Browse Category by Homemade Not Storebought

Why homemade? Because you know what’s in the recipe, there are generally no weird words included – and in many instances it’s much cheaper. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a bag of frozen popcorn chicken on hand. My goal is to balance a mostly homemade life with those days when you don’t have time to do anything but preheat the oven. I generally try to put a homemade meal on the table 80% of the time. Busy kids and a busy life mean the family dinner table is becoming extinct. I think it’s way to important to a healthy life – so we eat together every night. I’m flexible on time, but i’m not flexible on participation, if you’re home, you’re at the table.

Homemade Not Storebought, Light and Healthier, Recipes

Kale Chips Recipe – Amazing!


I made kale chips tonight – they are pretty trendy and sometimes not worth the effort.  I bought one bunch of kale for $1.20 at the market today and removed the stems when I got home – after washing and spinning in my salad spinner – i baked them up – in about 20 minutes I had a REALLY tasty snack.

If you’ve ever wondered, but haven’t made them yet – you need to get over it and try these.

Toss up the flavors by using garlic olive oil, garlic salt, chili powder, curry, cumin or whatever flavors you love!

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Kale Chips Recipe

Author Carrie Hill


  • 2 bunches kale
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Flake or sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Remove kale stems, wash well to remove dirt and spin in your lettuce spinner, or pat really dry with paper towels
  3. Lay dry kale out on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil and sea salt
  4. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes, stirring once 1/2 way through
  5. Enjoy!
Baking, Holidays, Homemade Not Storebought

Double Dark Chocolate Espresso Walnut Cookies

These suckers are seriously easy, and amazingly tasty.  They have been nicknamed “Cub Poops” in my house, because upon seeing them cooling on a rack, my 12yo promptly blurted out, “Hey those look like bear cub poops.”  Boys have poop on the brain 24-7 – gross.

I love these because they start with a box mix, but that’s where the “storebought” ends – adding a bit of espresso to the batter kicks up the chocolate flavor, and although I used walnuts in this version – a salty nut, like a salted almond, walnut or peanut would go REALLY well – might try that next time!

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Crafts & Projects, Homemade Not Storebought

Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser – 5 Minute DIY

foaming handwash dispenser DIY.jpgI love the foaming hand soap and refill.  I’m not sure why – but foam makes me feel cleaner, and I feel like we use a lot less SOAP this way.  What I don’t like are the ugly bottles.  If you use regular liquid soap, you can buy pretty containers that go with your bathroom decor, or fun ones that go in the kitchen.  NONE of these exist for the foam.  I’ve seen DIY dispensers on Pinterest for regular liquid hand soap, so I decided to try one for foaming hand soap using a mason jar.  Bonus?  You can put it in the dishwasher if it gets funky.

It was pretty dang easy.  You need the following:

  • A mason jar that you like, or have decorated to match your kitchen.  Small or wide mouth works fine
  • A hammer
  • A foaming handsoap top/nozzle from a container you no longer want to use
  • pliers
  • Screwdriver or chisel
  1. Look at the width your hole needs to be – measure the diameter of the nozzle and draw a cross or a circle that fits right.  My mason jar lid had a circle inside it, and it was PERFECTLY sized for this project.  Not all lids have that – My estimate – about 1/14″ diameter.
  2. With my chisel (you could use a screwdriver) and the hammer I put a cross in the top of a small mouth mason jar lid
  3. I then started peeling the metal back until I had a hole just large enough for the nozzle from the top of a store-bought foaming dispenser to fit through.  I checked it for size to be sure then pulled the nozzle back out.
  4. I then turned the lid over and pounded down all of the metal that was poking up to make it flat, and fairly safe.
  5. I trimmed the feeding tube at the bottom because it was a bit long, and screwed it on top of a pretty jelly jar.  Voila!  You could paint or decoupage your mason jar to make it match your decor as well.

Be careful  when you peel back the metal it becomes REALLY sharp!  Use pliers!

Homemade Not Storebought, Menu Planning, Recipes

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I’m not going to lie – I have a pretty tragic love/hate relationship with this recipe.  Tonight I finally made a version that was pretty good.  I love the creaminess of this one and the bread crumbs on top add a little bit of texture and tastiness that makes a big difference.

I use White American Deli cheese.  I have the deli slice it and i tear it up into pieces as I add it to the sauce.  If you can get a block and shred it, go for it.  White american melts nicer than yellow in my opinion – it doesn’t look so “neon” yellow either.

You can mix up the cheeses, but I found this combination to be the best for taste and melting.  I also did something weird with my white sauce, bear with me – it worked.

