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From a box or can and not so bad?

What things from a box or can do you like to make occassionally, even if you wouldn't want your foodie friends to know about? For me, they are au gratin potatoes and Shake and Bake barbeque glaze. Also pork and beans because my son likes the mildness of the Heinz version better than mine which are not so subtle.

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  1. trader joe's truffle brownies are no fail, gooey chocolatey goodness.

    1. In a fairly recent thread, I mentioned (canned): water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, palm hearts, garbanzo beans, tahini, sauerkraut, Japanese pickled vegetables, cranberry sauce, smoked eel, tuna, salmon, sardines, pickled herring, corn, anchovies, corned beef. In terms of ready to eat shameful foods: Chef Boyardee ravioli.

      My couscous and polenta come in boxes. Do they count?

      13 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        I love that ravioli too. That shade of orange is amazing.

        1. re: pengcast

          I grew up down the road from where that stuff is made. Between our house and the factory were miles of industrial tomato fields. During harvest season the smell from the fields and the plant was so nauseating that even as a child, knowing where the ravs were made I could never eat them. To this day the sight and smell of Boyardee products will give me the ooglies.

          This place also made Crunch 'n' Munch and when that was on the line the town smelled of caramel. Much more pleasant but occasionally cloying.

          They also made Diablo mustard and as a young adult I had a friend who worked there who told a story about a coworker who out of curiosity opened the lid on one of the mustard tanks and got knocked out by the fumes.

          1. re: morwen

            workers in horseradish plants wear gas masks.

            given the use of mustard gas in WWI your friend's co-worker is lucky hospital care wasn't required.

            1. re: hill food

              yes, my grandfather survived mustard gas in WWI. i think it qualified him for honorable discharge, but "disabled". surprised your pal wasn't warned (but....he probably was....)

            2. re: morwen

              I lived in Idaho during my high school years. We lived not far from a sugar beet factory, just outside of Boise. The smell of cooking sugar beets is horrendous and can't even really be described. Like cooked grass and cow sh**, but somehow WORSE than that. I can't imagine how something as lovely as sugar comes from that stench.

              1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                "Jeez Louise, how did you turn cinnamon applesauce into that!" </Marge Simpson>

                1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                  Speaking of growing up near food factories, for years driving on the highway near where my parents lived meant going by a Jim Beam bottling company. Which had the good fortune of being located next to an artificial flavor factory. The combined stench of Jim Beam and reject artificial flavors is amazingly unpleasant. Something sweet, slightly boozey, and entirely not of nature.

                  1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                    The sugar cane mills around here smell like sh*t during milling season, too. Maybe it's the bagasse? First time I smelled it I thought I'd stepped into a huge pile of dog poo x a million.

                    1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                      I second that! When I was younger and worked with horses there was a sugar beet factory on the other side of the river. I was outside all day so when sugar beets were coming in and the factory was working I had to smell that crap for like 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. It closed down a while back and is now a winery.

                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Sam - I'm still laughing about that post! Chef Boyardee anything. Progresso's split pea and ham soup. TJ's bread and butter pickles. ANY pickles! Anchovies. Instant mashed potatoes mixed with canned corn and sprinkled with cheddar and topped with canned chipotle peppers and adobe sauce. Almost all of my pasta. Red cabbage.

                  1. re: southernitalian

                    This may freak you out, but there is a growing group of Hounds coming out of our closets and admitting to a (occasional) lust for Chef Boyardee raviloi.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      I admit I like Chef Boyardee ravioli too. I always have a few cans around for when I get the *craving* to eat something I normally wouldn't eat! But homemade ravioli are quite time consuming (we do it the way my noni did) and Chef works in a pinch.

                      p.s. I eat it right out of the can cold.don't tell mom

                    2. re: southernitalian

                      I love red cabbage from a jar. And pickled beets and sauerkraut.

                  2. I'm not sure if this counts, as it is only a ingredient, but I love Cope's dried corn.
                    The original Kraft mac and cheese is a guilty pleasure that I eat a few times a year.

