Convenience foods you love

pattypeterson2208December 13, 2012

I recently bought a can of "Brookdale chicken & dumpling" made from scratch with white chicken from Aldi's. the dumplings are so so but the rest, makes you want to lick the pan. I also buy Nestl� Toll house Ulltimates cookies but that is about portion control. I love a fresh cookie this way I can make a few at a time in the convection oven. Is there anything convenience foods that you buy that are really good and worth the money? Patty

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Marie Calendar's pot pies. Stouffer's mac and cheese. About once a year, I have to have a can of Hormel tamales. Must be eaten with warm sourdough french bread to sop up all that lovely grease. LOL

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Trader Joe's has some frozen tamales that are good. I like the cheese and green chili tamales. The chicken tamales come in second. I've never tried the beef tamales.

I also love the chicken pot pie and beef bulgogi from Costco.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:39PM
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Teresa, what department at Costco has the Bulgogi?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:34PM
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The bulgogi is back in the meat department where they have the prepared foods: chicken salad, chicken soup, tetrazini, party platters, etc.

My Costco only has it a couple times a year and the first time I saw it was 2 years ago. It's a tray of marinated meat that you bake or stir fry. The meat is sliced really thin and the marinade is perfect!

The marinade ingredients are everything I would put in a bulgogi marinade - only they do all the work! What's not to like?

You should ask if your Costco if they ever feature it. Know that I'm writing this I think I will ask tomorrow at my Costco when they will have it next.


This post was edited by teresa_mn on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 22:08

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:04PM
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This may sound really lazy, but I love the already-chopped lettuce mixes in the produce aisle.

Hubby loves Stouffer's Mac & Cheese.

Chicken cordon bleu from the freezer section - I would never make that myself, and haven't found a restaurant that serves it with a reasonable price.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:28PM
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We love the ready to eat romaine in 2# pks for $4 at GFS.

And I love 2 relatively low carb Lean Cuisines to which I add part of a cooked, cubed, chicken breast. I admit to liking the LC sauces.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:45AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have a few lean cuisines I love, love almost too strong a word, but for the amount of calories, I think I might love them.
My favorite is the turkey breast mealtime dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans with cranberries.
It's hard to find.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:25AM
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I confess to my love of appetizers and party treats made with Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough and Grands Biscuits. There is no way I would make my own flaky dough for my favorite fillings, and I don't know if homemade biscuit dough would hold up as well. Folks love little hand-held pies and such. Last night I had Chicken Meatball Bubbles, biscuit dough surrounding Asian chicken meatballs and served with sweet and sour sauce - really good. And next week I plan to make a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast bake with the Crescent roll dough.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:44AM
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Teresa - when I used to entertain a lot I made many finger foods using the crescent rolls. They are easy and people like them. My main reason for serving them however was that they were usually high in fat and carbs. Foods high in fat and carbs slow down the absorption of alcohol. My go to recipe I take to parties now is brie baked in crescent rolls.

One of my brothers was killed by a drunk driver more that 30 years ago. I've been very cognizant of the effects of alcohol ever since.

Teresa - the other one!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Tina's Frozen Burritos are the ultimate in convenience to me and I often get a craving for them. I like the red hot beef flavor. Red hot is not how I would describe them but they are nicely spiced. The filling is pretty much plain frijoles refritos. Two or three of them popped in the microwave for a couple of minutes and you're ready to go. They are cheap too, at 50 cents each.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Costco rotisserie chicken is the main "ready-to-eat" food we use.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I used to buy the frozen dumplings made by the Chinese Spaghetti Factory in Boston. All the Asian grocery stores in the area carried them. They were a great bargain, and convenient for a quick wonton meal.

A friend brought some samosas from Trader Joes for a lunch. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty they were.

