Whether it's a family barbecue or just dinner for one, there's always something that doesn't quite make it on the grocery list, particularly condiments. For example, a bottle of ketchup will last me months. However, when it comes time to buy a new bottle, it’s hardly worth its own trip to the store. That's why I often make my own homemade ketchup, especially when all I need is enough to put on one hot dog.
Making your own condiments is cheaper than an extra trip to the grocery store and definitely less wasteful. After all, why go out and buy a whole bottle of something when you only need a few tablespoons? Here are a couple of recipes I rely on when I'm in a pinch.
[caption id="attachment_73346" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Philia Kelnhofer, The SweetPhi Blog[/caption]
Total: 88 cents
This easy ketchup recipe by Sweet Phi is a lifesaver. Like most people, I probably use ketchup more than any other condiment, but I'm not a huge fan of the extra sugar in the store-bought variety. With this 16-serving recipe, not only do I know there are actual tomatoes in my ketchup, but I also know it’s tasty, healthy and only costs 88 cents.
[caption id="attachment_73349" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Photo courtesy of KevinsCooking.com[/caption]
As you can probably tell from these ingredients, this whole-grain mustard recipe from Kevin is Cooking isn't your standard yellow mustard. This 72-serving recipe is perfect for a fancier dinner party or a regular cookout. At $2.11 this mustard recipe is hard to beat, especially when a jar of store-bought whole-grain mustard can cost $3 or more.
[caption id="attachment_73352" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Photo courtesy of cookthestory.com[/caption]
This simple barbecue sauce recipe from Cook the Story is just the thing to bring a little homemade flare to a backyard barbecue. For only $1.39 a batch, which yields about 14 servings, this three-ingredient recipe is sure to come in handy. And you can use your own homemade mustard and ketchup!
[caption id="attachment_73354" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Total: 27 cents
Anytime fish is on the menu, this is my go-to tartar sauce recipe. It’s very rare that I have store-bought tartar sauce in my cupboard, so I just take mayonnaise, mustard (stone ground is my favorite) and relish, and mix them all together in a bowl. At 27 cents for five servings, it’s hard to beat. And if you don’t have any mayonnaise on hand, we’ve got a recipe for that too!
[caption id="attachment_73356" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Photo courtesy of growingupgabel.com[/caption]
Buffalo sauce is something I rarely eat, unless it’s with chicken wings. That said, this buffalo sauce recipe from Growing Up Gabel is great for a spontaneous wing night. As with all of these recipes, this three-serving Buffalo sauce recipe is really easy to tweak. If you tend to like more garlic, throw in an extra teaspoon. If you like some kick to your Buffalo sauce, splash in a little extra hot sauce. That way, you’re getting exactly what you want for only $1.30.
[caption id="attachment_73357" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
You’ll see variants of this mayo recipe everywhere, but I like to keep it simple. Just throw a raw egg, apple cider and vegetable oil in a high-speed blender (I use an immersion blender). If you want some extra flavor, play around with the recipe by adding extra spices, lemon juice or dijon mustard. Not only can you save some fridge space by not buying that giant jar of mayonnaise, but use this 14-serving recipe and get exactly the flavor and consistency you want for just $1.56.
[caption id="attachment_73358" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
As fans of the standard oil-and-vinegar salad dressing, this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe has become a tradition in my family. It’s quick, easy, no mess and only costs about $2.59 for 26 servings. The base is one part balsamic vinegar and two parts olive oil. From there, feel free to leave out what you don’t want and add in what you do! Throw everything in a mason jar, shake it up and voila.
[caption id="attachment_73359" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
This is another great mason jar recipe my family often uses. It’s great for pizza, pasta, bread — you name it. If you’re feeling creative, this is another recipe you can dress up or down. If you’re looking for something quick, stick to the basic marinara sauce recipe, which only costs $1.12 for a little less than three servings.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then play around with spices and fresh herbs or add some novelty ingredients, such as sundried tomatoes or pine nuts. A tip for all of you who dine solo: If you don’t use the whole can of tomato paste, pour the rest in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer for next time.
[caption id="attachment_73360" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Although not strictly a condiment, this hummus is great on sandwiches, crackers, chips, etc. At $1.86 this recipe feeds six, making it low cost and easy — and I think it’s just a little bit tastier than the store-bought brands. I like to put all the ingredients in a blender for about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the consistency I want. Throw some extra spices on top, and you don’t even miss the tahini!
[caption id="attachment_73361" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Photo courtesy of facfamilyrecipes.com[/caption]
I love tzatziki sauce, but it’s not something I come across at the store very often. At $1.90 for 12 servings, this recipe from Favorite Family Recipes is a great addition, whether it’s on a meat dish or with a side of pita. I like to make this recipe my own by adding a little extra lemon and dill to give it that zing.
