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Do You Ever "Cheat" With Ingredients for Dinner?

We've done the following:

Made 2 Chinese main courses in our woks at home, and "cheated" with getting takeout Special Order rice to go with it - because we didn't want to go to the trouble of making rice.

While my sister grilled steaks at home, I stopped by North Woods on the way home to pick up their special salads and garlic cheese bread to go with them. North Woods style dinner at 1/3 the price.

What do you do?

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  1. No, if I am going to go out to get food, I will just go out for the whole meal & take the night off from cooking. When I am cooking at home I make the entire meal at home, I can typically produce a better dish in my kitchen than I can buy elsewhere.

    1. Absolutely. I like to fancy myself a pretty good home cook, but sometimes a take out supplement will work for me. Funny you mentioned rice. For all of my kitchen success and adventures (and sometimes failures), I just can not cook rice properly. We laugh about it at home. Either too mushy or too hard, I can't get it right. Sometimes, I will cook and pick up a pint of rice from the nearby Chinese BBQ place. Maybe I add things to it, sometimes Ilike it in its perfect plain ricey-ness. Last week my dear BF was craving steak. I was not in the mood to cook. So, I went to the butcher got a beautiful 21 day aged porterhouse for him to grill and I bought mashed potatoes from the Irish deli. The potatoes were a little thick for me, so I whipped them up with a little cream and butter and some pepper. Voila! Just like homemade, but very litle work. :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: Justpaula

        have you tried baking rice? I started doing that fairly reasonably, and it comes out perfectly every time. If you search home cooking board you will find some recipes....

        1. re: Justpaula

          Rice cookers are a miracle--it is hard to ruin rice in one of those.

          1. re: simsum

            Well, the reason we bought our Chinese rice, is because we wanted the "Special" rice with little bits of everything (eggs, veggies, meat, etc.) in it, and since we were already prepping/cooking so much, we didn't want to bother with even more prepping.

          2. re: Justpaula

            I had this problem too until I came across a basic rice recipe in Gourmet Magazine last year. I tried to find it on Epicurious.com but couldn't locate the recipe. I flagged it and referred to the recipe every time I made rice last year until it was in memory. To paraphrase, you take 1 1/3 cups water and 1 cup rice, place both in a pot and then bring all to a boil over med.high heat. Boil just until you see holes on the surface of the rice (it starts to dry out and the holes show up). Then turn heat down to low and put a lid on it for 15 minutes. After the 15 min. take off heat and leave lid on for another 5 min. Fluff with a fork, and voila, perfect rice.

            1. re: Justpaula

              I had this problem, but suddenly this year, voila, I can cook rice. Good quality rice really, really helps. I had particular issues with getting that dry, well separated basmati rice that you have with Indian food (it was always too soggy) until I bought basmati rice from India at the middle eastern grocer.

            2. I think the closest I've gotten is buying the pre-garlicked baguettes at the store to go with dinner. If I'm going by a restaurant to pick up sides, I'll just pick up entrees, too.

              If I'm going to cook at home and dirty pans, I'd rather just cook all the parts of the meal. I've got a rice cooker, so making rice is probably the easiest part of any meal!

              If we're grilling, I'll just make sides that are grillable so I don't actually do much (grilling is not my "job"),

              http://threedogkitchen.com

              1 Reply
              1. re: leanneabe

                Part of why we do this, is because we're on a very limited budget - can very rarely afford to eat out, so we "cheat" to get as much of it as possible without actually eating there, with the drinks, tax, tip, etc. And we cook all the time, so we occasionally give ourselves a "break" by not doing ALL of it sometimes and picking up 1-2 components.

              2. I've witnessed this a thousand times at the restaurant I used to work at. We made all of our salad dressings, sauces, soups, desserts, and bread from scratch. People would stop in on their way home for a bottle of fresh Lemon Vinaigrette, or a dozen of our hand formed and wood baked Croatian flatbreads (pogaca). They would always say they just needed a little "help" with dinner and we were happy to oblige.

                1. I do stuff like this...picking up tortillas from a local joint, or some salsa or guacamole or what have you to fill out a menu or have easy first course/munchies while putting together the rest of the meal. I'm actually far more likely to pick up a roast chicken and make the rest of the meal myself than to pick up sides and do the protein.