                    I also love canned German style potato salad, but I am almost ashamed to admit that, as it is so easy to make the real thing.

                    1. Pepperidge Bread Stuffing

                      1. Canned corn, though I've moved on to frozen a while ago. Used to just pop the entire can in a pot, add some butter and salt = dinner. Not healthy, but tasty.

                        Other canned stuff: Tomatoes. Sardines. Tuna. Beans.
                        Boxed: Kraft Mac & Cheese. Sorry, but I am a total sucker for that sh!t. And, well, pasta in boxes... that's how they're sold, eh? :-D

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: linguafood

                          You can turn that can of corn into Mexican corn by draining and mixing with Mayo, chili powder and crumbled Mexican cheese ... truly shameful

                          1. re: rworange

                            mmmMMMMMMmmm. Cotijo? that sounds delicious. I did use to add some paprika powder, or curry sometimes, and creme fraiche. Ah, corn.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Yeah. I didn't realize Elote was sold both on and off the cob until I saw it at a local Mexican market. It is all the ingrediants that are usually slatered on the cob, but mixed into the cup. One place shaves the corn off the cob and then mixes things up in the cup to order ... which is what inspired me with the can of green giant sitting in my kitchen cupboard.

                              While I haven't eaten it in years due to the cream part ... or whatever it is ... I loved Green Giant white creamed corn when I was growing up.

                            2. re: linguafood

                              Yeah I do love me some Kraft Mac & Cheese in a box! I used to eat that all the time when in college...occasionally still indulge in my badness. Total late-night drunky snack!

                            3. hamburger helper - sometimes it really does make a great meal...:o)
                              stovetop stuffing - i have an affinity for dried carrots and onions
                              cheddar and bacon au gratin potatoes - i like how some of the potato slices stay dried and crunchy...
                              instant porcini mushroom risotto - love the salty, MSG flavor
                              lipton teriyaki rice - i usually add broccoli for a satisfying, salty meal...

                              does ramen count?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: soypower

                                Guilty. Once a year maybe twice. Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper with mushrooms (my addition) Or Rice-a-roni the Chinese version, I'll add water chestnuts, green onions, mushrooms and mix in pork. I know the salt content is off the chart!

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  Had leftover Cheeseburger Macroni for lunch at my desk today. It is not my favourite HH, stroganoff is.

                                  1. re: pengcast

                                    i dont eat HH any more, but as a kid it was the 1st thing i cooked. i wouldn't be a foodie/CH if not for hamburger helper. so hat's off

                                    1. re: thew

                                      Hamburger Helper, Kraft Mac and Cheese and eggs were the limit of my dad's cooking abilities and even then, he managed to mess them up occasionally, so when mom was out of the kitchen I learned by following the directions on the HH boxes and now Cheesy Tuna Helper is one of my ultimate comfort foods.

                                2. re: soypower

                                  second the stovetop stuffing, turkey flavor and cornbread flavor combined. add some nice sliced deli turkey and you've got instant thanksgiving fix --- don't forget the ocean spray cranberry jelly from the can, too.

                                3. Bisquick... and various kinds of the heinously processed Korean foods: jjajjaroni, jjampong, spicy rice cakes, etc.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: link_930

                                    Sad to say, my husband prefers Bisquick waffles to my homemade, which I think are pretty darned good.

                                  2. What has become a fav with me is Chicken Thighs covered by a can of Campbell'ss Cream of Celery soup baked out.

                                    1. How about from a JAR? Our current fave is Aunt Nellie's pickled whole beets...only 65 mgs sodium per 2 beet serving....addictive! Prerequisite: you must love vinegary flavors.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Val

                                        Those certainly are addictive! I have to practice great restraint to keep myself from eating a whole jar in one sitting.

                                      2. I like the Far East Falafel Mix, but I pan-sear the patties rather than fry them. Also, Target had this really nice Moroccan Quinoa Salad made by Archer Farms. Litehouse makes a good bleu cheese dressing (the only store-bought I like, actually).

