How to Make 6 Pantry Staples at Home Slideshow

Greek Style Yogurt

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If you can boil water, you can make yogurt. If you can't, skip down to crme frache. Otherwise, what you will need for this is a big pot, an instant-read thermometer, a colander, some cheesecloth (available at most grocery stores look near the disposable roasting pans), and a clean dishtowel. It needs to sit in the oven overnight, and then drain until it gets as thick as you like it. Be sure to use a good quality commercial yogurt as a starter look for one with live cultures. 

Click here to see the recipe. 

Granola

I started making granola after I became allergic to nuts. I love it on my yogurt, but nut-free varieties are almost impossible to find (and then they taste like cardboard). The great thing about making your own is that you can only use the stuff you like. For example, I use maple syrup in place of the honey that the original recipe called for. Feel free to switch it up according to your tastes. Have some parchment paper and a cookie sheet or hotel pan on hand for this. 

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Bacon

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Caution, once you start making bacon, you'll never want to go back to the supermarket variety! And here’s what surprised me — you don’t need a smoker to make good bacon. For your first batch, all you need is a big Ziploc bag, a roasting pan with rack, and a sharp knife (to taste it). You need to let it cure, which is a week to 10-day process, so plan ahead. 

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Crème Fraîche

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The French answer to all things cream-like. Think of it as sour cream's fancy cousin; it's great on fresh berries or tossed into a sauce to thicken and enrich it. This requires no cooking skills at all and the only gear you need to make it are a jar, a measuring cup, and a spoon. In a taste test my friends and I chose all the homemade crèmes over a usually very good commercial brand. 

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No-Fail Mayonnaise

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My father taught my brother and me how to make mayo years ago and now even my husband regularly makes it. It can be a little tricky; take it slow when you add the oil and it should be fine. The one thing you don't want to substitute here is the mustard. Use Dijon only — trust me, hot dog mustard doesn't cut it. You will need a food processor, blender, or a very strong wrist. 

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Potato Chips

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This is the newest weapon in my DIY arsenal. Microwave some sliced potatoes and voilà, you've got great snack food in almost the same amount of time as it takes to make microwaved popcorn. A mandoline or great knife skills come in handy here. Use flavored salts, hot sauce, or vinegar to custom flavor your chips. Added bonus? Like warm cookies, warm chips are just so much better!

Click here to see the recipe.