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Generally scorned products that are madly delicious -- in certain applications

I'm not a total food snob. I'm not, I'm not! But some food products I find beneath consideration, like, at the risk of controversy, Cool Whip. Occasionally, however, some generally scorn-worthy item is crazy delicious with a particular use - like (inspired by a separate thread) Kraft Italian dressing on avocado. On a salad it's just sad. Poured into the well of a halved avocado and it's suddenly a taste revelation. Do any hounds have other generally scorned foodstuffs that shine in the right context?

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  1. Spam in rice balls. Love it. But then, my palate isn't exactly sophisticated.

    1 Reply
    1. Velveeta in fudge or polenta. Hormel beanless chili on polenta. Cool Whip in a no-bake Pumpkin Cheese Cake or no-bake Lemon Cloud Pie.

      23 Replies
        1. re: Antilope

          Don't forget velveeta with rotel tomatoes queso dip-a food staple in college and still a crowd favorite.

          1. re: sherriberry

            absolutely Velveeta dip.

            my most embarrassing is this great recipe for potato salad, in the cookbook Beat That! by Ann Hodgman, who you should read if you haven't. The potato salad has many yummy things in it, like bacon, and a mayo dressing, but also a bit of Miracle Whip (gasp!) Hodgman explains her shock and horror, but that it really does taste right. And it does. Go to a store that doesn't know you, pay in cash, and take some home for this recipe.

            1. re: cocktailhour

              I LOVE that book! I always put a little lemon-pepper in the butter mixture for garlic bread, just like Ann Hodgman tells me to...she's right, it adds that little 'pop'.

              1. re: tonifi

                Kurt's Potato Salad recipe from Beat That! by Ann Hodgman:


                Here's a link to a preview of the cook book Beat That! by Ann Hodgman at Google Books:

                1. re: Antilope

                  Had never heard of Beat That! or of Ann Hodgman, but from these comments, just placed a hold at the library on 4 of her books. Thanks!

              2. re: cocktailhour

                Ditto the Miracle Whip. Have a tiny jar in the fridge, right next to the half-gallon jug of Best Foods....tee hee. I only like it on thick-sliced bologna sandwiches. It is absolutely a carry-over from elementary school.

                1. re: pilotgirl210

                  A family recipe of patty pan squash with bacon, onions, tomato sauce and lots of Velveeta, It has to be Velveeta- no substitutions. Also Miracle Whip does have it's uses in my fridge along with mayo since it does have it's own unique flavor. I prefer it on the after-Thanksgiving, leftover turkey sandwich on white bread, which is probably a throw-back to my childhood as well.

                  1. re: LorenM

                    Yep, turkey sandwiches must have white bread and Miracle Whip, not mayo. It's the law.

                  2. re: pilotgirl210

                    That's hilarious I remember those sandwiches, mine were on Wonder Bread.

                    1. re: pilotgirl210

                      It's taken me 20+ years to lose my taste for Miracle Whip, but I think I finally have ... it was the only thing my mother kept, no mayonnaise at all.

                      Is it me or has Velveeta gotten much more chemically here lately?

                    2. re: cocktailhour

                      oh i love that book. I never made the potato salad though. Was it called "mom-style" potato salad or something like that. I will have to try it, even though I detest miracle whip.

                    3. re: sherriberry

                      A friend of mine makes queso dip with spicy sausage, velveeta and rotel. I could eat it with a spoon. Isn't that awful!? ;D

                      1. re: LauraGrace

                        You could also go totally into the Hall of Shame and add a can of Hormel or Texas Pete's chili sauce without beans.

                        1. re: sherriberry

                          I used to keep a can of Texas Pete around for hot dogs. Last time I did it though the chili tasted so strongly of the can that I couldn't eat it. Alright, I almost couldn't eat it. Haven't bought any since though.

                          My entry would be a nicely seared slice of spam with an egg and cheap American cheese on a potato roll for breakfast sliders. A beloved favorite when tailgating or camping.

                          1. re: laststandchili

                            Not Velveeta, but one of its cousins: jarred Old English as the base for making beer cheese, which, inexplicably, turns out delicious *despite* its base.

                            1. re: pine time

                              My mom makes fabulous crackers using a jar of Old English. And I love the Velveeta dip.....took it to work recently and it was a huge hit.

                              1. re: pine time

                                Old English is also amazing for making crabbies on English muffins.

                          2. re: LauraGrace

                            I'm the same way with the rotel, spicy sausage, and cream cheese dip. 1 can rotel, 1lb browned spicy sausage, and 1 brick of cream cheese. Combine in crock pot on low heat until it combines into a creamy, delicious dip. I can't stop eating it.....and now I really want to go make it.

                          3. re: Antilope

                            I made sort of a take off from that dip, tastes better than chilis dip, that they charge an arm and a leg for. Instead of velveeta (which isn't so cheap these days by the way) I use cream cheese. I got so many requests for that dip and it was 100 degrees out.

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              I'll see your cream cheese, chicklet, and raise you one ingredient:

                              Cream cheese on the bottom, then
                              Hormel Chili, no beans, on that, then
                              top with Velveeta RoTel, and bake 'til bubbly hot.

                              It's just shameful how delicious the stuff is...

                              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                I do the same thing, except I use pepper jack on the top. It is the one and only use for hormel chili, but is it ever great.

                          4. Key lime pie using Sweetened condensed milk, bottled juice and a store bought graham cracker pie shell. It tastes great.

                            Would it be better using a home made pie shell and fresh squeezed key lime juice? Almost certainly.

                            But could you do that in 20 minutes? Almost certainly not and it is still tastes great.

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                              Hank, would you share your recipe for the Key Lime Pie, please. I Googled it but the ones that came up all had cream cheese in them.

                                1. re: Hanky

                                  Mine only calls for 3 egg yolks so that one would be thicker and richer. The recipe is on the bottle of "Nellie and Joes" key lime juice. It used to be on the can of sweetened condensed milk ages ago.

                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                    Thank you both, so much. I have not seen "Nellie and Joes' key lime juice in this area. I will check my can of milk to see if it is on the wrapper.

                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                      I went to the Nellie & Joes website and found the recipe I believe you use. Is this it?

                                      Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie
                                      9" graham cracker pie crust
                                      14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
                                      3 egg yolks (whites not used)
                                      ½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice

                                      Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.

                                      1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                        yep that's it. Hanky's link is the same recipe but it uses 5 egg yolks which would make it richer and add more volume.

                                        Oh, I highly recommend making a raspberry sauce to squirt on the individual slices. I buy a 6 oz tub of raspberries and put them in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water, sugar to taste and some seedless raspberry jam. Heat it all up until the raspberries break down. Sieve out the seeds and store it in a squeeze bottle in the fridge. Makes it even better.

                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                          Thank you so much for verifying the recipe; I plan on trying yours, as well as Hanky's. The raspberry sauce is absolutely on my list of things to prepare, and thank you for the recipe.

                                          1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                            By the way. If you eventually choose to experiment it only works with high acid fruit juices. Something like strawberry juice won't cause it to coagulate. You get soup.

                                            So it will work with lemon juice, lime juice. If you add a little lemon juice, it would probably work with pineapple juice.

                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                              Thanks for this. I would love to try pineapple in the future.

                                              1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                Here's one along the same lines that uses mango, passionfruit and a little lime juice:


                                                1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                  I make this Key Lime Pie recipe frequently, but without the baking (I know, I know: raw eggs, but I do know the hens personally!).

                                                  I also use it exactly as discussed but with a cup of coffee cream and extra lime zest added and pop the mix in my ice cream maker...it is the best ice cream recipe of my vast collection.

                                              2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                Thank you for this, Hank -- I've wanted to try orange for a while! I'm going to try 3 parts orange juice to 1 part lemon. Maybe add some pineapple too.

                                              1. re: NanH

                                                This is almost the exact recipe for my Kentucky relatives' Lemonade Pie. 6 oz of frozen lemonade concentrate, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 1 small tub of Cool Whip, mix and throw in graham cracker pie crust, let set in fridge. So so so so rich and amazing....I can't make it often, because I can't stop eating it when I do!

                                                1. re: emilyjh75

                                                  Here's a recipe that sounds similar, for anyone who might like to try it: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ne...

                                                  1. re: emilyjh75

                                                    cool whip, two containers of lime yogurt, lime zest if you have it - or a spoonful of limeade concentrate. In a graham cracker crust. chill or freeze. Although when I made it I had a leftover box of vanilla wafers & made a crust from that. First tub of cool whip I'd bought in a decade or more.

                                    2. Dream Whip for chocolate cream pie. I wouldn't use it for anything else, but it's how my grandmother made her chocolate cream pie and to my palate, it's the ONLY way they taste right.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        I grew up eating a similar pie as well, and loved it. I saw Dream Whip in the grocery awhile back, and was surprised that it was still being produced, but haven't stopped thinking about that pie. Ours had a graham cracker crust and a layer of cherries (very likely canned pie filling).

                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                          LOL, my husband didn't believe that they still made Dream Whip so I had to show him when we were in Walmart just a couple of weeks ago. My grandma made her chocolate cream pie with a regular pie crust, blind baked - it was just filled with the chocolate/Dream Whip mixture then topped with a dollop of Cool Whip and maybe a maraschino cherry if we were being fancy. If I were to make it now, I'd top it with real cream but the Dream Whip filling would stay the same!

                                        2. re: biondanonima

                                          I buy Campbell's cream of mushroom to make a recipe of my grandmother's too--but for nothing else. (Actually, made with milk, I think it's perfectly good all by itself, but I try to avoid canned soups of all kinds and make from scratch instead.) I find it ironic that a woman who could make the world's lightest yeast rolls without measuring an ingredient was a major consumer of cream of mushroom.