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: almccasland

                                          Must....try.....this! One of my favorite sandwiches is falafel pita at local Greek place (Pelagos in Naples, FL...their falafel is great...the aveglmomono soup not so great)...I don't know how they do it...it is just so freakin' good! Bright yellow in color (turmeric???)...and NOT greasy...will seek out the Far East...thanks!

                                          1. re: Val

                                            Sorry, correction: avgolemono soup--boy I really butchered that!

                                        2. Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash, fried so it's crisp in parts, served with ketchup to taste. Gourmet version: add a couple of sunny-side up eggs. Yum.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                            Yes, the Mary Kitchen has is better than I can make at home. Also, Swanson chicken a la king over well-browned toast.

                                          2. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix. Very good.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: fern

                                              Ditto - they are really good. King Arthur Flour co. chocolate lava cake mix - yes, I know it's easy to make - but I got it as a gift, and it was great. I always have a box in my pantry. And the King Arthur scones aren't bad in a pinch, either......

                                            2. My favorite easy weeknight dinner of Tuscan-style sausages and beans - among the few ingredients used are canned cannellini beans and canned peeled tomatoes. I love that dinner is on the table within 15-20min of opening my first can!

                                              1. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam ... SPAM!!!

                                                6 Replies
                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    Or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

                                                  2. re: alanbarnes

                                                    alan, have you tried the hickory smoked SPAM? can't discern that much difference between regular and hickory.....

                                                    1. re: flipss

                                                      Nah, I'm a purist. No turkey spam, no reduced sodium spam, no hickory spam. My diet and conscience only allow a couple of cans a year (except when in Hawai'i, when calories don't count), so there's no room for deviation from the Holy Grail. The only exception was when Hormel was offering a free Spam t-shirt for 3 proofs of purchase, but that's another post.

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                        I've got a Spam T-shirt...sometimes I forget I'm wearing it, and then people make weird cracks that it takes a second for me to get - oh, and I'm a vegetarian!

                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                      Wife: Have you got anything without spam?
                                                      Waitress: Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it.
                                                      Wife: I don't want ANY spam!

                                                      Me either...

                                                    3. I go for boxed and canned things that in no way whatsoever resemble the real thing. They're fake and they know they're fake and we know they're fake, and it's all OK. For example, there's nothing like Campbell's tomato soup when I'm feeling under the weather. My absolute fave middle-of-the-store food is Kraft mac 'n' cheese--some days, scratch just doesn't cut it. The very best way to prepare it: cook only half the noodles, so that the orange cheese dust makes an exceptionally salty and zingy sauce. I stash the spare noodles in a plastic container and use them to make tuna noodle or chicken noodle casseroles, when I want something warm and gooey and that has no fight whatsoever. But I do make a bechamel instead of using canned Campbell's to bind.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Erika L

                                                        Along the noodle re-arranging thing- when my son just wants simple stuff (yes I have stock in the freezer and rice noodles in the fridge for pho- but..) it is the generic chicken noodle soup with half dose of water. Use skimmer to take out all the noodles into the serving bowl and then add just enuf broth to cover. So he gets lots of noodles and a big dose of broth.

                                                        1. re: Erika L

                                                          Ditto on the mac & cheese, although I haven't had it in a while. Here's my method (actually from Jane & Michael Stern's "Square Meals"): From 2 boxes, use both packs of dry orange cheeselike substance but only one box of noodles, the amount of water that you would use for a "normal" recipe, but double or triple the butter. Yeah.

                                                          1. re: Erika L

                                                            When I'm sick or nauseated, I like Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup, made with half the water. It has a nice bland chicken-y salty broth, with gushy easily digested noodles, at a time when real chicken soup would be to savory and flavorful to stomach.

                                                          2. Progresso's Chicken Noodle Soup and Sabra's Hummus...taste delicious, why bother making your own =)

                                                            1. Cereal


                                                              Pilsbury Buttermilk Biscuits


                                                              Campbell's tomato soup

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. Tuna, beets, garbanzo beans (for hummus), stock.