Condiments are an easy thing to spend money on because they’re pretty cheap already. But I think we all know that a couple dollars here and there adds up. So, next time you're in a pinch, try using what you have in your own kitchen — you may discover your new favorite recipe!
Grace Cooper is a freelance writer and college student from Washington, D.C. She loves researching new recipes and firmly believes barbecue sauce tastes good on anything.
It’s no secret that people spend tons of money on their daily Starbucks fix. Even if you frequent Starbucks only during the workweek for your $3 drink, you could be spending $780 a year on coffee. And it’s likely that those prices will only go up with time.
So if you’re looking for more natural, healthy and — most importantly — cheaper option, here are 15 copycat recipes every Starbucks drinker should know.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Cost per Serving: $3.87
Starbucks price: $3.85 to $5.85
This pink drink recipe by Beauty and the Beets is a classic. It’s definitely a splurge — at $3.87 it’s only a couple dollars cheaper than a large cup from Starbucks — but it’s always fresh. The recipe works with either fresh or freeze-dried strawberries -- the latter will give you a frothier consistency. This recipe is a delicious way to get a little creative with your coffee habits, while adding a little more fruit to your diet as well.
[caption id="attachment_73274" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Cost per serving: 19 cents
Starbucks price: $2.95 to $4.45
I’m a huge fan of the Starbucks Cool Lime Refresher, but I’m not a huge fan of the price. This recipe by Darling Tomboy is a lifesaver for anyone with a craving who doesn’t want to shell out the bucks, and it makes enough to share. It’s best to use fresh mint, but if you’re in a rush, like I always am, dried mint will do just fine. And don’t be afraid to use your preferred sweetener, like stevia or honey, instead of sugar.
Cost per serving: 32 cents
Starbucks price: $3.75 - $4.75
Baking Mischief's caramel macchiato is a great homemade twist on the popular Starbucks drink. With seven ingredients, it’s a little more involved than other recipes, but the good news is that you likely have all these components in your kitchen already!
[caption id="attachment_73275" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Cost per serving: 65 cents
Starbucks price: $2.75 to $4.25
I love this green-tea lemonade by A Cute Lifestyle because it’s exactly what the drink says it is: lemonade and green tea. It’s simple, chemical-free, and you can sweeten it to your taste. You can also feel free to add in your own fruit flavoring, like mango or peach.
[caption id="attachment_73276" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Cost per serving: 61 cents
Starbucks price: $4.25 to $5.25
This recipe by The Jenny Evolution is a great excuse to drink pumpkin spice lattes all year round, but without the outrageous prices. And if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, don’t worry: Just substitute a mix of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. If you’re a spice hoarder like me, you probably already have all of those ingredients in your pantry.
[caption id="attachment_73277" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Image courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Total: 80 cents
Cost per serving: 80 cents
Starbucks price: $4.25 to $5.25
Life is Poppin's double chocolate chip frappuccino is a great solution to every Starbucks lover’s chocolate craving. This frappuccino is basically a milkshake minus the ice cream, and at just 80 cents a drink, it’s hard to beat!
Cost per serving: $1.26
Starbucks price: $3.65 to $4.65
This cinnamon dolce latte by Diethood has all the flavor of the original Starbucks drink without the added price. Although there are a lot of ingredients, they all likely living in your kitchen already, making it an easy fix for an early morning and a great money saver.
[caption id="attachment_73282" align="aligncenter" width="628"] Photo courtesy of Bright Eyed Baker[/caption]
Cost per serving: $2.88
Starbucks price: $3.75 to- $4.75
The peppermint white chocolate mocha is another seasonal drink that could use a homemade makeover. This recipe by Bright-Eyed Baker is a great way to save money and drink decadent peppermint all year long.
[caption id="attachment_73285" align="aligncenter" width="604"] Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper[/caption]
Cost per serving: 29 cents
Starbucks price: $2.45 to $3.95
This black tea lemonade recipe by Heidi’s Home Cooking makes six to eight servings, which makes it perfect for parties or just for staying Starbucks-free all week long. To avoid a trip to the grocery store, I used lemonade concentrate instead of lemon juice, which not only reduced the sugar but also saved me a little money along the way.
Total: 37 cents
Cost per serving: 37 cents
Starbucks price: $3.75 to $4.75
This iced white chocolate mocha by The Grant Life is the easiest and cheapest recipe I came across. It’s also probably one of the best. It uses just four ingredients and costs only a fraction of the Starbucks price. You can treat yourself by adding extra toppings or skip the whipped cream and save the extra calories.
Making your own coffee-shop drinks saves money, time -- no more standing in line! -- and gives you the ability to customize your drink exactly how you want it — plus, there's nobody there to spell your name wrong.