                                        3. Old English spread and canned crab meat. Mix with softened butter and Old Bay, spread on English muffins or nice slices of bread and broil. Cut into slices or wedges for an appetizer. Mom's been making it for years and I never tire of it.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: katecm

                                            That sounds mouthwatering, truly.

                                            1. re: katecm

                                              I have been making this same thing for 20 years, except I use garlic powder instead of Old Bay. It's a throwback to when I couldn't cook without processed ingredients. Even though I'm much more accomplished now and use next to no processed ingredients ever, I do still make this recipe at least a couple times a year... and we still love it.

                                              1. re: katecm

                                                After reading your post, I decided to make a fondue using your recipe. Trouble was, I was mixed up and went looking for pimento cheese and crab! Went to Trader Joe's, bought pimento cheese and frozen shrimp because I started to worry that maybe their canned crab would be less than delicious. I've never used canned crab so didn't know if they're all the same or whatever and began to second guess myself. They had no fresh or frozen crab, so shrimp stood in.
                                                Anyway, once I got home I looked up your post again to refresh my memory and learned that I had the wrong cheese!
                                                So my riff ended up being shrimp that I sauteed with lots of butter, garlic powder, finely diced mild onion. Placed it in the fondue pot with the pimento cheese and added a hit of worcestershire. Sound weird enough?
                                                I liked it, didn't love it, but our guests gobbled it up, with oohs, ahhs, and compliments, so, thank you!

                                                Next time I'll get the ingredients called for and prepare it as your mom does. That sounds delicious! :)

                                                1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                  I'd never thought about doing it as a fondue, but I think it would work! What Mom does is mix the Old English with the can of crab (drained) and a good portion of butter (maybe 4 T?) with a shake of Old Bay, then spreads it on English Muffin halves. Place in freezer. Once frozen, cut into wedges, then broil. The trick is to thoroughly brown the top and get the bottom cooked, but not hard.

                                                  I once decided to make a fancier version, using a TON of gruyere, excellent bread, etc. It wasn't the same.

                                                2. re: katecm

                                                  Oh. My. Freakin' God! I haven't even thought of that snack since 1982 or so (my mom always made them for parties), but just reading your post brought it all back (the smell, the texture, the taste) so clearly that it feels like yesterday. My head's spinning, actually ;) I have to have some now!!!

                                                    1. re: katecm

                                                      awwwh mane. My grandma makes those, and they're INCREDIBLE. i once tried to fancy them up with parsley and chive in the mix, but them on sliced baguette, and put some parm on top. They tasted basically the same but they looked nice enough that I could bring them to a cocktail party without shame.

                                                    2. Jarred pimento cheese. Take fatty ground beef, (70% lean) throw into a fry pan...salt and pepper. Place sliced yellow onions on top, flip over so onions grill into the meat. Spread hamburger buns with jarred pimento cheese, top with med rare cheap burger and devour. You're welcome. :)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. margarine on grilly cheese.
                                                        margarine in baked goods is the spawn of... you know who.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                              Not sure if it's just because our 3 month old decided I should be awake right now and my brain is going haywire, but this exchange cracked me the hell up. Thanks!

                                                        1. Velveeta as 20-25% of the cheese in mac & cheese, just because it improves texture by allowing the real cheeses to blend smoothly with the milk. So it's not for the taste.

                                                          I happen to prefer garlic powder to fresh garlic in some applications, including potatoes au gratin and roast meats/poultry. They do taste different and to me, garlic powder is mellower than fresh garlic, which I usually find too sharp. I most often use Trader Joe's crushed garlic instead of fresh.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            I agree with garlic powder and I'll raise you onion powder which is also a valid ingredient separate from fresh onions. ;-)

                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                              Yah, I concur about dried onion- it has that wonderful toasted flavor.

                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                Yep, I like both onion powder and garlic powder. Not always as a substitute, sometimes as a complement to the fresh ones. Depends. Texture is a big thing. And I completely agree that onion powder has a nice flavor all its own.

                                                              2. re: greygarious

                                                                Yep, I use garlic powder in my mac and cheese. I tried it once with fresh garlic, and it just didn't taste right. When you want the garlic flavor to be just a violin in the violin section, rather than the solo harpsichord, garlic powder is what you want!

                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                  I also add the velveeta to mac and cheese for the same reasons. I often take it to potlucks and once had two people argue for the last noodle.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    ditto, there's nothing wrong with garlic powder! I use both, and as you say it makes the recipe better. Most dishes I crave came from my mom using garlic powder or kitchen bouquet. I know that she used kb in her pepper steak over rice or mashed potatoes, and I'd love some right now.

                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                      I sprinkle a little Ranch dressing mix into my mac and cheese.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                        I agree. I use the CI recipe for stovetop mac'n'cheese from the ORIGINAL The Best Recipe....it's not in the new one. It uses egg and evaporated milk and I usually add part American Cheese to the rest of the sharp cheddar. Gives an incredibly creamy sauce.

                                                                      2. Maybe we should try to list "scorned" products since maybe there isn't universal agreement? By listing these, I'm not saying I scorn any or all of them, by I have seen them scorned in messages.

                                                                        Cool Whip, Velveeta cheese, margarine, garlic powder, onion powder, boxed macaroni and cheese, Spam, Dream Whip topping, canned biscuits, Bisquick, canned cranberry sauce, canned cream of mushroom soup, canned chili con carne, canned spaghetti, instant coffee powder, powdered instant iced tea, powdered artificial lemonade, canned or jarred gravy, packets of instant gravy, liquid smoke, bottled lemon or lime juice, boxed cake mix, boxed muffin mix, boxed brownie mix, canned fruit (peaches, pears, fruit cocktail), canned frosting, distilled white vinegar, bottled flavored coffee creamer, dry coffee creamer, dehydrated onions, canned beans, canned vegetables (peas, string beans, corn, beets, etc), aerosol canned cheese.

                                                                        Any more?

                                                                        35 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                          I can combine two of those! An emergency cake is: one box devil's food cake, one can of cherry pie filling, one egg, one teaspoon vanilla. I've made it since I was a teenager, and though it now tastes much sweeter to me than my favorite chocolate cakes, the cherry flavor makes up for it. It's also super-moist, so tends to be very popular.

                                                                          1. re: katecm

                                                                            I love that chocolate cherry dump cake. I may need to make one. :)

                                                                          2. re: Antilope

                                                                            Let me see.. what on that list isn't in my pantry?.......bottled flavored coffee creamer, dehydrated onions, aerosol canned cheese, canned chili con carne, canned spaghetti, Dream Whip topping, margarine, powdered artificial lemonade, canned or jarred gravy and boxed muffin mix.

                                                                            Oh heck... I did better than I thought... guess I'm one of them gourmets.

                                                                            I really like canned biscuits. I have moved from garlic powder to granulated garlic. Does that count? I also have fresh garlic and jarred minced garlic. I have never had anything but compliments from my boxed brownie mix ( the one with the chocolate syrup). I like the cake style where you use the extra egg.

                                                                            I use the instant coffee powder in chocolate recipes.

                                                                            Home made mac and cheese just doesn't taste like the defacto standard that we all grew up with (Kraft macaroni and cheese). There is just something not right about using real cheese.

                                                                            I still have some packets of instant gravy but they are pretty old. I haven't used it since I discovered "Better than Bouillon" beef and chicken base.

                                                                            I don't generally use cream of mushroom soup but I do use Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup.

                                                                            I guess you folks won't be coming for dinner at my house. I, recently, found out from an article on Chowhound that I'm a bad cook too. Oh well. :)

                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                              The only items on the list that I really dislike are canned biscuits (they taste of too much baking powder and metalic), Dream whip (the one time I tasted it I didn't like the chalky taste), powdered instant tea (just tastes bad), powdered artificial lemonade (just tastes bad), and aerosol canned cheese (too salty and artificial cheese taste). Everything else on my list, I wouldn't hesitate to buy and use as needed.

                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                Well I was trying to be humorous not combative. However, spaghettios are pretty bad.

                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                  I would only use spaghettios as a survival food, if you call that surviving. ;-)

                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                    Growing up, spaghettios were often lunch. (my mom, not the greatest or healthiest minded cook). So now, it's still one of my favorite nostalgia foods. When I'm sick I'll often grab a can. I can't say I love the taste of them, but it's good enough, and for me, the perfect emotional fix for whatever ails me.

                                                                                    1. re: mickeygee

                                                                                      We were raised on Chef Boyardee spaghetti, maybe that's why I didn't like Spaghettios. They do taste different.

                                                                              2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                Homemade mac 'n' cheese and Kraft are definitely two different foods and I vastly prefer the homemade. However--and this is really bad--I LOVE canned corned beef hash! Which is pretty ridiculous, considering I am a foodie flexitarian who buys most of her meat from local farms. But that canned hash just brings back memories of greasy spoon diner breakfasts and I can't quite give it up. I actually like it better than homemade hash. So a couple times a year, I indulge. Every time I open a can, someone near me complains that it smells like dog food. Which it pretty much is.

                                                                                1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                                                                  Yep, it does kinda smell like dog food, until you get it browning in the pan... Mary Kitchen lives in my pantry for the occasional taste tryst. She's right there next to the dried beef for creaming, and the little can of Vienna sausage for twice-yearly Pigs-In-The-Blanket with white sauce, one of the very first things I learned to "cook" myself as a child, after various simple egg dishes. And about the only thing I'll use those metallic tasting biscuits in a tube for.

                                                                                    1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                                                                      I love it, too, and always eat it camping.

                                                                                      1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                                                                        Brown some in a frying pan in a little butter then pour beaten eggs over it to make an omelet. Not dogfoody at all.

                                                                                    2. re: Antilope

                                                                                      You have a long list of products many of which I would not consider them to be scorned at all.