                                                                All of them are so easy to prepare, and so much more delicious, fresh -- but some nights, it really has to be a choice between dinner by can or dinner by phone. Or a canister of roasted almonds. I figure the can-derived dinner is the lesser of evils.

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                  I kinda like Hormel's canned beef tamales and Stauffers French bread pizza as well as Stauffer's Mac and cheese (although I usually add a good helping of fresh grated Reggiano to it)...

                                                                  1. re: Sean

                                                                    stouffer's frozen spinach souffle. i eat the whole thing. oven baked is best, but nuking is fastest way for me to be able to gobble it up!

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      I forgot all about Stouffer's spinach souffle. My sister taught me to put the baked souffle on a baked potato and top it with cottage cheese. Salty, delicious meal.

                                                                      1. re: fern

                                                                        I love Stouffer's Welsh Rarebit, but have not had it in a long time because I just cant find it!! Its great over toast/sliced tomatoes/bacon.

                                                                        I also agree on the Spam, Corned Beef Hash, and tuna and anchovies. I used to love Kraft M&C, but it was also a favorite of my late husband's. Now just looking at the box makes me miss him more.

                                                                        1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                          Pardon? Stouffer's makes welsh rarebit? I must find this immediately. Where have you seen it previously?

                                                                          On topic... maraschino cherries. Kraft macaroni and cheese. And Stouffer's macaroni and cheese. Cream of broccoli soup.

                                                                          1. re: marmite

                                                                            Marmite -- indeed they do, and I have visited their website, so I know it is still available. Its just that here in Houston, since I moved to the Heights and started shopping here, I cannot find it. Anywhere. I do have access to Sam's Club, so I guess I could check there, but I dont want to buy a family-size portion -- just enough for myself (the regular size in supposed to be 2 portions, but you know how that goes....)

                                                                            1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                              Thank you for the info- this weekend begins my search in every grocery store in my path. Welsh rarebit... how I love thee....

                                                                              1. re: marmite

                                                                                marmite, do i hear swirling violins and an "ode" coming on? ;-)

                                                                                oin topic: yes, i've seen welsh rarebit here in arlington, va. recently.

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  I found the Stouffer's rarebit at Stop and Shop, which was stop #4 on the search trail, but haven't had the chance to try it yet. But really, how bad can it be?? :)

                                                                          2. re: Cheflambo

                                                                            I know what you mean. I can no longer even look at peanut butter in the grocery - it makes me cry. It stinks having some of our favorite foods taken away by grief. I'm hoping that one day I can again enjoy peanut butter...

                                                                  2. Caponata in a can's not bad-- I forget who makes it. Progresso? Cento?

                                                                    1. Chef Boyardee beefaroni. Campbell's bean & bacon soup. Cup of Noodle (aka Cup of Salt).

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                        Haven't had it in a very long time, but I used to make my wife cringe when I would eat Chef Boyardee Ravioli I love that crap.

                                                                        1. re: Eric in NJ

                                                                          Yeah, I wouldn't say they are my guilty pleasure, b/c I don't feel guilty about them, but I don't eat them too much, which makes it even more enjoyable when I do!

                                                                          1. re: Eric in NJ

                                                                            Ha. I still love spaghettios. I have to add a little garlic to them now though.

                                                                        2. Jiffy Corn Muffin mix.

                                                                          Sometimes I add chopped chipotles and make them in the waffle iron to go with chili. I've started using it to make impromptu banana muffins by adding a mashed banana, a few nuts, and vanilla. I sometimes swap out the milk for buttermilk.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mamaciita

                                                                            Ditto the corn muffin mix. On occasion my husband likes to have a couple warmed alongside a glass of milk before bed.
                                                                            Also croutons, canned pumpkin, all kinds of canned beans though I plan on following a recipe from the new issue of Saveur with fresh beans, tuna, artichoke hearts, Reduced Fat Bisquick, jarred pre-minced garlic, and Pacific Foods boxed soups I use quite a bit as bases for other soups. Oh, and boxed stock.

