Make Your Own – Convenience Foods



I admit I actually like the taste of many convenience foods and there are days it’s just so much easier to grab a box than make something from scratch. But I still prefer homemade to store bought so I thought it would be great to have the best of both worlds. Why not give it a whirl and make your own convenience foods?

I know some people who would rather be tortured than admit they like Rice-a-Roni. I’m not one of them. I love the stuff and my husband finds it easy to eat so I love making the homemade version.


Did you know Rice-A-Roni doesn’t actually have rice? Every variety is made with vermicelli and orzo. Vermicelli is a traditional type of pasta similar to spaghetti. In Italy vermicelli is slightly thicker than spaghetti but in the United States it is instead slightly thinner. Orzo is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. So Rice-A-Roni is really more Pasta-A-Roni. To make your own, just follow this easy recipe.

Base Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup uncooked vermicelli, broken into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 2 cups Chicken or Beef or Vegetable Broth


  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan
  2. Add the vermicelli, orzo, and cook, stirring frequently until pasta is golden brown
  3. Add the broth of your choice
  4. Use your Add Ins to make specific flavors
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover
  7. Cook 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed

To make Spanish Rice:

Add: 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 tsp chili powder or to taste

1/2 tsp salt

Dash cumin, to taste

To make Beefy Rice:

For this you’ll need to use the beef broth and add:

1 tablespoon dry onion
1 tablespoon dry parsley
1 tablespoon soy sauce

To make Chicken Rice:

Use the chicken broth and add:

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried parsley


While the homemade version of the popular baking mix doesn’t last as long and has to be refrigerated I like not having to keep an eye on how much is left in a box. I can just whip up the homemade version when I need it. This recipe yields about 7 cups.

Homemade Baking Mix (Bisquick)


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening


  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt three times into a large bowl.
  2. Cut in shortening with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is in fine crumbs.
  3. Store the baking mix in the refrigerator.

This baking mix will last about 3 months in the refrigerator and can be used for any recipe you use the commercially produced baking mix.


I use onion soup mix fairly often. There are some dinner recipes that I use it in and I also make quick French onion chip dip when my husband has a hankering for chips and dip while we’re watching TV. This recipe makes a little over 1/3 cup.

Homemade Onion Soup Mix


  • 1/4 cup dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Store in an airtight container (I use my jar sealer and half-pint canning jars).

Shake the container before using to re-mix the ingredients. To make the chip dip I use about 1 1/2 tablespoons per 1/3 cup of sour cream.


It happened all the time. I would decide to make tacos and, just as I needed it, I would realize I forgot to get the seasoning mix. Now I can make homemade taco seasoning mix and never worry about that last second run to the store.

Homemade Taco Seasoning


  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)


  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Store in an airtight container.

Before using give the container a good shake to re-mix the ingredients.


The same thing happened too often when I made fajitas.

Homemade Fajita Seasoning


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Store in an airtight container.

Shake the container before using. To use, I mix the seasoning with:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Do you have homemade convenience food recipes? I’d love to hear from you!





Author: Elizabeth

I'm a wife, mom, and grandma (known as Bam) who loves cooking, baking, gardening, and all things that go into making a cozy coop for my brood. I have a disability so you may pick up tips on how to do things when some things just don't work right!

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