                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                        anyone who can't use white vinegar ought not to be cooking. it has its place.
                                                                                        Powdered Milk
                                                                                        French Lemonade

                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                          I would gladly live in a world where none of the items on that list existed. While I admit that I use white vinegar to make hot sauces, it's a sacrifice I would make for the greater good. (I actually had to look up Dream Whip. I'm not quite sure what it's purpose is if you still have to beat it together with milk. How's that different from actually whipping cream?)

                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                            You can put dream whip on the bumper of a car in the evening.... and it will still be there the next day. That's the major difference... other than the whole taste thing. :)

                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                              I whipped many a batch of Dream Whip in my younger days. We used it as a base for cake frosting, but I can't remember how we did it. Sometimes my mom would whip it up and use it in a fruit salad. She did love fruit salads! Her fruit salads generally started with a can of fruit cocktail

                                                                                            2. re: Antilope

                                                                                              I love beets in any form and particularly pickled beets....even in salads. But I find its cheapest and easiest to buy a can of beets; drain (I drink the juice; told you I love beets!) and add my own rice vinegar...perfect sweet/sour combo....

                                                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                We know... easy to tell when you grin and your purple teeth show ;P

                                                                                                I adore pickled beets, but they used to be much better years ago. So I buy plain and pickle them myself. Takes but a couple of minutes and they taste so yummy. But I've always used cider vinegar, not rice, hmm... that could be a tasty switch.

                                                                                                Oh and I save the juice when I've eaten all the beets (about 3 minutes later) and drop peeled hardboiled eggs into it. YUM!

                                                                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                  My sister in law used to take canned beets and put them and the juice in a mason jar and add spices and it was great. Not sure what she did with it but I remember liking it.

                                                                                                2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                  great list - i like many of the above. They all have a use -- like instant coffee powder in "molasses bars" cake (like a gingerbread that looks like a brownie) -- in think it's either in the Better Homes & Gardens vintage versions --- or maybe in the Joy of Cooking vintage versions.

                                                                                                  ps ADD "instant oats" -- need those for Better Homes & Gardens circa 1960 edition "refrig oatmeal cookies" (ie the type you roll in wax paper and then slice up to bake)

                                                                                                  maybe add
                                                                                                  1. cake mix
                                                                                                  2. rotisserie chicken
                                                                                                  3. green giant frozen vegetables in micro butter pouches! Holiday would not be same w/o
                                                                                                  to the list
                                                                                                  what a fun topic

                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                    I'm a bit of a food purist and I see nothing wrong with canned beans. The kind that I get are nothing but beans, water, and a little salt, nothing crazy. The planning ahead required to make bean dishes from dried, soaked beans is simply not always possible. With canned beans, I can make relatively quick, cheap, spur-of-the-moment meals that are usually quite healthy and not full of preservatives and artificial crap. I'd be nowhere without them!

                                                                                                    1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                                                                                      I agree. I usually buy the low sodium variety so I can add my own salt to taste. Canned garbanzo beans (chick peas) are the basis for my husband's delicious chana masala. We always keep a few cans in the house, and if we are hungry and need a meal fast he can whip it up in about ten minutes flat...and its delicious!

                                                                                                      1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                        Mmmm...I love chana masala and I make it with canned garbanzos also. Dried, soaked chickpeas take absolutely FOREVER to cook. It just can't be done more than once in a while. I'm eating homemade refried beans made from canned beans right now. :-) Just the drained beans, added to some minced garlic and jalapenos sauteed in a little of the bacon fat I save in a jar in the fridge, then simmered in some water and mashed. With corn tortillas and fresh cabbage salad. Yum!

                                                                                                        1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                          for the benefit of those of us outside of the family and/or with with poor memories (as I am sure I have seen J make it), can you post the chana masala recipe?

                                                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                            No recipe, really....take about half an onion and a garlic clove and finely chop and saute until onion is limp (onion is optional and not always added), add two cans of garbanzos (for four servings), salt to taste (I use the no-sodium added version), a finely chopped tomato, a couple of twists of black pepper, a jalapeno seeded and chopped (or if you prefer you can use one or two dried red chilis, crushed...or both), a touch of raw sugar (Jerry uses piloncillo instead of the Indian raw sugar which is hard to find; plenty of the former in Mexican markets around here), maybe a tablespoon of ground cumin, about a teaspoon of tumeric, a dash of coriander powder, and a tsp or so of fresh grated ginger. Let simmer about 10 minutes and adjust seasonings...We add the liquid from the can and sometimes a little extra water because we like it a little soupy...but that's a personal preference....garnish with chopped chilantro and squeeze a little lime on top before serving...I agree that flour tortillas and cabbage salad go great with this....so does rice!

                                                                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                Wow, soooo similar to mine. I like to smash some of it, though, so there's a variety of texture to the beans. We eat it with naan and my homemade (Madhur Jaffrey recipe) tomato chutney, which is uber-garlicky.

                                                                                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                  This misplaced indian who taught herself to cook everything but indian food thanks you for this oh so easy recipe. I have everything but the coriander powder at home and there isn't an indian grocery in town. How important to the recipe is it? Can it possibly be found at a mexican market, and if so what is it called?

                                                                                                                  I ate very little indian food growing up and never felt the desire to learn how to make it, but occasionally crave a few dishes. Channa masala is one of them, so I'm going to have to try this out sometime soon!

                                                                                                                  1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                    Coriander powder and/or Coriander seed can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets (since some folks use it in baking). I'm pretty sure McCormick sells it...so its pretty common. Usually no Indian market needed to get it. That being said, the dish will be fine without it......maybe add a pinch more cumin...

                                                                                                                    1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                      As one misplaced Indian to another, and one who dislikes packaged masalas, I do find the packs chana masala [MDH, Shan] etc. very useful and easily available at many regular grocery stores. They are multi-purpose too, and can be used in many other dishes, e.g. okra, and even sprinkled onto chicken or fish. The basic coriander and cumin is very finely ground, much finer than my coffee grinder can reduce whole seeds to. A small packet keeps fresh in a glass jar, in the fridge or freezer for a long time.

                                                                                                                      A fair chana masala is had from this spice mix and by following the directions as described in posts above: an onion/garlic saute, or if you don't eat onions/garlic,a ginger/green chili crush, followed by some crushed tomatoes, fresh or canned, reduce, then add a bit of turmeric and chana masala to taste, cook for a short while, add canned chickpeas, with or without liquid. Gently simmer, and mash in some. Now you have the choice of adding a tiny bit of half & half or light cream to balance the flavors, even out the sharp edges. Then add chopped cilantro, or use Garden Gourmet cilantro in a tube. Very useful, and you are not left with rotting bunches.

                                                                                                                      You can adjust the salt/sweet/tart/aromatic balance with pinches from a packet of Mint Chutney [Podina Chutney] (MDH) or MDH Garam Masala, which is a raw Punjabi style, or both. Be very judicious, to not overwhelm the chickpea taste. Serve with a slice of fresh lime, and whatever salad you please. Heat tortillas [whole wheat until puffed], or pita bread, or chapatis.

                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                              I keep a can of pears in light syrup in the refrigerator; put it into a blender with cold ginger ale and I get a refreshing fruit drink.
                                                                                                              Canned cranberry sauce perks up chicken. I have a small freezer.
                                                                                                              Canned cream of mushroom soup and the tired wilted broccoli I bought but left too long in the refrigerator makes a good soup.
                                                                                                              I cook beans about 4 times a year so canned it is.
                                                                                                              Onion powder is handy because it is very hard to purchase 1 or 2 small onions and the big ones start to sprout before I get to them.
                                                                                                              Lemon juice because I only need a little at a time.

                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                I am totally guilty of the powdered instant iced tea, and the boxed cake mix. It has saved my butt in emergencies where I have attempted a new recipe right before needing to bring it somewhere, only to have it fail!

                                                                                                              2. well, I was going to mention the condensed milk key lime pie, but someone beat me to it. I guess my claim to shame these days, would be the batter blaster spray pancake stuff my old man and I use. Hey! The kids are grown, we don't eat much, and a couple of squirts from that pressurized can saves us from throwing out a quart of batter every Sunday. We also drink Mimosas with our blasted pancakes. My mom has disowned us for our hedonistic behavior.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                  pancakes freeze well.why cook every time?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                    Because there is only so much room in the freezer? And not everyone likes how they taste after being frozen? I use to throw my extra pancakes/waffles in the freezer and I would forget about them. Now I really try to cut down the recipe when ever I make pancakes or waffles for the 2 of us, but I always seem to have extra batter. I end up making extra pancakes/waffles for us to munch on all day.

                                                                                                                    I've always wanted to try those spray pancakes. They look like fun.

                                                                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                      ... and not everyone keeps their house at sub-80 degree temperatures in the summertime. My kitchen was at 90 degrees yesterday. ;-)

                                                                                                                      your mileage is allowed to vary, my dear.

                                                                                                                      I provide suggestion in case they help, not to force my opinions on everybody else.

                                                                                                                2. Maggi seasoning. It used to be a staple on EVERY restaurant table in Germany, and it is basically liquid salt. Vile, vile, vile.

                                                                                                                  Unless! you use a few drops in marinade for beef, particularly for stir-fries -- it adds depth & umami.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    Maggi Seasoning- oooh, mommy! The trick is to use only a few drops, and it becomes a great enhancer for soups, stews, sauces. Secret ingredient for the world's best gravy. Again, only a couple drops. Maggi butter is heaven on steaks. But health food it's not.

                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      I have a bottle of that - it's used in Vietnamese food quite a bit.

                                                                                                                    2. Lipton Onion Soup Mix. I make the meatloaf recipe on the box except I replace the breadcrumbs with crushed Townhouse Crackers. I recently took this meatloaf to a friend with a new baby. She raved over how good it tasted.