I seldom buy convenience foods because I find them too expensive for what you get, and I like to control sugar/salt/preservative intake. So to me convenience is Thai curry paste, or artichoke hearts, or sundried tomatoes.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Costco chickens
Costco Pot Pie (I wish they sold 2 smaller ones)
Rice a Roni
Aldi's canned bisquits, the large ones.
Marzetti's Ultimate Blue Cheese Dressing
The tin of chocolate dipped cookies that Costco sells at Christmas.

And I bet I could find more!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:14PM
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teresa nc7

your chicken meatball bubbles sounds gooood!!!

can you share the recipe??


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 4:52PM
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TJ's smoked trout (it's a convenience food because I eat it straight out of the can)
TJ's mushroom and black truffle flat bread, tarte d'Alsace and frozen meatballs
TJ's frozen Indian food; Chicken tikka masala, etc. They're all good.

Maybe once a year I treat myself to mac and cheese and Stouffer's is the top of the line.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 7:06PM
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The Chicken Meatball Bubble was a package of pre-made chicken meatballs from Costco (or Sam's), Grand's Biscuits, and bottled sweet & sour sauce.

Here is the recipe that inspired the version I had:

1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury Grands! Jr. Golden Layers refrigerated buttermilk or flaky biscuits
10 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs (about 5 oz), thawed, each cut in half
2 sticks (1 oz each) string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup marinara sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375F. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Press each biscuit layer into 3-inch round.

Place 1 meatball half, cut side up, and 1 string cheese piece in center of each dough round. Wrap dough around meatball and cheese, pressing edges to seal. In ungreased 8- or 9-inch round cake pan, place seam side down in single layer.

Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Serve warm biscuits with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Thanks I know I can make my own cookie dough but until I use up the stuff in my freezer there is no room. I had a full size freezer at the house and since moving to this apartment I am still trying to down size. I still have two bags of food in my sisters freezer. I open a spiral ham today so this week I am making ham and bean soup, monte cristo sandwich, a breakfast bake of some kind. Cookie dough is in the works soon I have 9 bags of chips in freezer. I don't buy a lot of convenience foods so that's why I wanted to know what others buy. Patty

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:24PM
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Theresa, your recipe sounds so good. And so easy. I have never made any recipe with grands. or finger appetizers with crescents. Sounds like a nice time saver. Any more ideas appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Here is the first recipe I tried many, many years ago. Folks of any age love these. Back then we used Hungry Jack biscuits as Grands weren't on the market yet. Today I use Grands and I pull the biscuits apart to make two rounds of dough.

You can make Pizza Cups using beef/Italian sausage, pizza sauce and mozzarella; taco cups using beef, taco seasonings, tomato sauce and Monterrey Jack cheese or any other version you can think of.

Barbecue Cups

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the cups of a muffin pan.
2. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, cook beef until evenly brown. Drain excess fat. Stir in barbeque sauce and dried onion. Simmer for a few minutes over low heat.
3. Flatten each biscuit, and press into cups of the prepared muffin pan. Make sure the dough comes to the top of the pan. Spoon a portion of the meat mixture into each dough cup.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 3 more minutes.

note: I use fresh chopped onion and cook it with the beef.

Here is another well known Vegetable Pizza that uses crescent roll dough and is served cold. I thought everyone knew about this, but just the other night we had a potluck at my quilt guild meeting and an older woman was asking how this was made....she had never seen it.

Fresh Vegetable Pizza

2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 container (8 oz) sour cream
1to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions (8 medium)

optional: grated cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375F.

If using crescent rolls: Unroll both cans of dough; separate dough into 4 long rectangles. Place rectangles crosswise in ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan; press in bottom and 1 inch up sides to form crust. Seal perforations. If using dough sheets: Unroll both cans of dough. Place rectangles crosswise in ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan; press in bottom and 1 inch up sides to form crust. Bake 14 to 19 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In small bowl, mix sour cream, horseradish, salt and pepper until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust. Top with remaining ingredients. Cut into 10 rows by 6 rows. Store in refrigerator.

note: I prefer to use 1 8oz. package cream cheese mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream, flavored with 1 t. dill weed and 1/8 t. garlic powder for the creamy base. Some cooks mix in dried ranch dressing to flavor the base.

