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Jun 2, 2008 10:12 PM

Your "go to" convenience food is.....

Mine is probably your typical boxed cake mix. I store several in the pantry, all flavors, some probably not even made any longer, odd flavors etc. My favorite is Orange Supreme due to husbands favorite cake being Orange Dreamsicle Cream cake with like frosting. But with other cake mixes, I make several things out of them and then think they're pretty versatile.
Cookies/cupcakes/cakes/quick breads/breads. I have even added a tablespoon or two to crepes I've made or added same amount to add flavor to other things, even sweeten up sauces for over fruit like with sour cream or cream cheese.

Do you have a go to convenience food that you always find yourself reaching in the pantry for? What is it and what do you do with it?

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  1. Even persons who love cooking from basic fresh ingredients have those days when chopping and slicing and blending and simmering just don't appeal but the mouth still wants good flavors. My shortcut to some pretty tasty quick meals comes in a little can with a green label: Herdez Salsa Verde; a tomatillo and chile sauce that can shortcut me to decent guacamole, chile verde, salsas, and any number of spicy Mexican or SE Asian quick dishes. It even makes an acceptable base for a Thai green curry.

    7 Replies
    1. re: fromagina

      I do the herdez verde too, but only in winter when tomatoes are worthless.
      Some of my go tos:
      Jarred Ginger paste
      Jarred Chile garlic sauce
      Cilantro Chutney
      Maesri Curry pastes
      Pre-fried Extra firm tofu from the Asian mkts. Who has time to dry, and then fry tofu during the week?

      1. re: gordeaux

        Sounds like your "hasty cooking" is pretty tasty!

        1. re: fromagina

          Maesri red or green curry, a can o' coconut milk, and a few throw ins...
          Better Thai curry than most of your town's Thai restaurants in 30 minutes, anyone?

          And what's quicker than a good stir fry with real ginger, chile garlic, and sesame oil/oyster sauce, and a little ponzu? I can put most chinese food takeout to shame for about 1/8 the price.

      2. re: fromagina

        the times I've seen that in the market too has been often but just never picked up any of it, hum, herdez, I will try it. yesterday Nigella used a tomato garlic paste in a jar for her morroccan meal but never heard of it so don't know what it is so can't pick it up for later use, oh well.

            1. re: fromagina

    , this looks like it's makeable, thanks for the word "fromaquina" I never heard her say the word and I even played it back and few times and still didn't get it.

        1. Canned beans (depending on the night - garbanzos, pinto, red kidney) - typically thrown on top of a salad for lazy work nights.

          10 Replies
          1. re: jeni1002

            Beans for me too. Canned chickpeas and fava beans drained and rinsed mixed with a chopped roasted red pepper from a jar, minced green, and a glug of EVOO. Valentina hot sauce on the side..

            1. re: jeni1002

              Me, too. B&M beans with mustard and kielbasa. Also avocado, garbanzos and chopped onion with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or maybe a bowl of cereal in the event of a total lame-out.

              1. re: flavrmeistr

                Hahaha - I keep a box of Cheerios in the cupboard for those "lame-out" times! I almost never eat cold cereal, but in a culinary emergency they do just fine.

                1. re: Catskillgirl

                  Same here: although I do eat it for breakfast as well, emergency cereal is always on my counter :) (multiple kinds in order to accommodate spur-of-the-moment combinations).

                  Edited to add: Also, TJ's frozen spinach lasagna, tuna & salmon pouches, TJ's smoked trout and miso soup. DH is also known to store various types of Asian soups in the same pantry.

                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                    Not as lame as Cheerios (kidding! I kid!) but my favorite in-a-pinch go-to food is Black Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits (divine!) with a schmear of plain whipped cream cheese. There's just something about the combination of textures and salty/peppery with cream cheese.

                    1. re: Catskillgirl

                      i eat cold cereal all the time. probably more than anything else.

                      peanut butter crunch is a current favorite, alongside go lean crunch.

                      1. re: beelzebozo

                        I also eat cereal and lots of it too. I also eat peanut butter out of the jar frequently

                  2. re: jeni1002

                    Beans for me too. This may sound gross, but I just rinse the beans from the can and eat them cold.

                    1. re: cakesncookies

                      I don't eat them from a can BUT I love canned black beans drained in GoodHealthGourmet's Black Bean is SO great! You can easily sub kidney beans or pinto beans if you don't have enough black beans.

                      1. re: cakesncookies

                        well, its not much different than rinsing them off and chucking them straight into a salad or salsa. :)

                    2. From the Campbell's website. Beef Taco Skillet.

                      In a skillet, brown a pound of ground beef. Add onion and sautee. Add a can of tomato soup, can of water and a can of salsa. Add some cheese. Add some cut up flour tortillas. Top with remaining cheese.

                      It's quick, easy and more importantly, it's pretty tasty.
                      I add some Tone's Chipotle seasoning to mine.



                      1. Gimme a large can of chopped green chile, a can of pintos and a can of hominy and I can do wonders. A can of chopped clams, a jar of white clam sauce and some pasta, ditto. I keep both in the cupboard at camp*, in case we want to stay longer or I get kicked out of the house (beats the dog house).

                        * Camp is the Maine generic for lakeside cabin. Cottage is a rich person's summer house. Martha Stewart has Edsel Ford's old cottage in Seal Harbor.

                        1. My current favorites are the Archer Farms risottos, mushroom or red pepper. Easy and good with whatever is grilled up on the barbecue.