                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: suburban_mom

                                                                                                                        I use the Lipton Onion Soup Mix in a brisket recipe that, while it might sound bad, is really good (or maybe that's just because I've been eating it since I was a kid).

                                                                                                                        Brisket braised with carrots (used to use bagged baby, but now skeeved by those), new potatoes (again, I used to use canned), and the braising liquid is comprised of: Lipton onion soup mix, a can of whole berry cranberry sauce, and enough water to bring the liquid to the correct point on the meat. Seriously, this is good.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DMW

                                                                                                                          I have a different brisket recipe which uses a Spatini Spaghetti Sauce packet and a can of coke. It's delicious.

                                                                                                                          And I love the baked chicken recipe with a can of whole berrry cranberry sauce, a packet of lipton onion soup mix, and a bottle of french (damn them for discontinuing catalina!) dressing.

                                                                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                            Why do you believe Kraft discontinued Catalina?

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                              They did, but then they brought back a dressing with the same name but it really isn't the same product as the original.

                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                I remember when they changed the bottles but I did not realize they changed the contents. About 6 or 7 years ago we switched to Western with blue cheese bits, then they discontinued that product so we switched to Western/Wishbone (they are the same product) which I preferred over Catalina. I don't know if I would have preferred it over the original Catina or not. I assumed my tastes changed since I hadn't eaten it in years. Lately, we have taken to making homemade 'French' dressing.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  I haven't eaten it on a salad in years. I just know that it wasn't quite the same in this recipe.

                                                                                                                                2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                  Thank you! I bought a bottle some time ago as it used to be my favorite dressing and couldn't stand it! Now I know why. I finally realized I wasn't going to use it and just tossed the bottle. I want my old catalina (the variety that had fake bacon bits in it) back please??? Gourds that was good over a big ole hunk of iceberg and some cucumbers.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                                    I haven't bought Catalina for 15 or 20 years. Here's the copycat I use when I want something like the Catalina I remember:

                                                                                                                                    Kraft Catalina Dressing copycat


                                                                                                                                    2/3 cup ketchup
                                                                                                                                    3/4 cup white granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup white wine vinegar
                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup vegetable oil
                                                                                                                                    1 small onion, quartered
                                                                                                                                    2 teaspoons paprika
                                                                                                                                    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


                                                                                                                                    Prepare the dressing by combining the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, oil, onion, paprika and Worcestershire sauce in a blender or food processor. Blend until the onion is well chopped. Chill and serve.

                                                                                                                                    Makes 3 cups

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                      Thank you Antilope! That sounds wonderful and it makes enough to use some in the chicken recipe and the rest on a salad .

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                        Thanks Antilope- this is great on salad with a big scoop of cottage cheese!

                                                                                                                            2. re: suburban_mom

                                                                                                                              I used to use Lipton Onion Soup Mix as a "finishing salt" on salad.

                                                                                                                            3. Well, only a few of those things are kept in my cupboard as staples. I like to keep Bisquick to use the next day when I heat up either left over beef or chicken soup I made, and make dumplings in it. I've made it with my own dumplings before, but I just like the Bisquick. I often stir in minced fresh herbs into the dumplings before putting them in the boiling soup. I do keep canned beans, I cannot eat most meats, and they are my go to protein, and sometimes I need some quickly. I even liked baked beans for breakfast, with toast, fried eggs, and mushrooms.

                                                                                                                              I don't eat it anymore because it's too salty for me, but I used to always make a fruited pork roast in the slow cooker with a can of whole cranberry sauce, packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix, and dried apricots. I would put it in the crockpot on my 12.5 work days, this way the ex had food when he got in.

                                                                                                                              I also kept the Jiffy Muffin Mix, the small box on hand. If I had extra people to feed on a night I didn't have much, I would make a batch quick and add fresh chopped herbs, and grated cheese to make a savory muffin to eat with our dinner. Or if a friend popped in for tea, I would do a fruit muffin quickly.

                                                                                                                              1. Today I bought a bottle of liquid smoke. I am going to make smoked salt with it by spreading some Morton's kosher salt on a sheet pan and sprinklng it with the liquid smoke. Then I'll dry it out on the gas grill. I could only find smoked Fleur de sel for about $18/pound at the store. I use smoked salt in meat rubs and it is also good to season other foods like burgers and chilli where I don't always want all of the spices that go into the rub.

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  I use liquid smoke when I don't want to mess with the bbq or a smoker. You know when it is 100 degrees with 60 % humidity? it is smoke filtered by water. How bad can that be? It is the flavor of smoke.

                                                                                                                                  By the way, you can physically smoke kosher salt in a smoker in a tray. Put one in while you are smoking something else. It won't burn. It is a rock. Lots of people smoke all kinds of spices. Think how good a bbq rub would be made with smoked salt, smoked chili powder, smoked paprika and smoked... well you get the idea.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                    The salt I am going to use has already been smoked in our smoker at our cabin. My brother calls it 'dirty salt' because it does get a little ash mixed in. It is a little more subtle smoke flavor than I was hoping for.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    Just don't let the bottle break- my apartment smelled like a house fire for months.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                      Your reply is interesting considering what happened on Saturday, September 3rd. I never did use the liquid smoke to make smoked salt. On Saturday I had some country style pork ribs in the refrigerator that either needed to be repackaged and frozen or cooked. I did not wish to mess with the smoker so i browned them and put them in a slowcooker with some onions. I then opened the liquid smoke and put a few drops in. I noticed the smell of the smoke and it smelled just like a campfire. About 10 minutes later I heard a siren outside and saw several squad cars racing down the street out the back porch window. The stopped at my neighbors house across the street. They were gone and about 40 minutes later, so was their house. It was a 4-unit townhouse building. What is left of the two units on the north will be torn down and replaced, the other two will be gutted and their interiors will be rebuilt. The neighborhood smelled just like that liquid smoke for about three days.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                      My mom used to make a great crockpot dish of beans and ground beef, and it had liquid smoke in it. Whenever I smell it - and yes, I do keep a bottle in the pantry - it reminds me of that tasty dish. It was called something like campfire beans, and it was from the booklet that came with the pot ca. 1970something.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                                                                                        My mother used to call those Calico Beans.

                                                                                                                                    3. MSG for meatballs, sauces, marinades, dumpling fillings, etc.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                        MSG may be bad for you or whatever people object to about it but it is a flavor enhancer like salt and sugar.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                            MSG is like sausage, you don't want to be around when it's being made. About 20 years ago there was a large Accent plant just south of the downtown area in San Jose, CA. It was open from about the mid-1960's through the mid-1980's For about a mile or two around the plant there was an unappealing scorched smell (like I don't know, scorched potato peels). You almost wanted to hold your breath everytime you drove through the area.

                                                                                                                                        1. While we're baring our souls here, so to speak, I'm eating a (small) bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos, madly delicious and the application is, they go well with beer.

                                                                                                                                          I noticed a mention of Lipton Onion Soup Mix upthread, great for meatloaf or even pot roast seasoning.

                                                                                                                                          Thanks and cheers.

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                            Oh, honey, there is no shame in those Doritos.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                There's only shame in not sharing ;)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mlou72

                                                                                                                                                  "sharing" Oh I'll do that, no issue there. Then I'd buy the BIG bag.

                                                                                                                                                  My local bodega recently had "3rd Degree Burn Doritos" on the shelves, which I passed on, then decided to try, but they haven't restocked them. Perhaps they're injured someone.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                I prefer the cooler ranch type myself. :-P It's really the only quick shop, junky snack food that can tempt me but tempt me it does.

                                                                                                                                            1. Not mine per se, but: My very Grumpy Aunt Romy makes a macaroni/cheese salad with a package of Kraft mixed with good mayonnaise, thawed frozen peas, diced ham, and diced sharp white cheddar. You could make it with something else - real cheese sauce, even velveeta, and the results, while maybe even better would not be at all right. We call this recipe "Aunt Romy's Mac and Cheese Salad from a box, With all that Stuff in it." It's good.
                                                                                                                                              Oh, and I didn't make this but I had a spam musubi in Berkeley along with one made of (gasp) duck confit, and guess which one won? And I'm not even a spamonista!

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                Love it., the mac and cheese salad with the stuff in it, that is.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                  Mamachef, do you prepare the Kraft mac & cheese following the package directions or do you just cook the macaroni and use the dry powder for the salad? Is this supposed to be a cold dish? I'm a bit confused.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                                                                                    Very Grumpy Aunt Romy made the recipe proper, as a base. Then she added in the other stuff. The mayonnaise was key. It is definitely, surely a cold dish.

                                                                                                                                                2. I will also add boxed cake mix. I often doctor these up. Currently, I have in the oven a pineapple upside down cake made w/ box yellow cake. I put brown sugar and butter in the bottom of two round cake pans and put them in oven @350 for 5 min. Removed from oven and put on pineapple slices. In meantime, used box mix according to directions, but subbing 1/3 cup of pineapple juice for the water, added finely chopped pineapple and poured over slices. Bake about 25 min, cool for 10 min and turn onto plate. The ooey gooey stuff will spill over the sides and harden a bit. Yummy!

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sherriberry

                                                                                                                                                    My cake is similar: I sub pineapple juice for the water in the recipe, then add rum if there's not enough juice. I swear, this is one of the dishes I make that people rave the most about-it's the requested birthday cake for several friends.

                                                                                                                                                  2. oh- i forgot to add, my mom used to make a "black forest cake" with choc cake mix, then layer it with DREAM WHIP (had to be dream whip) mixed somehow w/ choc pudding (probaby instant) and then cherry pie filling in middle ... can't go wrong --- decorate with choc shavings, everyone loves it!