I don't put mushrooms in my version, but use finely diced carrots, peppers, broccoli, green onions and seeded tomatoes for the vegetables and add grated cheddar cheese on top. Make sure all the vegetables are dry and I press them gently down into the creamy base so they will not fall off. I also press the grated cheese down to help it stick to the rest. These are very colorful and appetizing on a party table!

Here is a link to the Pillsbury site for finding recipes by ingredient. They have tons of recipes using the biscuit dough and the crescent roll dough. Scroll down to "biscuits" and further down to "crescents."

Here is a link that might be useful: Pillsbury link

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:33AM
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I love KD, smothered in ketchup...there I said it!!!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Sabra hummus. I just don't have the hummus knack.
I also like the vegetable broth that comes in the little aesceptic boxes, great for adding just a splash to my cooking.
And I like the baby carrots and romaine hearts even though I know they are a ripoff. C'mon, they are CONVENIENT!
I also like that I can get some bruschetta spreads at Wegmans, although I try not to keep them in the house for fear of pigging out on them.
I like the gourment and Newman's Own salsas when I am out of my own, especially the black bean corn kind.
Store bought frozen bread dough is great for calzones.
My all time fave though is the refrigerated pie dough.
That's about it, I can't afford most of the stuff. It is great but I can't justify the cost.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 1:00PM
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what is KD, Chase?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Thank you Teresa! I will give them a try!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 5:14PM
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1) Sun-dried tomato pesto, Bella sun luci brand. Low in sodium with amazing flavor. Far better than any tomato paste in existence.

2) Frozen doughs: filo pastry, puff pastry and a French butter pie pastry. I hate making pastry dough, and these are so much easier and less messy.

3) Jarred Spanish piquillo peppers. An expensive import, but they ruined me forever for roasted red bells. Soooooo much better!

4) Fried shredded shallots. The Asians love 'em, and I love the convenience of opening up a container and making super-fast sauces. For some reason I'll clean and chop green, white, or red onions, but I hate doing leeks and shallots. Go figure!

5) Evaporated milk. Such a basic, old-fashioned item. But it saves me from having to keep perishable milk on hand when we only drink/use it erratically. And I use it often in place of cream when making sauces and soups, to lower calories and cholesterol.

6) Prepackaged salad greens, because I love Ruby Red baby lettuce and it's the only way I can get it.

7) Salad dressing. I make salad for us (me, spouse, MIL) 4-5x weekly, and we all like different dressings. Worth the time saving to avoid the hassle.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 5:20PM
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KD = Kraft Dinner = instant mac & cheese. What do they call it Stateside???

And I agree with Lpink re the Sabra hummous. Except I have to get it at Costco, in almost institutional put-ups, which means I have to eat it all by myself before it goes bad....

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I was trying to figure KD out too! Here I would call it macaroni and cheese in a blue box.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 6:38PM
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I know it as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The first time I ever heard it referred to as Kraft Dinner was in that song by the Bare Naked Ladies.

I don't eat it. However, I will treat myself to Veveeta and Shells now and then. Another boxed dinner by Kraft. It's my "go to" treat when we get a lot of snow and I have shoveled all day. Although I did not have a box on hand last Sunday when I shoveled the drive 4 times and the deck twice. I moved a 14" snowfall by myself and was disasappointed to learn I had none of the caloric treat on hand.

I now have 3 boxes on my shelf and consider myself prepared for the winter. We must get at least 8" of snow in order for me to warrant breaking out the boxed dinner.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 6:53PM
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I just got some of the Velveeta macaroni and cheese last month as a free giveaway at the grocery store. Not too bad for an occasional guilty pleasure. I make and love the real stuff and also like Stoffers, but the stuff in a box is very quick and easy.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Over a period of time I had heard so many people talk about the Kraft Mac & Cheese dinner.. I had never tried it, so I decided I needed to, just to stay in the conversation. It may be one of those dishes that grows on you or maybe I was too old to learn to love it, but once was enough. I wanted to like it because so many others did but it just didn't work for me.