                                                                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                              I just recently discovered Pacific Foods boxed soup -- specifically the roasted red pepper and tomato soup. It really is pretty good. Also used canned beans for hummus all the time even though I *know* the dried ones taste better. I can't get away from the ease...

                                                                          2. Pilsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Icing

                                                                            Eggos - I love Eggos and all of the crazy flavors they trot out for a limited time

                                                                            And this will get me in trouble on Chowhound - canned frosting. Sometimes when I need a quick hit of sugar and fat, a spoonful of Fudge or Vanilla frosting from Duncan Hines hits the spot (and it lasts forever in the fridge)

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: swissgirl

                                                                              I like Kashi's frozen waffles, especially blueberry. Not bad, and wholegrain.

                                                                              I looove Pilsbury Cinnamon rolls. Always evokes happy childhood memories. I love the little pots of icing you get.

                                                                              1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                Along those lines....Pilsbury Orange rolls........mmmm....love those.

                                                                            2. canned beanless Hormel chili nuked until it's really thick and poured (spooned really at that point) over Frito's with cheddar cheese (known to many as Frito pie).

                                                                              Underwood deviled ham on Saltines. in fact Saltines are really my favorite cracker with the occasional exception of stone ground wheat if company is coming over.

                                                                              1. I use the hell out of canned beans. They're really one of the most cost-effective canned vegetables, considering how much time and cooking gas go into a pot of beans - and they're BETTER than home-cooked for cold bean salad with olive oil, a little lemon juice or vinegar, and fresh herbs - they just need to be rinsed and drained.

                                                                                I like canned corn better than frozen - more flavor. My wife has a passion for the succotash I make with canned corn and frozen baby limas; I cook the beans in the water from the corn plus whatever more is needed, plus a good pat of butter-like substance.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                  will, agree on beans and canned corn. canned corn texture is more like off the cob chewy.

                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                    beans: even following all the soak and stew rules mine still come out with far too much tooth. canned, yes. unless we're talking green beans of course, but even those are best for casserole (which the orthodox version requires all ingredients to be canned)

                                                                                  2. lipton ice tea. that powdered stuff in a jar. love that in the summer. evokes childhood memories of welcoming early summer of lunch on the patio along with mom's cold tuna pasta salad, also still a favorite (pasta, tuna, mayo, shallots, peas, s&p).

                                                                                    i'll also admit my husband normally cheats with some powdered potato flakes when making potato soup. he uses real potatoes too, but the flakes help make it creamy/bind better.

                                                                                    1. Store brand mac n' cheese, from time to time. I still have to add fresh garlic, onion and real cheese to it though, just to doctor it up. I also use Heinz baked beans regularly, especially for breakfast fry-ups; my husband is a Brit so baked beans are an essential ingredient in our cupboard. And I occasionally use canned corn (plain salted, definitely not cream corn - yuck) and canned kidney beans when making chili. It's a lot quicker, though admittedly doesn't taste quite the same. And I still eat canned soup sometimes, though I make my own too. I like Progresso soups. And canned Cream of Mushroom soup on occasion, to be used in tuna noodle casserole (canned tuna, of course). And canned sardines, packed in olive oil. I make bruschetta and warm salads with this.

                                                                                      1. Bush's baked beans.
                                                                                        jarred marinated artichoke hearts
                                                                                        Hellmann's red-fat mayo
                                                                                        Muir's Glen canned tomatoes
                                                                                        Bertolli's spaghetti sauce in a jar
                                                                                        Tongol tuna
                                                                                        Deming's canned alaska red salmon
                                                                                        green pimiento-stuffed olives - for Mr. Sueatmo

                                                                                        1. I love lightly friend spam on bread with mayo and pickles...yum

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: cupcakeadozen

                                                                                            cupcake: if you're anywhere near the East coast you need to try scrapple...

                                                                                          2. just tried the bush's "grillin' beans"

                                                                                            pretty good; very similar to bbq beans from bbq places like sonny's in florida. will try the bourbon flavor today.