                                                                                                                                                    i kept a vintage cookbook (very slim book) that one was able to "purchase" for X number of Jello box tops plus S & H -- those were the days. I love the "tilt top pudding" (jello and dream whip layers) -- the funny thing is that one had to have a fridge that had wire rack shelves -- can't do this recipe now (i put a cooling rack on my glass shelves now -- then it works)

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                                      Had forgotten about those tilt-top-puddings--thanks for the memories! Used to think those were sooooo pretty (hey, I was maybe 9 at the time) :)

                                                                                                                                                    2. My vice also involves salad dressing--Brianna's cheddar chipotle dressing to be exact. Sometimes I just want a big romaine salad with crumpled bacon, shredded sharp cheddar, and that dressing. Usually I'm all about the homemade vinaigrettes and lots of different types of greens. But once in a while...

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                                                                                                                                        That's a pretty high-end dressing, though -- not something like Kraft Italian or Green Goddess or (gasp!) ranch.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                                                                                                                          lol. Well, I like the ranch once in a while too...on a baked potato, also with some cheddar and bacon. Bacon, cheddar, and ranch...truly divine...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                                                                                                                            Ooooooohhhhh, Green Goddess... the flavor of my childhood salads!

                                                                                                                                                            And listen, Ranch made from the packets is SUPER good. No shame. I hauled ten boxes of Hidden Valley Ranch packets to Australia on my last trip!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                              Yep, better than any Ranch out of a bottle. Takes me right back to being ten again.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I've always made my own chili with lean ground beef, chili powder, cumin, salt, onions, canned tomato sauce, canned chipotles in adobo sauce, diced jalapenos, dark beer, and a little baker's chocolate, and it comes out pretty well.

                                                                                                                                                          However, I have recently discovered Texas Pete's canned chili sauce, which is PERFECT for hot dogs. I love it! I imagine other canned beanless chilis would be equally good on hot dogs in a way that my homemade chili just isn't. Now I fantasize about pouring Texas Pete's over spaghetti or even prepared Kraft-style mac and cheese!

                                                                                                                                                          1. After all these confessions, are we gonna have to turn in our chowhound membership badges, our official chowhound beanie copter hats and forget the secret handshake?

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                              Now I kind of want to make a chowhound beanie copter hat.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                would that be from canned beanies??

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                  Is *that* why no one's showed me the secret handshake ...

                                                                                                                                                                2. I just came across one more product I am sure that foodies will scorn, but I always have on hand because I like it, and I keep it for quick curries. S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix. Sorry, but true. I was the first 'chicken curry' I ever had, and it was at my ex boyfriend's parents home. His mom was Japanese and his father was American - Irish. She would make a mean macaroni and cheese, and I also loves the chicken curry that she made with the sauce mix. I was shocked when over 20 years later a girl who worked for me, asked me if I would like to try her chicken curry, and I said YEAH! so she brought it in for lunch the next day, as soon as I smelled it, I thought know way???? Then when I tasted it, it brought me back 20+ years. I went running out there and asked her how she made it. She told me about the S&B and that she had bought it the last time she was at the PX, well then it had made sense, because my ex boyfriends father was also retired army and they had shopped at the PX as well.

                                                                                                                                                                  I think it's sort of like a comfort food to me. It brings back good memories with each bite. Well, maybe some are bittersweet. :)

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, I totally use this! So easy and I really like it :-)

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't know if frozen meatballs are generally scorned or just scorned by my husband, but I will admit to using them from time to time in a pinch, with delicious results. I buy a Kroger brand of Italian meatballs that are pretty decent. I make a sweet and sour meatball recipe where the meatballs marinate in the sweet and sour sauce all day in a slow cooker. I just don't see that I gain much in flavor or result by handmaking the meatballs.

                                                                                                                                                                    On Saturday, we went to a Southwestern themed party and I took meatballs with romesco sauce that I had just learned to make while in Santa Fe. For the sauce, I made my own breadcrumbs, roasted my tomatoes and red peppers, toasted the hazelnuts and almonds, used parsley out of my garden and prepared it all in a mini-processor because we lost the food processor part of our cuisinart someplace in this house. I decided to make my life easier and buy meatballs already made. Didn't think it was a big deal since the romesco sauce is really what made the dish. You would have thought I was trying to sneak bloody meat into a vegetarian dish for all the stink my husband made. Sheesh.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I really like salad cream (it's the British equivalent of Miracle Whip I think) - don't have it very often but it's really good on a fishfinger sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                        Salad cream is a little thinner in texture, IIRC, slightly more "pourable" than Miracle Whip, but the taste is quite similar. Quite good on fish sandwiches, you're right.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                          That makes more sense... i had always assumed Miracle Whip was sweet, along the lines of Angel Delight. Anyway, shouldn't the fish fingers themselves be on the list!? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                                                            The last jar of Miracle Whip I had was so sweet it grossed me out. I'm over it after preferring it to regular mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                            I think the propeller hats should have shiny blades that look like the blades from a blender or food processor.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow. you just flashed me back to the year I spent in London with my grandparents when I was 10. I grew up in Thailand and my mom made most of our food frm scratch so I was fascinated by these perfectly rectangular fish fingers. I guess at some point I must have said I liked them because after that I seemed to be eating them All. The. Time. I was so glad when that year was over and I went back to my parents and real food! So what I'm saying is yes, they should most definately be on the list!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. A few additions:

                                                                                                                                                                            Onion powder, just a pinch, makes for a better chicken or tuna salad.
                                                                                                                                                                            Mayo can be changed to Miracle Whip (loaves and fishes department?) by stirring in equal amounts of sugar and vinegar, maybe a teaspoon of each to a cup of mayo. This will allow one to avoid the potential embarrassment of having MW found in one's fridge.
                                                                                                                                                                            And what about that dessert made with Famous Chocolate Wafers nd whipped cream. (And I'm sure somebody has used Dream Whip for it.)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Jello pudding, the kind you have to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                Jello pudding . . . the kind you don't cook. In my defense, if one substitutes one quarter, or even half, of the milk with sour cream, and beat it for a few minutes longer, the resulting product is a very thick and tangy pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                And yes, I know how to make pudding from scratch, but not in five minutes without breaking a sweat when my apartment is ninety degrees by eleven in the morning and I've just had dental surgery.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                  I like Jello instant pudding, but I also have made homemade pudding in the microwave. Just use a large enough dish that it doesn't overflow. Don't ask me how I know. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                    Vanilla Jello pudding in a keebler graham cracker crust with fresh seasonal berries on top makes a very good, quick, don't-heat-up-the-kitchen dessert in the summer!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Southern Mills Instant Country Gravy Mix. Not only is it good on biscuits, toast, french fries, and chicken fingers, but I've been known to stir it into potato soup and chicken pot pie when I'm in a hurry. The kids ask for the instant gravy over biscuits at least once a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hippioflov

                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you mean Southeastern mills in a beige package w/ pic of a mill on front? I have some in my pantryThe peppered gravy)-handy for those nights when hubby comes home starving and grumpy. I can have a plate of gravy over toast in front of him in minutes and he is happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sherriberry

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep! Sorry for the confusion. I keep some handy for just those emergencies! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: hippioflov

                                                                                                                                                                                      While I don't make it often, that gravy mix is even better with browned sausage when having biscuits and gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. A great easy and quick dinner. Fry cubed spam with chopped onions and green pepper in butter then continue with the directions for Ricearoni fried rice. When done add some scrambled egg bits. Taste great. Two scorned ingredients in one recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jesmyra

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yep... you are definitely going to have to turn in your official chowhound beanie copter hat for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jesmyra

                                                                                                                                                                                          My theory is that over 90% of people that 'scorn' Spam have never eaten Spam. We used to eat the Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice blend until we became more concerned about sodium in processed foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            ... yeah, i'm one of those. in all fairness, i'm also Jewish. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried it again after not having it for probably 30 years, after reading an ode to Spam somewhere here. OMG was it awful, and nothing like it was last time I had it, I swear.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                Growing up Kosher...spam was off the radar in our house.....later on things relaxed and we ventured out to many different traife items...(non-kosher)....Spam was never one of them...why?...my dad who was in the air force in WW 2...said he had enough spam to klast a lifetime,,,,,he would never even let us taste it....Well when I was about 16...I tased some at a friends house....My dad was right....but I never told him so....about 35 years later I thhought I would try it, perhaps my taste buds changed...they did...it is not that bad fried, and served sushi style with sushi rice and wasabi sauce....

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                                                  As a child, I loved it cold as well as fried. When I bought it recently, fried is how I tried it, and I could not believe a) the fat content and b) the strong chemical taste. No can do ... but I really think the 'recipe' has changed in the years since I had it last.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We actually don't eat Spam all that much, I suppose once every couple of years. Spam is a homegrown product for us in Minnesota, however, so I sometimes feel a slight need to defend it just a little.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The only way I'll eat it is if it's sliced and fried then either eaten with a bun or as a breakfast meat with eggs, hashbrowns, and toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  By the way, I have two recipes/food preparations that my mother used to make using canned cream of mushroom soup. We always buy the low sodium, low fat version and I've never actually prepared and eaten it as soup buy I really like the two dishes and not only for nostalgic reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. 1. Wonder Bread. 2. Cheese Whiz. 3. Canned asparagus.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Slather bread with 'cheese', roll around stalk of asparagus. Slice into little rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Lost you job? didn't get invited to the party? kids didn't call on your birthday? just make up a big stack of these and you will be healed!