One convenience food I use, not often, is Bisquick. I always use it for sausage balls and pancakes. Nothing else on a regular basis although I'm sure I've used it for other dishes.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 8:36PM
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Frozen mirepoix, frozen chopped onions; and frozen chopped green peppers. I use the first because sometimes I don't have the time or patience to chop the veggies. The second 2 items I keep on hand in case I'm in the middle of a recipe and discover I'm out of onions or bell peppers.

P.F. Chang's frozen orange chicken. I keep it for when I need a quick meal.

I wondered what KD was too! I didn't grow up being fed many convenience foods. Mom cooked most things from scratch, except cakes. She and Betty Crocker were close friends. Mom cooked lousy mac and cheese so it was not something I ever asked for. I have eaten Kraft mac and cheese but I do not like it. I prefer Stouffer's if I'm going to eat pre-prepared mac and cheese.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Another one who was wondering about KD, and would still be wondering even if it had been spelled out as Kraft Dinner!

I typically have both "KD" and Stouffer's in the house. I prefer the latter by far, but they're not for me. They're for nights when I throw my hands up in the air because my kids won't eat anything I make. They both love mac and cheese but my son won't touch Stouffer's and my daughter won't touch Kraft. So on those nights, I have to make both. How sad is that?!

Aside from that I don't keep much of what I'd consider convenience food around. Of course the term itself is subjective; I know some here would consider store-bought bread convenience food. Bisquick I do keep on hand. As easy as it is to make pancakes from scratch, Bisquick seems even easier.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:40AM
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Every so often when I have an exceptionally busy week coming up and need quick dinners I'll buy one of the party size Stouffers lasagnas, cook it on a weekend, and freeze dinner sized portions. It makes about 9 individual servings, which is quite economical because it is often on sale for about $9-10, and I can eat it for a week and not get tired of it.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:01AM
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In my old age, I've gotten really lazy and I buy those Pillsbury pie crusts that come rolled up in a package. I make pie so rarely that I even put up with the hydrogenated lard in it.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:04AM
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Never heard of KD before either. My husband loves Mac and Cheese and I have tried recipes from scratch until I've come to the conclusion that nothing is as good as Stouffer's. It stays creamy and that is something I cannot replicate. I did just use some Ragu cheese sauce to make mac and cheese and that was really good too but still convenience food, threw in a hand full of grated cheese. Husband loved it but Stouffer's is still the best.

I keep the Stouffer's spaghetti with meat sauce on hand and the fish dinner one too that has Mac and Cheese included. We keep frozen corn dogs on hand. Freshetta Pizza, frozen breaded fish, cake mixes, Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Mac flavor. Spaghetti sauce prepared in jars but I add all sorts of things to it. Tyson Buffalo Chicken strips, those are really good.

About buying frozen chopped onions or bell peppers etc, you can chop these fresh and throw into freezer bags and have them on hand. They freeze really good and don't stick together assuming they are dry when you freeze them. You can then just grab a handful out whenever you need them.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:24AM
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Well every day is a learning day!!

Apparently Kraft Dinner is the name used only in Canada. In the States they call it Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Who Knew!!!!

In any case both often call it Blue Box Mac and Cheese

Here is a link that might be useful: Kraft Dinner aka Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Oh my, how could I have forgotten my Bisquick in the list I made, above???

There's a new heart-healthy version and it works very well. I too use it for pancakes, and the Velvet Crumb Cake recipe is amazing with a fruit topping for an upside-down cake - I've used pineapples, or fresh bananas with pecans. I rarely make the upside down cake because I love it so much I'd eat the whole thing with heavy whipped cream on top, LOL.

When I serve it to people who have never had a homemade upside-down cake, they are wowed. "What IS this? How do you make it?" they always ask.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Ah, KD. The staple diet of starving students and hopeless bachelors...

