These days nothing is cheap, even if you make it at home, vs buying in the store, but we have to save everywhere we can! There is a constant tug of war going on to keep families fed and stretch the home budgets to meet the needs of growing families.
So in the long run it is still cheaper to cook at home, there is a large segment of the population that over the last several decades, that either were never taught how to cook at home, or have just been too busy, it was much easier to stop by the store and pick up the ready made meals. However with increasing food prices it is ever so important to go back to making meals and cooking for our families.
There are many simple things that I grew up with, that can be made for quick meals or snacks. Pimento Cheese is one such meal, either for the school lunch box, or the quick snack filled in a celery stick or just the simple sandwich, and on crackers, it can stretch much further than what you get in the store.
I was hungry for Pimento Cheese and started looking in the stores and was shocked at the price per pound of this simple thing to make at home. Prices ranged anywhere from $4.99 to 8.99 per pound. When I looked at the ingredients, I found that very few had 100% cheese.
While it is true growing up that not all the Pimento Cheese,, my mother made was 100% cheese, in order to make it go further the base was made with Velveeta and the extra sharp and sharp cheeses were grated and mixed into the Velveeta base. Mom made two versions the regular version, and a cooked version which I will make and post the recipe later.
Also of note, is that we use roasted red peppers in ours, something we started doing probably about 10 years or more ago when roasted red peppers first seemed to come on the market. Pimentos are a type of red pepper that we grew in the garden and the flavor is different, but not that much for the price you pay for a little jar in the store, you can easily find roasted red peppers in most every store and I have found some very nice ones in the Dollar Tree, believe it or not for $1.00 per jar. While the cost of pimentos in the store for the same amount would be dollars more.
I will also say here about roasted red peppers, if you are used to dull and boring sandwiches, you can easily perk them up with a nice slab of roasted red pepper on them,, or cut up and put in salads, they also work great in macaroni and potato salad, as well as macaroni and cheese for a bright splash of color!
I found that making my own pimento cheese at home the price came to 3.55 per pound, you might say that is not much savings but in the end for as simple as it is to make, this adds up over the course of a month.
1/2 lb Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheese
1/2 lb Sharp Cheese
1 Cup Helman’s Real Mayonnaise (add 1/2 Cup and see how you like it, and go from there)
Sugar to taste if desired (I put about 2 tablespoons)
1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers (to taste )
Have Velveeta Cheese at room temperature.
If using blocks of solid sharp cheeses, have them cold from the refrigerator, as they are easier to grate.
The easiest way to make this cheese is a hands on job, roll up your sleeves and get into it squeezing the Velveeta (if you have hostilities towards someone take them out on the the cheese)
Add the grated cheese, peppers and mayonnaise
Mix well squeezing, stirring and folding all together with your hand.
Notes- You can also cut the cost further by using other brands of Mayonnaise, you can use other brands of cheese as well, it just happens that we liked the sharpest cheese we could get and for years Cracker Barrel has had the extra sharp cheese that really was extra sharp.
Also if you make smaller batches of this cheese, it is great with chopped green onions tops and all, also we have made with drained chopped green olives, I even once had it that another person made and added crumbled crisp bacon to the mixture, it all depends on what you personally like, as well as adding variety