                                                                                                                                                                                              And, for the record, I did try making them with my very own, grown-from-seed fresh from the garden asparagus, carefully 'blanched'...just didn't work at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ooh, one of our treasured-family-tradition trashy apps is just like this: heavily buttered white bread spread with cream cheese or Cheez Whiz, wrapped around asparagus, cheese side in. Bake until crispy, golden, and oozing cheese. Mmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Ok, I have to confess a double shame. I've created a from scratch clone recipe for boxed Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. But no, that wasn't bad enough. I've also create a clone of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix that uses Bisquick. Oh the shame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix copycat Recipe (from scratch)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Copycat Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix using Bisquick

                                                                                                                                                                                                This recipe is equal to a 8.5 ounce box
                                                                                                                                                                                                of Jiffy corn muffin mix. When another recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                calls for a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, use
                                                                                                                                                                                                the mixed dry ingredients from this recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                as a substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Corn Muffin Mix (equal to 8.5 oz box


                                                                                                                                                                                                2/3 cup Bisquick
                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mix well with whisk. Use mixture in other recipes
                                                                                                                                                                                                calling for a box of corn muffin mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                To make corn muffins:

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mix above dry mix with;

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 egg
                                                                                                                                                                                                1/3 cup milk

                                                                                                                                                                                                Fill standard muffin cups 1/2 full. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Makes 6 corn muffins

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But even the two transgressions above weren't bad enough, I also created a from scratch copycat Bisquick. I'll leave now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Original Bisquick Baking Mix Copycat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  6 cups all purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Tablespoons baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon canola oil

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whisk dry ingredients together. Mix well.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Using an electric mixer, slowly stir in
                                                                                                                                                                                                  canola oil. Mix until all lumps are gone
                                                                                                                                                                                                  and mixture is a uniform texture - about
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Store in an airtight container.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Use as an exact substitute for Bisquick
                                                                                                                                                                                                  in recipes. Original Bisquick does not
                                                                                                                                                                                                  contain powdered milk. Neither does this
                                                                                                                                                                                                  copycat recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I don't know that mayonnaise should be scorned, exactly, but it has always made me squeamish. My boyfriend spreads a layer of mayonnaise on his amazing homemade garlic toast, though, right before he puts it in the oven. It turns into this delicious crispy topping that seals in the moist garlic butter. I've started doing it myself it's so good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I prefer Coffee Mate above all other cream sources for coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I like canned cranberry sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I keep bottled lemon and lime juice, although I do not prefer it. But it is better than nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NanH

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mother preferred Maxwell House instant coffee with evaporated milk for creamer. She would say brewed coffee is too strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      One Thanksgiving, I took a drink of Coca-Cola right after a bite of canned, jellied, cranberry sauce. Believe me, I won't do that again. That is a flavor combination that does not go together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NanH

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had forgotten coffee. I drink Folger's Classic Roast coffee. I drink it black, thank you but my wife drinks it with Coffee Mate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        By all accounts, it is swill but I was raised on it and don't like the fancy stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will, sometimes, have a latte but what's not to like... it's mostly milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do like to go into a Starbucks and ask if they have Folger's, though. Oh, and what's up with someone paying $4 for a cup of coffee?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Canned stewed tomatoes mixed into Mac and cheese... yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And canned peas are indispensable for making tuna casserole, tuna patties, and mock chopped liver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Instant mashed potatoes. Love them plain with butter, topped with melted cheese (and canned peas!) or used as a thickener for soups and stews.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And my sister wears by Taster's Choice instant coffee. Won't drink the brewed stuff if she can help it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miri1

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Been known to add a can of stewed tomatoes to Kraft Deluxe mac and cheese, along with a can of drained chunk light tuna. For some reason, I'm the only one in the house that likes this concoction, which is fine by me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My mother used to make mac and cheese with tuna and frozen peas. It's like cheater tuna casserole, and it's delicious. I still crave it sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Once a year or so I make tuna casserole with a can of tuna, a can of cream of mushroom soup, green peas and lots of grated cheddar. Serve over rice or toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Oh, and what's up with someone paying $4 for a cup of coffee?"


                                                                                                                                                                                                            I sure as heck wouldn't pay $4 for Charbucks! Ick. But coffee is just like anything else -- it can be done well, and when it is, it's worth the money. I shell out $4 once or twice a month for a perfectly-made cappuccino in a real cup with properly steamed milk and properly extracted brew. The rest of the time I'm a tea girl all the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Except for high-end restaurants, I've not seen $4 for a cup of coffee. Your wife might like cream in place of that Coffee Mate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Up to now the scorned products have been food. But the microwave is another scorned product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But it does make some tasty things. I modified the oven version of this recipe and came up with a microwave version:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Microwave Mexican Restaurant Sweet Corn Cake

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Makes 6 cups, 12 servings - On table in 15-minutes

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Copy Cat Recipe. I wanted a quick recipe to copy the sweet corn cakes that are served at Mexican restaurants like El Torito and Chi Chi's. This is ready to eat in about 15 minutes. If you don't have masa harina flour on hand, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of yellow cornmeal, but the masa harina flour adds the authentic taste to this dish. For a less sweet dish, reduce granulated sugar to 1/3 cup. For a firmer sweet corn cake, microwave an addition al 3-minutes.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 cup yellow cornmeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 cup masa harina flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 cup granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 tablespoon baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 cups milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 cups water
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 egg, beaten
                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 tablespoons butter, melted


                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stir all dry ingredients together in mixing bowl, mix well and set aside until needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mix all wet ingredients together in another bowl. Stir until well mixed. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir out any dry lumps in batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pour into a 3-quart covered, microwaveable casserole dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cover and microwave on high for 6-minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stir well. Stir bottom and sides of dish well to remove any dry lumps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cover and microwave on high for another 6-minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stir a few times and serve warm using an ice cream scoop or disher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, I could make a mini version of this. I have a small can of cream corn in my cabinet. If I scaled back the other ingredients...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Antilope, this is great! I really love those things; thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks mucho, A, I just happen to have a can of creamed corn in the cupboard, and everything else; have been wanting to make a corn bread with the creamed corn, but was very reluctant to fire up the oven in this heat wave we're having. This will work just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cooks Illustrated has a microwave polenta recipe, I wanted some of the sweet corn cakes and didin't want to fire up the oven and a light bulb went on.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, bleedin' YUM. That sounds heavenly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Ok, are chocolate covered orange sticks scorned? Well just in case, here's a delicious use for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I came up this recipe (this is my recipe in my words, for the board mgt.) and made these this morning (in a toaster oven, because of the hot weather) and boy are these good with coffee!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vanilla Scones with bits of Chocolate Orange Sticks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    These vanilla scones have a sweet orange, chocolate and slight vanilla flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For those that don't know, a scone is just a biscuit with sweet things added like sugar, vanilla, dried fruit, chocolate, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    During mixing, the chocolate coating separates from the orange gel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    center of the cut-up orange sticks. Small bits of chocolate coating
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    are distributed throughout the scone along with the larger orange gel bits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 teaspoons baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/3 cup vanilla sugar*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 tablespoons cold butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 tablespoons cold solid shortening
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3/4 cup milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 egg, beaten into milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Orange Sticks (any orange stick brand ok)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a mixer bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using mixer, cut in the cold butter and cold shortening until mix is reduced to fine crumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Divide the 8 Trader Joe's Chocolate Orange sticks into 4 pieces each and add to dry ingredients. Mix well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a cup, beat the egg into the milk and stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mix with rubber spatula just until ingredients come together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the bottom of the bowl, knead the dough with your hands until it comes together and has no dry spots.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add a little flour if its too sticky, but keep the dough moist and not crumbly. It should hold together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Divide dough into 1/3 cup (for 9 large scones) or 1/4 cup (for 12 medium scones) portions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shape each scone into triange or ball and place 2-inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bake 18- to 22-minutes until tops are golden brown and centers are done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Serve warm with butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    *If you don't have vanilla sugar, use regular granulated sugar and add 1/2 tsp of vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    extract to the milk and egg mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Makes 9 large or 12 medium scones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This sounds really good, Antilope! I have seen those sticks but have not tried them. I'll pick some up so I can act when the baking mood hits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The reason I love black & white cookies so much is that they are a cakey cookie, vanilla, chocolate, and orange (the recipe I use calls for orange zest) all in one. Love, love, love them. Your scone recipe brings them to mind, can't wait to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know, are the sticks scorned? No matter. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Trader Joe's also has Chocolate Covered Raspberrry Sticks. I prefer the orange for snacking, but the raspberry should be good in scones and muffins, also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh man. I love jelly sticks covered in dark chocolate. I think the orange would be my favorite of the two, but they are both yummy. I've not had them in years and years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you are not near a Trader Joe's, Sweet's company of Utah also makes chocolate covered orange sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sweet's Chocolate Covered Orange Jelly Sticks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trader Joe's Chocolate Orange Sticks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sadly, no Trader Joe's. I may look on the internet one of these days and order some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've seen the Sweet's brand Chocolate Orange Sticks at several different supermarkets and drug stores like Rite-Aid and Walgreens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We don't have those drug stores, (I'm in the sticks) but I will check Wegmans next time I drive into the city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then do what I do -- buy a box of each flavor and mix them so that when you reach in and pull out a handful, you get some of each flavor. That way neither flavor feels bad that you may prefer the other. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's the one I use to make English Muffin Bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                English Muffin Bread For Bread Machines