I recall a few years back that Kraft sponsored a contest, I think an essay contest, where participants had to write about why they loved KD so much. The prize was a year's supply of the stuff. Apparently the winner, a single Saskatchewan farmer, immediately complained about his prize. Like, it was supposed to be a year's supply, but he only received 300 boxes!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:52PM
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LOL cooksnsews! I hope you don''t mind me stealing that story.

I like pre-made pesto. Not as good as homemade but so useful in the winter. And Wegman's hummus.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Well, I guess I must have ticked off the Kraft company or some convenience food maker who pays Gardenweb to advertise for them, LOL, because my prior post got pulled.

I will add to the list, though, with frozen puff pastry. There are things that I just don't like well enough to take the effort to make from scratch and puff pastry definitely makes that list.

Does Hershey's syrup count? I could make my own, but I don't...

Jude, the lure of the blue box escapes me too, although The Monkey Princess loves the stuff.

Here the local version of Bisquick is Jiffy Mix, I think I remember Grandma using it for banana bread but I've never been able to find a recipe.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Annie, now you have me curious about your prior post! :) Did a quick search and came up with quite a few recipes for banana bread using Jiffy Mix. OK, I was surprised! Here's one:

1 c. sugar
1/4 c. shortening
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. crushed very ripe bananas (2 med. size)
2 c. Jiffy baking mix (can use Bisquick)
1/3 c. nut meats, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, banana, Jiffy baking mix and nut meats. Stir until well mixed. Pour batter into well greased and floured loaf pan about 9 x 5 x 3 inches. Bake about 55 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees. Remove from pan; cool on rack before slicing.

I bought a box of the Jiffy Mix. Had some recipes or something that used Bisquick and Jiffy was a lot cheaper so I bought Jiffy. Never used it. Don't remember the recipes! Never liked Bisquick pancakes so that wasn't it. I'm guessing it was some sort of a quick bread, maybe a beer bread, IDK.

Back to the topic. How about Vito & Pablo's Microwaveable Lutefisk & Grits? No? OK. I do like brown & serve sausages, Stouffer's meatloaf and Hot (Lean) Pockets. The mesquite chicken in pretzel bread are quite good.

The almighty "blue box". I've heard it called Kraft Dinner before but guess I didn't get the abbreviation. Around her it's more "baby food" than adult fare. I never understood the attraction of mac & cheese anyway. Clara Peller is rolling over in her grave screaming WHERE'S THE BEEF???

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:42PM
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cynic, I actually didn't think my post was all that bad, considering my deep and abiding dislike for most things "pre-made", LOL. I mentioned cost and the salt and fat content, but did concede that I use a handful of them, such as crescent roll dough for vegetable pizza and an occasional Jiffy corn muffin mix..

Thanks for that recipe. I think that I remember Grandma used oil but I'm betting that since Jiffy corn muffin mix has lard in it, I'm betting the Jiffy Mix does too, so I'm not sure why it would be oil instead of more lard.

Since I make my own baking mix, I'm betting it would work just about the same.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 11:21PM
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I like tamales from Corn Maiden, which used to be in Culver City and very convenient, but now they are in Harbor City (???), and so I only get them at farmers' markets around town. I also buy sushi and sashimi from the Japanese market and Gelsons. They are both good, but the Japanese market has better sashimi. I think I buy more Japanese convenience foods than any other type. I do buy their dried soups, which are much better than the ones at the regular markets. I also buy the wakame salads, which I love.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 11:48PM
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Annie, FWIW, many of the different recipes I looked at used different grease, shortening on some, oil on others, etc. I'm thinking bacon fat would be good! :)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 2:18AM
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I agree about Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie. I know thy're bad but we like them a lot, don't eat them often. Revisiting much as I don't like it, I don't care that much for ketchup either and combining the two, what can I say. It's all about personal taste.

