  • I slowly add this mixture to the hot boiling turkey, chicken, or beef drippings. Use a whisk and stir constantly.
  • I have a quart pitcher with cold water to add to this pan as the gravy thickens. I add water until it's the consistency I prefer. Not too runny, but not too thick.
  • I add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Yep, it's the sugar that brings out the best flavor. Of course, it's optional.
  • If you have some lumps, no worries, bring out the hand mixer. The flavor is fabulous and so easy to make.

Final Word​

I hope my post today helps someone learn the joy of cooking from scratch. Real effort has been made to write down everything that I could visualize in my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator. I probably forgot an item or two, but I will add them as I remember.

Let’s teach the world to eat at home again. Teaching people to cook, set the table, learn manners at the table, and clean up as a family can’t be done through a fast food drive-thru. Part of the fun, and challenge, is to make a menu plan and use a list when you grocery shop. It saves you money and prompts you to look ahead at the week’s meals and how best to prepare them. Please let me know the items you use that I may have missed and I’ll add them to today’s list.

It’s about teaching the next generation the skills we learned as a child. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. No one can take care of your family as well as you can. May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: AdobeStock_199304079by Magdal3na, Biscuits and Gravy AdobeStock_287776384 by Stephanie Frey

The post Cooking From Scratch 101 appeared first on Food Storage Moms.
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