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3/4 cup scalded and cooled milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 teaspoon table salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/4 teaspoon baking Soda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup Water (95-F to 105-F degrees)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 teaspoons granulated white Sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2-1/4 Tsp Yeast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 cups Bread Flour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Heat 3/4 cup of milk in microwave for about 1-minute or until milk reaches 180 degrees F., but does not boil. Stir the salt and baking soda into the hot milk. Allow the milk to cool to below 105-F before proceeding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Heat 1/2 cup of water in microwave for about 30-seconds or until it reaches between 95-F to 105-F degrees. Add granulated sugar to warm water and stir until it dissolves. Stir in yeast until it is dissolved. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast blooms (forms foamy bubbles on top of the water).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Add 3 cups of flour to bread machine. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the warm milk and warm yeast water into well in top of flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Set bread machine to regular cycle, large (2-lb) loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's normal for the top of the loaf to come out sunken in. The texture and taste of this bread is just like English Muffins and it's great for toasting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Makes one 2-lb loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I posted the English Muffin Bread above (Loaf). Now here's a recipe that uses the bread machine dough cycle to make English Muffins. You have to cook these in a skillet on on a griddle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made these yesterday. They turned out really good. I won't be buying English muffins from the store any longer. It takes about an hour to make a dozen. That's about 20-minutes kneading in the bread machine, 30 minutes rising time and 15 minutes cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I had a homemade Egg McMuffin today on a homemade English Muffin. Let me tell you, it's a whole different sandwich with a fresh English muffin. It's nice to taste a real English muffin without that "plastic bag" taste the store bought ones have. These are better than store bought even when they are 3 days old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To make regular English muffins; omit whole-wheat-flour and use 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, omit baking soda and omit buttermilk and use 1 cup of regular milk instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Homemade Buttermilk Whole-Wheat English Muffins (Bread Machine Manual Dough

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 cup lukewarm buttermilk (90-F to 100-F)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 egg, beaten
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1/2 teaspoon table salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Tablespoons melted butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Tablespoon cornmeal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flours and dry yeast. Mix well
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and pour dry flour mixture into bread machine. Make a depression in center
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  of flour to pour liquid into.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the warm buttermilk, beaten egg,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sugar, salt, baking soda and melted butter. Mix well. Pour liquid into

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  center of the depression you made in the flour in the bread machine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Set bread machine to MANUAL DOUGH CYCLE. Monitor dough as it mixes for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the first few minutes and add more flour or water as needed, a tablespoon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  at a time, to form a smooth ball of dough. It should be firm enough to hold
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  its own shape and not sticky. It should not be so dry that it is crumbly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. When the bread machine completes its mixing and kneading cycle,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  turn it off and remove the dough. Don't allow it to rise in the bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5. Dust a bread board with about 1/2-tablespoon of corn meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you need to, you can dust the dough with a little dry flour, if
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it's too sticky to handle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6. Place dough on bread board and divide dough into 12 equal sized pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7. Take each piece of dough and roll into a ball, then flatten it into a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  disc about 3-inches across and 1/4-inch high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8. Dust a cookie sheet with 1/2-tablespoon of cornmeal and lay each
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  flattened piece of dough on cookie sheet, about 1-inch apart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9. Place in a warm place to rise, (like oven that is off, with the oven
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  light turned on) and allow dough to rise for 1/2-hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  10. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium heat, as if you were making
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pancakes. If using an electric skillet or griddle set it to 275-F to 300-F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't add oil to the griddle. A non-stick surface or cast iron
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  works well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  11. The dough will look slightly puffy, like large cookies, that's okay,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  they will puff up a lot more during cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  12. Carefully pick up each piece of risen dough and place it on the hot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  griddle. Trying to move them with a spatula will deflate them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  13. Reduce heat slightly on griddle and cook the dough for 5 to 7 minutes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  on each side. They can be turned with a spatula once they are cooked on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  one side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  14. They are done when they are golden brown on the top and bottom.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Split them using a fork. Toast them and serve with butter and/or jelly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When cool, they can be stored in a plastic bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Makes 12 Buttermilk Whole-wheat English muffins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Squeezy cheese from a can a top a garlic-flavored Triscuit. I'm not sure if it gets more processed than that. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This brings back memories. There is an adorably tacky restaurant in Denver called Casa Bonita. It has horrible food but is an enormous favorite with kids because of its non-food attractions: indoor cliff divers, strolling musicians and (I vaguely remember) a man in a gorilla suit somehow adding to the fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When we took some visiting pre-teens there, I asked our server if I could have some cheese on my "cheese enchilada." He whipped out a can of squeezy cheese from a side pocket, like a gunslinger from a holster, and buried my "enchilada" in a mountain of yellow. Fastest cheese in the West.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The kids loved it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yum. This is the only acceptable use for squeezy cheese from a can. Once every couple of years or so I go to walmart and buy these two items together, then sit there eating them till I all but make myself sick. But I sure do enjoy it up until that point! After that I'm set for a while. Hmm, it's been atleast a couple of years since I did this last. I think I may have to get some canned cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I thought about this topic because twice this week I've used what many scorn: Bisquick!! I was running low on time, energy and grocery items and whipped up one of their "impossible pies" with ground beef, Romano cheese and Italian seasonings. With a green salad on the side, it was a big hit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Right this moment I have chicken and Bisquick dumplings on the stove. For years I made dumplings from a recipe I got from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They were a treat but entailed about three more steps than making a wedding cake. I eventually realized that the Bisquick dumplings were 80% as good but with 20% of the work. After that I never looked back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mandycat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I eventually realized that the Bisquick dumplings were 80% as good but with 20% of the work. After that I never looked back."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree, and now, I actually like the Bisquick ones, with fresh chopped herbs in them, better. Especially, because i am just cooking for one, and I can just make a tiny bit of dumplings with a bit of Bisquick and some milk. Its an easy and convenient shortcut to take for a lot of things. I have a favorite version of an impossible breakfast pie I love also. I always keep a box of Bisquick with my staples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Matahari, there is an even more decadent way to make dumplings. Put two boxes of frozen potato-filled pierogies in a deep baking dish with a bunch of boneless skinless chicken breasts then cover the whole business up to the top with a carton of chicken stock. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 90 minutes at 350*.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't really picture this. What does the end result look/taste like? It's still quite brothy at the end, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hmm, me too. Sounds good for some one who eats a lot of meat, but it doesn't sound like the dumplings I'm used to. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But this gave me my food idea for tonight. I have left over soup in the freezer, and I think I will make some dumplings in my soup. I didn't realize it was going on 6:30 and I really didnt even think about dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        These are the kind of dumplings I'm used to. Light and fluffy. Cooked these in a vegetable mushroom soup.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I have so many transgressions. Here are just a few
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bottled French dressing on top of cottage cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Miracle Whip for deviled eggs. Sure sometimes I use mayo, but that's how my mom made it and it just tastes right to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Agree with velveeta for the dip with sausage and rotel.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rhodes frozen dough balls. I use them two in a muffin cup for big fluffy dinner rolls or rolled in sugar and cinnamon and butter and stuck in a bundt pan for Monkey Bread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My comfort food that takes me back to childhood? Cheese Whiz (out of the glass jar) on Ritz crackers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh and those canned fried onions for that once a year casserole. Making them yourself just isn't the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My wife said I can't teach my 6 year old grand daughter to spray the canned whipped cream directly into her mouth. That's the best part!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Never heard of frozen dough balls but sounds like a good way to make my mom's cloverleaf dinner rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I am fairly a food snob, but I have my guilty pleasures. Once or twice a year I like a good ol' Spam sandwich with mayonnaise. I don't care for boxed mixes of any type, but one time I was gifted some sweet potato pancake mix, and I threw some pineapple into the batter, and those were some heavenly pancakes. (More like dessert!) And I agree with the Rotel/Velveeta dip. OH and one more thing - I love pigs n a blanket, made with kielbasa and pop biscuits. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Surely I'm not the only one who uses the Oscar Mayer thick cut pre-cooked microwave bacon....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My fake key lime pie uses sweetened condensed milk, frozen limeade and cool whip, all lovingly scooped into a pre-made Keebler graham cracker crust- SO GOOD- works as a fruit dip, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I try to draw the line at cool whip. What can we use instead? Maybe cream cheese or whipped cream stabilized with gelatin?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Feel free to experiment and report back- I'm sticking with the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it" method! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. In the dead of winter when you get a grapefruit that is too sour to eat, dig out the segments and put them in Black Cherry Jello. The finished product comes out tasting like fresh black cherries, or at least close enough for January.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I always make sure I have envelopes of the lipton onion soup/dip mix on hand. I think the last time I actually used it to make soup or dip was in college. But I add half an envelope to any white bread recipe in the bread machine and get a herbed bread that is the perfect side for broth based soups. Any left overs are cubed and dried in the oven to make seasoned croutons with the seasoning going all the way through them, not just on the outside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the very back corner of my pantry is a ziplock baggie with a light brown powdery substance in it. It contains 1 box of angel food cake mix and 1 box of devil foods cake mix combined. I put 3 tablespoons of this mix in a mug with just enough water to make it into cake batter consistency, drop in about a tablespoon of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting in the middle and nuke for a minute. The frosting melts while the chocolate cake cooks and I have a single serve lava cake like dessert in 60 seconds. The cake part is just so so on it's own but I mix it up with the melted frosting and it turns into a rich moist chocolate cake. I always have the ingredients for this on hand so I can get my chocolate fix without having to bake or buy a whole cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Imma add tater tots to this discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Deep fried tater tots cooked at a high enough heat so that they get crispy, not soggy like the baked school lunch room tots, are INCREDIBLE. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Top them with anything gourmet (herbs, avocado, roasted garlic) or hilariously delicious (basically any kind of seasoning blend) and there you have it. Great with a burger, sandwich or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: luciaannek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tater tots served with shredded cheese and gravy!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tater tot poutine!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nothin wrong with that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: luciaannek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Or for that matter Tater Tot Natchos.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tater Tots instead of tortilla chips.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now I'm hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tater Tots and Fish Sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fish Sticks on a hamburger bun with tartar sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hormel canned Beanless Chili on Polenta makes a quick mock tamale. You can also make a microwave polenta in about 15 minutes from scratch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I despise American cheese. Except for American cheese on grilled cheese sandwiches - nothing else tastes as good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: magdiego