I didn't use convenience foods when my kids were growing up, except some occasional pot pies. That was one thing I never cooked. I was a stay-at-home Mom and with 4 children we couldn't afford it. Cooking from "scratch" was much more affordable so consequently my children were not used to the convenience foods. None of them were/are picky eaters. I cooked hot breakfasts but they did get Poptarts on Saturday morning .LOL. Big concession on my part, huh!

I just think it's whatever works and we don't all have to like the same things.

I forgot about the Jiffy yellow cake mix. It was cheap and we all liked it warm, straight from the oven for dessert at supper. I still prefer plain cake over one with frosting.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:26AM
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cynic, I'm thinking bacon grease would be good in the corn muffins, but I'm not so sure about banana bread, although Elery's granddaughters would tell me that bacon is good with EVERYTHING. (grin)

I didn't do an on-line search, I've gone through Grandma's cookbooks, notebooks and handwritten recipe cards and did not find the banana bread with Jiffy Mix. I'm pretty sure, though, that's what she made a Christmas for the bus driver, the mail man, the teachers. I figure that's why she used the mix, she made a LOT of loaves of banana bread!

Jude, I make my own catsup too, but I still buy Heinz because Dave eats it on everything, even macaroni and cheese. I also make my own mustard and mayo, but it doesn't keep me from buying new flavored mustards and trying to copy them, LOL. I know wizardnm does the same thing, buys a jar of something and uses that as a "pattern" to make her own, so I guess that counts as convenience foods.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Oh Annie, I'm not a purist. I just don't care for ketchup although I did make some of the chipotle ketchup this summer to go in gift baskets for some of the family. Most all my family except my oldest "wimpy" DD likes hot stuff. I have made homemade mayo but not in a long time. If I buy mustards etc., and I like them, I don't feel the need to duplicate them. I'll wait for you and wizardum to perfect them and I'll just copy your post. Now how easy is that! We don't use that many condiments anyhow, probably more mayo than anything and I'd be willing to bet that Bob would say "what's wrong with Hellman's"?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Frozen pizza for convenience when I am out of homemade crust and feel too lazy to make it. Surely I am not the only one with a few in the freezer for "emergencies". LOL


    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:29PM
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My pizza for convenience is a Pizza Hut 5 minutes from my house!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:30PM
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NO frozen pizza here, my kids didn't like it. The girls used to put pizza sauce on an English Muffin, add some pepperoni and cheese and bake them for a "mini pizza". We didn't have a pizza joint in town for a long time, but then the bakery started making pizza.

We do have a Subway now but it's the only fast food in town. I used to have to drive 30 miles for fast food, now I only have to drive 10 miles, so it's still not very fast if you count the drive.

Jude, I have a bunch of condiments and I don't really use that many of them, I ought to clean the fridge and toss a bunch. Sweet chili sauce, 5 kinds of mustard, homemade catsup, Heinz catsup, Bragg's amino acids, soy sauce and sweet kecap manis soy sauce. Wasabi and tomato paste in a tube, all my homemade pickles and relishes, pickled ginger for sushi days. Sriracha and Franks Red Hot and Tabasco, I think we have a dozen hot sauces, Elery loves the stuff.

So, if condiments count as convenience foods, I have a ton. Did I mention Worchestershire? (grin)


    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:07PM
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And pickles, I bet you have a bunch of those too! I don't refrigerate ketchup or hot sauces. I guess I figure if restaurants don't, it must be all right. I love having the tomato paste in a tube. I don't use it often but it surely is convenient to not have to figure out saving the rest of a can after you've used a tablespoon of it.

The shelves in the doors of both my refrigerators are full, because there's the salad dressings too. And sometimes it's hard to scratch around to find something to eat! How sad is that.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:36AM
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What I/we need is some easy recipes that consist mainly of condiments! LOL! Like soup from ketchup and hot sauce or a casserole made from CheezWhiz and bread?