                                                                                            but, you don't get a large can like the large bush's baked beans. thus, the baked beans are a better value, and can be tweaked with some bbq sauce to get the same flavor, imo.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              I agree - these are pretty good - I've bought them a couple of times, and everyone loves them.

                                                                                            2. i just discovered Private Selection brand Salsa in the Chipotle flavor... thick and smoky, and great bang for the buck.

                                                                                              1. Pillsubry refrigerated pie crusts are much better than the ones I (try to) make from scratch.

                                                                                                1. In cans: water chestnuts, coconut milk, tuna, clams, and tomatoes. In cartons: milk and stock. I'm happy with all of them.

                                                                                                  I've always found it interesting that chefs (Batalli for instance) more or less uniformly insist upon tomatoes in cans for tomato sauce.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                    Canned tomatoes have a flavor that is quite different from using fresh tomatoes for a sauce or even soup or stew (unless I have just never cooked fresh tomatoes into a tomato sauce correctly). San Marzanos of course are tops!

                                                                                                    1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                      Everyone says how wonderful San Marzanos tomatoes are unfortunately they are not available where I live. I look for them everytime I go shopping with no luck yet.

                                                                                                      1. re: Smileelisa

                                                                                                        Where do you live? Are there no Italian stores there? Gourmet type grocery stores should stock it. Can you order on line? I like Ital brand. I've been told they should say D.O.P. on the can, not just that they are San Marzano tomatoes.

                                                                                                  2. There is a local brand here in Baltimore, Mrs Minnick's Sour Beef Mix, that is not bad at all..cuts preparation of this dish down to about one hour vs three days.
                                                                                                    Also Hanover Brands makes a Maryland Crab Soup Mix that ain't half bad.

                                                                                                    P.S. Mom and Grammy I'm only kidding

                                                                                                    1. I'll second all those who admit they still eat Kraft Mac n Cheese. I thought I'd "invented" the only-use-half-box of macaroni but all the sauce method.

                                                                                                      I also have to have a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli about once every few years, then I remember it has kind of a weird taste and don't eat it for awhile. Still, I'm due for my next reminder.

                                                                                                      My Bisquick biscuits are much better than the biscuits I tried to make from Paula Deen's recipe (and I love Paula). I add a spoonful of sugar every time I make them, then drizzle melted butter over.

                                                                                                      And from the sort of weird "things I ate when I was single" files... I used to take a box of Rice-a-Roni wild rice, cook it, then stir in a can of white tuna and some cheddar cheese and garlic.

                                                                                                      This was a great idea for a thread. I love hearing people's guilty pleasures!

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: stephanieh

                                                                                                        Along the same line, I use Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice, but I make it extra tomatoey using 2 cans of tomatoes - 1 with chiles in them for a little kick. Then I add some frozen, cooked shrimp and frozen peas - for color - close to when it's done. Yum.

                                                                                                        I also love Bush's Grillin' Beans. Those things are amazing, and probably one of my favorite canned foods. I'm a Velveeta girl, though, when it comes to boxed mac 'n cheez. Creamy, salty, gooey yumminess.

                                                                                                      2. When I'm cooking for just the two of us, I'll go to some trouble with the main dish, and maybe the veggies, but on the starch I'll cut corners. There are some really decent rice mixes in a box that have minimal chemical additives and crap. Some of our favorites...

                                                                                                        Near East Rice Pilaf
                                                                                                        Casbah Nutted Rice Pilaf
                                                                                                        Zatarain's Long Grain & Wild Rice
                                                                                                        Lundberg Risottos (especially the Creamy Parmesan and Wild Porcini Mushroom varieties)

                                                                                                        1. Annie's Natural cheese ravioli in the can -- pretty delicious. I also like those baby peas in the silver label cans -- drain and refrigerate and then eat with a little Best Foods mayo and crackers.

                                                                                                          1. I prefer tuna packed in water over fresh tuna.

                                                                                                            We live near Wise potato chip factory and driving my the smell of fried potato is amazing. Then we travel down the road another 2 miles and there is the Heinz pet food plant. Now that is revolting, especially in the summer. bleck

                                                                                                            1. I will always have a secret love for Chef Boyardee beef raviolis, even though I never indulge in them. I was only allowed to eat them on rare occasions, as a child, and have put them up on a junk food pedestal my entire life.