Grace Cooper is a freelance writer and college student from Washington, D.C. Her favorite Starbucks drink is the Green Tea Lemonade, especially when it only costs $1.29
No matter what time of year it is, I’m always baking something. Whether it’s birthday cake for a party or chocolate chip cookies for a girls’ night in, I’m constantly looking for new recipes, especially cheap and easy ones.
Besides foregoing the endless ingredient list, a lot of my friends and family are gluten-free, lactose intolerant, paleo -- you name it. By baking with a simpler recipe, I’m not only reducing my grocery list and minimizing my time in the kitchen, but I’m also making it easier to bake for those with allergies or restrictive diets.
Here are my 10 favorite quick dessert recipes with three ingredients or less and how much they cost. I collected prices from Walmart, Target and my local grocery stores, so you may notice some pricing variations when you shop in your local stores.
I dug up these 10 quick and easy dessert recipes that require just three ingredients or fewer.
This recipe from North Carolina Charm only requires two ingredients, and it’s unbelievably easy. The only difficulty I’ve had is finding spice cake mix at my local grocery store year-round.
If you can’t get your hands on the real deal, here’s a recipe to turn a yellow cake mix into a spice cake mix. You can also be creative with this recipe by mixing in other ingredients, like chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit.
If you keep the loaf plain, your total will be $3.55, and you’ll only spend a few minutes in the kitchen.
[caption id="attachment_62230" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Grace Cooper[/caption]
Platter Talk's peanut butter cookies are absolutely delicious and so easy to make. They’re also protein-packed and gluten-free! One batch will come out to $1.59, and your guests will likely think you spent a lot more time in the kitchen than you actually did.
[caption id="attachment_62238" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] CarlaMc/Getty Images[/caption]
This chocolate mousse by Circle B Kitchen is another great recipe whether you’re having a huge gathering or a party of one. One batch is only one serving, so you may need to double or triple the recipe if you plan to share guests.
The beauty of this two-minute recipe is that you can throw all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up without dirtying another spoon or container. For a deeper flavor, add a pinch of sea salt. Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top or eat it plain at $1.05 a serving.
These cake mix cookies from Somewhat Simple may be one of my favorite recipes of all time. You can use any type of cake mix and add-ins you want, whether it’s yellow cake with sprinkles or chocolate cake with chocolate chips. They’re always delicious. The best part is a batch of about 24 cookies only costs $1.26.
[caption id="attachment_62233" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Grace Cooper[/caption]
Gimme Some Oven's flourless chocolate cake is another great recipe for anyone who’s gluten-free or just loves chocolate (i.e., everyone). This $11.12 fudgy chocolate cake is delicious and great for decorating with a chocolate glaze or fresh berries. And the best part of this simple recipe? You can tell your guests you made it from scratch.
[caption id="attachment_62234" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Grace Cooper[/caption]
These coconut macaroons by Just a Taste are simple and so delicious. They look cute with a fun chocolate drizzle on top or plain next to a cup of tea. While it may be one of the more expensive recipes — About 40 macaroons cost $5.15 — this is definitely a dessert that will impress.
[caption id="attachment_62235" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Grace Cooper[/caption]
Skinny Taste’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are a classic. Did you know those overripe bananas on your shelf are actually a great substitute for eggs? This recipe is also perfect for anyone who’s lactose intolerant or on a low-carb diet. And if you’re looking to cut down on your caloric intake, just use a handful of raisins in place of the chocolate chips. At $1.98, you can’t beat a batch of these cookies.
[caption id="attachment_62237" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Grace Cooper[/caption]
These shortbread cookie recipe from Laughing Spatula is another classic you won’t want to miss. Although it may be a little more time-consuming than other items on our list, it’s a great activity for kids, especially if you invest in some fun cookie cutters or other cookie decorations. A batch of these cookies is about $3.32 and well worth the time.
This gingerbread brownie recipe by Oh Bite It is a little more seasonal than the rest, which means you may have trouble finding gingerbread cake mix at your local stores until wintertime, but it’s definitely a recipe worth saving for the holidays. At $3.98, this fun twist on traditional gingerbread shows a little bit of creativity in the kitchen without straining your budget.
[caption id="attachment_62236" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Grace Cooper[/caption]
This simple fruit tart recipe from The Comfort of Cooking is a great summer treat. My strawberry tart was $5.66, but you can also change the recipe to include stone fruit, other berries or whatever’s left in your kitchen.
Let’s face it, baking can be expensive, time-consuming and messy. It’s easy to end up putting in a lot of effort, spending a lot of money and destroying your kitchen for a baked good you may not even like in the end. That’s why I’m a huge fan of anything that uses three ingredients or less. I know it sounds impossible but, trust me, those cheap and easy dessert recipes are out there!
Grace Cooper is a freelance writer and college student from Washington D.C. She’s written for several publications, including Verily, Pittsburgh Magazine, and Aleteia For Her.