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Sounds like a cooking challenge to me. All my shelves on door of the frig are full also. Other than the staples i have capers, sun dried tomatoes in oil, hot bean paste, garlic ginger, pickapeppa sauce and some kind of Mederia concentrate I drug home that I have not been brave enough to try yet. Patty

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 11:47AM
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jude, be careful with the catsup, it will ferment. I learned that when we owned the restaurant, if you leave a bottle of catsup out long enough it will get fizzy. We used to keep the big cans in the walk in cooler and fill the bottles as they were used, but we washed them when empty and they got filled a couple of times a week, so there wasn't time for it to go bad.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 12:06PM
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On the other end of this discussion...I tried a convenience food last week. I was suckered into believing the marketing hype about the new Campbell's pouch soups. I love Thai and thought this might be marginally good in a pinch. It was so gross (to me) that I didn't get past the first spoon full; in fact I spit it out...sorry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Campbell's Coconut Curry

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:53PM
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Just FYI, soy sauce, fish sauce, and dark soy don't need to be refrigerated. They will keep literally for years. Oyster sauce, though, once open needs to be refrigerated. It has less salt (which is why I prefer to use it) to preserve it. I think you're right that the sweet kecap manis in the glass jar has to be refrigerated as well; I seldom use it. There is a sweet soy sauce which doesn't need refrigeration, and I tend to use that instead.

The only thing that happens to soy and fish sauces is that the salt will start to recrystallize after about five or six (or maybe ten) years. I usually toss it then, although actually you still don't have to, it doesn't really affect the sauce or mean that it's spoiled.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Cathy, I've never found a single canned soup that I liked, although a couple of the frozen varieties are passable (barely).

I haven't seen the pouch type soups here yet, so thanks for the warning!

Hmmmm. jkom, I guess that means I don't need to buy a new bottle of fish sauce. I have one in the fridge that I use to make Sol's Caramel Chicken and it's 4 or 5 years old, I was just thinking of replacing it. I guess I won't, LOL.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:22PM
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jkom and annie - kecap manis doesn't have to be refrigerated. I have a jar in the cupboard which must be 3-4 years old. I just used a spoonful a couple of weeks ago, and it tasted fine (and I'm still here!).


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:14PM
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I just checked my pantry and I have an opened bottle of Oyster sauce...mine is probably 2 years old. If jadeite went with it, and survived,then I guess I can too! Although, I just put it in the fridge.

My all time go to convenience food is canned chicken. I may only use it twice a year, for chicken salad, but I love it! I still have to boil the eggs and chop veggies but it's so easy! Salt and all! Second would be the Russett potatoes that are shrinked wrapped and only take a few minutes in the microwave to cook. Love them!

I'm scared of canned tamales, meat, Spam...but I love canned salmon. I make homemade mashed potatoes and use the canned Salmon to make Salmon patties. Weird!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:54AM
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Riverrat, tell me how you make your chicken salad, please. I have an unopened (obviously) can of chicken in my pantry that I would like to use. And salmon patties are not weird! We like them a lot...wait...maybe we ARE

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:00AM
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Come on jude! You know how to make chicken salad better than I do ;-) I use a large can of chicken, about 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 boiled eggs, lots of fresh garlic and scallions out of the garden, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of pickle juice! Sometimes I add dried cranberries, pecans or left over bacon. Once you get your basic recipe down you can add just about anything too it. Capers are a great addition too!

I thought of another convenience food tonight as I was cooking some black beans tonight. It's probably the greatest invention since sliced bread! Frozen chopped onion, bell pepper and parsley mix! Can I get an Amen from all you CFer's!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:07PM
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Amen to the frozen mix which I didn't know was "out there" . I'll be adding it to my store of convenience foods.

And yes I know how to make chicken salad , of which there are dozens of combinations, but I wanted to know what YOU did. And...I thank you!

I just bought orange flavored dried cranberries for the first time yesterday to make white chocolate bark. Another thing I didn't know was available. Apparently I need to get out and about


    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Amen! I'll be looking for the frozen veggie mix, too!

I love those dried orange-flavored cranberries. But the plain ones are cheaper at my local co-op.