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Author Carrie Hill


  • 1/4 C Softened butter
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • 1/4 C. Flour
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/3 Lb Sliced White American Cheese
  • 2/3 C. Shredded White Kerry Gold Aged Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 32 Oz Elbow Macaroni - uncooked
  • 1/4 C. Regular or Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil for Drizzling


  1. Bring 6-7 Cups of water to a boil and salt liberally, add in the dried pasta and cook until al dente - you are going to bake this and the pasta will cook a little more.
  2. After the pasta is done, drain and set aside. In the same large pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the butter and add the 1 Tbsp of water. When the butter is completely melted whisk in the flour this will be a bit loose - let it bubble together for about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly whisk in the milk and the Garlic Powder and bring back up to a simmer. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon and allows you to draw a line across it without it filling in - it's ready for the cheese.
  4. Tear up the american cheese and add it to the sauce - trade in your whisk for a wooden spoon at this time. Then add in the shredded cheddar and stir frequently until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened.
  5. Taste for seasoning - salt is likely not needed with all of the cheese - but you might like some pepper or a bit more garlic powder.
  6. Add in the pasta and mix well. Transfer to a baking dish that was sprayed with nonstick spray.
  7. Top with bread crumbs - you can use regular or Panko, whichever you like
  8. Drizzle lightly with olive oil
  9. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.
Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes

Homemade Chicken Potsticker Recipe

I love asian food.  I love potstickers.  I hate buying frozen potstickers because they taste like freezer.  Ick.

I finally decided to get brave and try to make my own.  With the pre-made and pre-cut wonton wrappers, this was a really, an easy, if a bit fussy, task.  We’ve talked before – I’m not a fan of fussy cooking – but we have to weigh the cost vs. the benefit – and I wanted a potsticker – bad!

I adapted this from the Betty Crocker recipe – theirs was good but I didn’t have all of the ingredients and proportions they needed.  This makes about 40 potstickers, and they freeze well! It takes some practice to get the pleating right – but taste is 100% better than looks here – so just keep trying!

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Homemade Chicken Potstickers

Author Carrie Hill


  • 1 lb. Ground Chicken
  • 2/3 C. Shredded Napa Cabbage
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Ginger grated
  • 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tsp FINELY minced cilantro optional
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 package 10 oz Round or Square Wonton Skins
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth/Stock
  • 4 tsp Soy Sauce


  1. In a medium side bowl combine the chicken, cabbage, ginger, sesame oil, black pepper, cilantro (optional) and egg white and mix well. Hands work best for this
  2. Fill a small finger bowl with water and put 1/2 tsp. of the mix in the center of the wonton wrapper. Run a wet finger around 2 sides and fold the wrapper into a triangle over the mixture, wet sides to dry sides. Pinch together firmly and then pinch in 3-4 small pleats along each side.
  3. In a skillet with a lid, spray with cooking spray and lay 10-12 potstickers on their sides in the hot skillet.
  4. Saute each side until golden brown.
  5. When sides are golden, add in 1/2 C chicken broth and 1 tsp soy sauce. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the liquid evaporates and the dumplings dry out just a bit.
  6. These can be laid flat on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and cooled or frozen and packaged for reheating later. You can also eat them right away!
Budget Friendly, Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes

Fast Food at Home – Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches

Homemade Fast Food Sausage Biscuits with Egg

I always have Biscuits either baked or in the freezer ready to bake.  I cannot make biscuits – I buy the frozen ones that you bake up.  Every biscuit I have ever made is flat and boring – I gave up and let the experts make my biscuits now.

I also always have turkey breakfast sausage patties in the fridge.  When turkey sausage is on sale, I make my own, cook them up and freeze them.  When it’s not on sale, I buy frozen fully cooked patties and keep them on hand.

Eggs and cheese are staples in my house also – there’s always some form of both here.  We make a large variety of breakfast sandwiches and burritos with these items.  I usually cook something up quickly and wrap it in foil for the kids to eat on the way  to school.  We travel about 25 miles each way so they have time for breakfast in the car they inevitably don;t have at home.  This recipe is for my homemade sausage and egg biscuits – you can absolutely make them the way your family prefers. This is how we like them.

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Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches

Author Carrie Hill


  • Per Sandwich:
  • 1 Biscuit already baked and halved
  • 1 Sausage patty precooked & frozen
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 slice of your favorite cheese


  1. In a small ramekin, spray quickly with pan spray & break the eggs and scramble, or cook one egg whole, or just do 2 egg whites - your preference.
  2. Place the frozen sausage patty on a paper towel in the microwave, and also place the eggs in the ramekin in the microwave, cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. While eggs & scusage are cooking, In a small skillet over medium heat, place the halved biscuit, cut side down -you can butter a little bit first if you like
  4. When everything is done, assemble - place the slice of cheese on the biscuit, top with the sausage, then the egg, then the rest of the biscuit - and enjoy!