                                                                                                              I also really love a particular brand of boxed risotto, but I cannot think of the brand.

                                                                                                              Near East rice pilaf has been a favorite since childhood.

                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: burritobelle

                                                                                                                Throughout the various threads and gradually over time since the very dawn of CH there has emerged a clandestine, but steadily growing group of the chosen and enlightened whose united members have each accepted and admitted before all others of the same desire for, consumption of, and belief in their own personal acceptance and joy in consuming CHEF BOYARDEE RAVIOLI.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                  Sam, I grew up with a mother that cooked so my folks didn't buy things like CBR. Consequently, I had to spend my hard-earned allowance on it. And I did. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: fern

                                                                                                                    fern, are you kidding???!! My mother would have died before giving us CBRD! I had to try and take on that sin after leaving home!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                      CBR, I haven't thought of these in decades (so I'm not a secret fan). They were almost like candy, gummy bears maybe, soft and chewy and sweet.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                        Oh Sam, I know from your posts that you come from a family of wonderful cooks! Makes me laugh to think of you trying to get a can of *that* past her. No way, no how! I understand completely.
                                                                                                                        Once we were all in school full-time our mother went back to work and was out of the house every other Saturday. To us kids that was Junk Food Free Day. We could walk to the neighborhood market (or bribe/blackmail the youngest to go) and return home with CB Ravioli, Hostess cupcakes and spice cakes, junk cereals, whatever our scroungy little hearts desired. Mini mini mini ravioli oli oli oli was one of my favorite Saturday treats.
                                                                                                                        Those are funny memories for me. Mom would have fallen over had she known.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                      Used to need a can opener, now it's pop the top and grab a spoon. Ever more convenient and the flavour profile seems not to have changed over the decades, though the sauce appears to have gotten a bit thinner.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mrbozo

                                                                                                                        You guys have to be kidding!! Yuck!

                                                                                                                        1. re: lattelover

                                                                                                                          Well, all I can say is that I don't drink lattes. The joy of this site is shared values combined with different tastes.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                            You're right. I apologize for being judgemental. It is very interesting to see what people like and nobody sould think their tastes etc. are better than another's.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                        I'm actually more fond of the beefaroni and spaghetti and meatballs.

                                                                                                                    3. Kraft mac 'n cheese. I up the butter and cut back on the milk. For a deluxe version I add some browned, drained ground beef and a sprinkle of chile flakes.

                                                                                                                      Smoked canned Estonian sprats. (Latvian product if the first isn't available.)

                                                                                                                      1. frozen waffles. pref. eggo blueberry.

                                                                                                                        1. Vigo paella valenciana. Its a box containing a pouch of seasoned rice and a can of Spanish vegetables and fish. It is pretty good prepared according to the directions but I like to jazz it up a little. Sometimes I add a can of pulpo or mussles, and sometimes I add fresh shrimp and choriso. I think it is one of the best boxed/canned meals I have tasted.

                                                                                                                          1. When I was little my mother served green beans a lot, and I noticed that sometimes they were different and not so great. I asked her once why sometimes the beans weren't squishy and salty and falling apart, and she said because those are canned and these are fresh. I voted for canned every time (sometimes still do).
                                                                                                                            I also prefer canned pineapple to fresh most of the time- I find that fresh is usually so acidic it burns my mouth and I can't taste anything for days.

                                                                                                                            1. Blue Runner Red Beans - creole cream style.

                                                                                                                              1. Manwiches. I can't possibly be the only one who's carried a love of sloppy joes into adulthood!

                                                                                                                                And I'll confess to a love of Palm brand canned corned beef, I stock up whenever I see it. But it's seasoned with chili and/or garlic and imported par avion from NZ so it's still "classy," right?

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                  Sigh - you're not alone. Manwich served over a slice of cheese on a toasted roll - hog heaven.