I never cared for the texture of canned chicken. But the salmon in the foil package is a staple in my pantry for a quick chowder, salmon patties, or kedgeree.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:17AM
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jadeite, a lot depends on which brand of oyster sauce and kecap manis you're using.

I've noticed the small glass bottles of ho yau (oyster sauce in Cantonese) almost never spoil. But I buy it in gallon cans, and decant it into smaller squeeze bottles - and if I leave any of it out, it DOES spoil. Nice little gray-green fuzzies appear!

I think it's the higher sugar content and corresponding lack of salt, which of course differs between brands. Since practically everyone in CA is on a low-salt diet [grin], I am usually going with brands that taste less salty than others.

Note that even low-sodium soy keeps (virtually) forever, btw.

Also, the Chinese make a sweet soy (the label will call it exactly that) is a direct sub for the Indonesian kecap manis. If you ever find the Pearl River Bridge brand of lite soy sauce, it has a surprisingly sweet taste for a regular soy. I've switched to it in place of kecap manis as it's a little more versatile in the dishes we make at home.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 1:12PM
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jkom - I didn't say my oyster sauce would keep without refrigeration. Mine stays in the fridge. I buy Lee Kum Kee Premium in large bottles. BTW we just got some a couple of days ago and the new price gave me sticker shock. It was about $14 for the large bottle, and $8 for the smaller one.

My kecap manis doesn't spoil, I don't recall brand since I decanted it into a smaller jar. I think it's Indonesian.
I love the stuff but a little goes a long way. I also have Chinese sweet soy which is similar but less concentrated.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Last night I was just not in the mood to cook. I think I have a cold coming on or else I'm such in a b!tchy phase, so Clive took over.

Canned beans and boiled wieners with chile sauce and yellow mustard. Gotta admit it was good in a guilty pleasures kinda way.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 3:16PM
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When it comes to Mac and Cheese, my son loves the box ones especially shells (any brand) and I like Stouffer's frozen package. We trade back and forth, one time it's box and the next it's frozen. I love when it gets over done on the sides and you get that brown crust. I use to make it from scratch but never was a big hit. I guess you get use to it a certain way growing up. I also buy brownie box mixes. I have made them from scratch but everyone likes the box mixes better.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Riverrat, please tell me how you make your salmon patties. I've never made them with mashed potatoes, but sounds good.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:19AM
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The frozen "seasoning blend" mix isn't available around here. Too far north I suppose. I can get frozen onion and frozen green pepper though. I make my own on occasion, celery, onion and pepper and freeze it usually along with some more onion frozen by itself. It really is handy. I used to waste so much celery especially but not anymore. Well OK, not as often.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:13AM
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Frozen flax waffles. Annie Mac and cheese. Wholefoods red beans and rice is super convenient for a quick dinner. Plain guacamole in mini pouches from Costco. Tamarind paste in a jar. Keeps forever in the fridge. Frozen veggie burger patties from trader joe's. Raw sesame tahini paste. San marzano's marinara is good. Frozen veggies - chopped spinach, onion, bell peppers, no salt petite peas, the freeze in the bag kind of corn. I also like to keep a few drink boxes of plain 2% organic milk from horizon. This is standardized milk that is shelf stable and we do run out of milk occasionally. Ready made appetizers from Costco or TJ. Ready made mashed potato and hash browns are useful to thicken or balance if something is too salty or spicy.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 12:56AM
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I always keep a family size Stouffers Lasagna in the freezer, everyone loves it and it's great for unexpected family dinners. Crescent rolls, of course. Ikea meatballs, Sam's rotisserie chicken, OreIda frozen potatoes to be steamed and smashed, along with Ikea cream gravy mix.

I also keep Quorn naked cutlets and chick'n nuggets in the freezer - they are so useful for anything that calls for chicken (or doesn't call for chicken). I keep some sauces - orange, sweet & sour, Thai peanut sauce to add to the un-chicken, and some frozen veggies and rice for a quick dinner.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:48AM
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