Apples are freshest this time of year, and can be held through the winter. Wrap them individually in newsprint, place in a box with no lid, and store in an unheated basement or pantry or garage. They should last all winter.
Same with root vegetables. They should be cheaper now: store where they get a lot of air. One way is to put them in old panty hose and hang from the ceiling in your unheated cold storage area. Looks odd, but effective.
During the holidays, the stores sell ham, turkey and beef cheaper as loss-leaders to get you into the store. Buy a couple of extras and store in your freezer for later. You can also cook some of these and freeze the sliced meat in small packages instead of buying sandwich meat from the deli.
If you get bad storms in your area, buy some packages of soy and/or almond milk to keep in the pantry so you don't have to run to the store when a storm is coming. Who knows, you might like the flavor, and they are healthier for us than regular milk.
Baking mix like Bisquick is handy to have on hand because it's a short-cut to comfort foods like dumplings, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and breads. You can buy it, or make your own in a large batch. When you look at the recipe, there's nothing to it, and your homemade won't have chemicals to make it more shelf-stable.
Very Simple Homemade Baking Mix
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse for 15 seconds. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture is similar in texture to cornmeal. If you do not have a food processor shift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is similar in texture to cornmeal.
Use in recipes that call for Bisquick or all-purpose baking mix.
Recipe from the Food Network.
Here is a fancier mix that is what I use for biscuits - it has cream of tartar in it, and it makes for a fluffier product.
Rise High Biscuit Mix
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup instant non-fat milk powder or dry buttermilk powder
1 cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl using a wire whisk. Use a pastry blender or Kitchenaid mixer to blend in the shortening until evenly distributed. Makes 7 cups. Store in a container with a tight lid, and use within 10 to 12 weeks.
Biscuits from the Mix
To make 6 large biscuits.
1 1/2 cups mix
1/3 cup milk or water
Stir lightly with a fork to blend, don't over mix. Gloppier dough will make for fluffier biscuits, and you can drop the dough into a lightly-greased pan and bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
For cut out biscuits, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I use floured waxed paper). Fold it over 6 times (no more or it might get tough). Cut out and bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Pancakes from the Mix
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk or water
1 1/4 cups mix
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Combine the egg and liquid, combine the mix and the sugar. Stir in the liquid all at once with a wire whisk, don't over-mix. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes. Makes about 6 4-inch pancakes.
Here is another handy mix. Some people collect empty jars such as those from spaghetti sauce during the year and bottle up mixes like this to give as Christmas presents.
Hot Cocoa Mix
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup non-dairy cream powder (can used the flavored ones)
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups instant non-fat milk powder
(1 cup miniature marshmallows)
In a sifter, combine the sugar, cocoa, cream powder, and salt. Sift into a large bowl. Stir in the milk powder and marshmallows if desired. Pour into a 4-cup container with a tight-fitting lid and seal. Label with date and contents, store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months.
Stir 3 - 4 tablespoons in to one cup hot water to make one serving.