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. That is the only valid use for that otherwise vile stuff. Though I like some cheese on the outside of my grilled cheese sandwich too, so for that I grate a little of whatever I have in the fridge onto the top of the sandwich while the side against hte pan starts to cook, then flip the whole sandwich over so the grated cheese is between pan and sandwich. Cheese the other side and repeat. You get the gooey cheese inside the sandwich and cheesy fried crunchyness on the outside. Serve with a can of campbells tomato soup that you've fancied up with a drizzle of good balsamic and a chiffonade of basil. So tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: magdiego

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with you on this. I have been known to run out to the supermarket to grab American cheese when there are perfectly good fancy cheeses in my fridge if I'm in the mood for grilled cheese. Also, I use Laughing Cow triangles in several recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: magdiego

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My only disagreement with this is Boar's Head American- it is rich, creamy and -gasp- CHEESY!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I am an unapologetic fan of certain MSG-laden seasonings in certain dishes, like Goya's Sazon. My picadillo would not be the same without it. I also use Vegeta, which is a Croatian vegetable stock powder that is basically MSG and carrot flakes, in many soups and stews. I also will make Carne Bif, which is a Puerto Rican dish made from canned corned beef and potatoes that cannot be done with any other kind of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I also forgot to mention sweetened condensed milk. There are certain desserts that I can't imagine making without it...flan, rice pudding, brigadeiros (chocolate caramel balls), I know that there must be other ways to make those things, but none of them come out as well. Also Nestle canned creme de leite (table cream) is essential to certain desserts I make. Its a bit trashy but it sets up very nicely in pave (a Brazilian tiramisu type dessert). I've tried it with organic fancy heavy cream and it was a disaster, so creme de leite from the can it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: halaby88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you're a coffee drinker stir in a little bit of your sweetened condensed milk for a desserty drink. I drink black coffee but once in a while it's a very nice junk food treat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: halaby88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey -- would you share your recipe for the chocolate caramel balls?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: halaby88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Condensed milk in iced tea makes a passable Thai style iced tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ps: heavy cream in iced tea- no lemon- is just amazingly good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Bread Machines. I like making bread in a bread machne sometimes. Nothing like the smell of baking bread. Hawaiian Bread, French Bread, Honey Wheat Bread, English Muffin Bread........

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you have a recipe for english muffin bread machine bread that you'd share?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I posted the recipes above, sorry I linked the response to the wrong post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. How about Russian Tea? My mom used to make it for Christmas every year, and I whipped some up last year and it was so yummy-felt very holiday-ish, and the kids loved it. It has many offenders:Powdered Tea! Instant Lemonade! (and the best of all.....) Tang!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And we love the sausage balls made with breakfast sausage, bisquick, and cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom's great make-ahead strawberry daiquiri mix uses frozen limeade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I guess I use a few "generally scorned" food products--and the microwave! I use canned tomatoes, canned beans, tub margarine, turkey bacon and whipped cream in a can--on occasion. I was introduced to the latter product when I was doing a very low carb diet. Most of the bad stuff I grew up eating--Dream Whip, Aunt Jemima cornmeal, fruit cocktail, canned pineapple, jello, Miracle Whip, canned lima beans, French Onion soup mix, canned cream soups, white bread and Kool Aid--I don't eat any more because I've learned to like better products. The only "comfort" food I crave from my childhood is Campbell's tomato soup, preferably with a grilled cheese sandwich. I didn't grow up eating Velveeta, so i have never preferred it. I'll take plain yellow cheese in my grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. This is more the scroned use of the product rather than the product its self. I present this wonderful White Trash dish:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bacon Gravy over Biscuits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 slices bacon (1 LB bacon), cooked crispy, grease reserved, bacon crumbled into gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 tablespoons reserved bacon grease for this recipe, remainder stored in fridge for later use.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 tablespoons all purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 cups milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To me, this has a richer flavor than sausage gravy (which I also like).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Preheat a large skillet to medium-hi. Place 12 slices of bacon in the skillet and cook until just crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and drain; set aside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reserve 4 tablespoons of the bacon grease for this recipe and store the remainder of the bacon grease in a covered container in the fridge for later use in another recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add the 4 tablespoons of bacon grease back to the skillet and heat to medium high heat. Add flour to bacon grease, and whisk together, stirring out dry lumps until it is smooth. Cook for about a couple of minutes to brown the flour without burning it, stirring constantly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add milk, whisk together with bacon grease, stir well to remove any lumps. Heat until bubbling. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until gravy is thickened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Meanwhile, crumble bacon. Add salt and pepper (to taste), and bacon to gravy. Allow to simmer until desired consistency. Serve over biscuits, toast or mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Optional: Sometimes I use seasoning salt instead of regular salt. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of butter, stirred into the finished gravy, as a finishing touch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Makes about 6 cups of bacon gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sausage Gravy (from Jimmy Dean Bulk sausage) over steamed Calrose rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. we just made an amazing tri-tip marinade from my googling "tri-tip marinade" that was a bobbly flay recipe. it called for dried onions, which i had only used in one other recipe before and thought I would never use again. they are quite nasty in most things to my taste: dried onion chips that have a kind of chemical taste. however they went well in the marinade and i know that regular onions would not have been as intense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I've served my sweet Starbucks latte loving friends Nescafe with condensed milk and they love it. I can enjoy a good Antiguan coffee black, but sometimes I want that sweet, trashy stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: venushakti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I avoid Crisco except when making homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies... yummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lcw_nc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oatmeal Creme Pie?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i am in the Pac NW - i don't know about those --- now i'm curious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i use Crisco for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. pastry (the recipe with a bit of bkg powder and vinegar)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. "hot biscuits" (aka baking powder biscuits)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. as mentioned above last year - oatmeal refrigerator cookies from Better Homes & Gardens many decades ago. (ie make the dough, roll in to a couple of "logs" -- fridge / freeze -- then another day, slice and bake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. This thread is a great trip down memory lane. I'll add a couple:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cavender's Greek Seasoning. Ever put that on hot popcorn? Addictive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Bouillon cubes are a great addition to soups, stews and rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gotta love the salt and MSG!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My ONLY use for cool-whip, EVER: I used it the first time I made this pie, I am not sure why I followed the recipe and did that, but was so fascinated by the particular texture of the cool whip, and how it freezes is so cool. Frozen, but you can cut it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyhoo; my take on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BEST_DAMN LEMON_ICEBOX_PIE_ON_EARTH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 eggs, seperated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1/2 cup of lemon juice (3-4 small lemons)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              zest of 1 lemon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 can sweetened condensed milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1container of cool whip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crust of choice (I like to make a homemade gingersnap crumb, but graham cracker is just fine!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Optional; but for me, this is what makes the pie:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 pint of fresh Blueberries

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Preheat oven to 350

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bee the egg yolks well in a med. large bowl well with a whisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Whisk in the lemon juice & zest until smooth. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk again until smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In a mixing bowl, beat the whites until stiff peaks form, but don't overbeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Blen 1/3 of whites into lemon mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whites until just combined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pour into crust and back for 15 minutes until firmed up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cool. Top with semi-thawed Cool Whip. Put pie in FREEZER until partially frozen, or freeze solid, then let sit in fridge 30 minutes before serving. I like the pie best mostly frozen on a hot day!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To gild the lilly in the best way, when pie is partially frozen, arrange washed, dried fresh blueberries attractively on top of cool whip. Freeze pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then you have BEST DAMN LEMON-BLUEBERRY ICEBOX PIE. My near favorite summer pie!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. i am also guilty of occasional uses of lipton onion soup mix, garlic and onion powder for certain applications; spice rubs, pot roast. Mrs. Jenkowski's roast beef (the best!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Certainly canned beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Occasional Velveeta for those gooey cheese dips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't knock a block of cream cheese with hot pepper jelly over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Devil's food cupcakes with dark chocolate canned frosting, and red sugar sprinkles. Look like chocolate Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, and taste like CRACK!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rica-A-Roni - Spanish rice blend, with canned diced tomatoes and italian sausage.....it works!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I lived on Rice-a-Roni with sausage and hot sauce in college when everyone else was eating mac and cheese and ramen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Rice A Roni with long grain rice and wild rice is pretty good. The biggest problem with it is the seasoning packet contains way too much salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was introduced to this by a girlfriend I met after college...i felt real sophisticated....I will have try it with some hot sauce...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. What a fun post. So glad it came back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think Cheez Whiz falls into this category. Green Rice just doesn't taste right without it. I've tried to use real cheddar several times. I believe it was the jalapeno cheez whiz that goes into the recipe. I don't even know if they still make it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like to make a quick fruit crumble. Drain a couple of cans of pineapple or peaches. Sprinkle a box of white or yellow cake mix over the fruit and then drizzle with a stick of melted butter. Bake until the cake mix-butter crumble is golden. Serve hot with ice cream. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bread Machine Peanut Butter bread, or even Plain, hot from the machine, dipped into melted Lindt dark +milk chocolate mixed together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Generally scorned product: Jello. Certain application: sick feverish child, when it's often the only thing they'll eat. Especially if it's red. So forget about chemical dye worries and just keep telling yourself that the Jello is getting liquid and a few calories into the kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When my kids were little, Jello first came out with blue jello. I thought, cool the kids will love this. Unfortunately about the same time my wife bought the stuff for the toilet bowl that turns the water blue. The kids took one look at the blue jello and said, Ewwwwww Gross Dad! They wouldn't touch it. So much for my good idea. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I will never forget how bad green jello is when it has shredded carrots and shredded cabbage embedded in it. That's what the school cafeteria served in the early 1960's. An empty milk carton was a good hiding place for it. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Post-knee replacement surgery, the MD wrote diet ad lib. The wise nursing staff, however, ordered Jello for my dinner--1st time I'd had Jello in decades. Hours later, when the Jello came back up (x4) I was grateful for wise nurses vs. over-optimistic surgeon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. About 20 years ago, Captain Morgan came with a recipe book. Have been using the following to dress fish ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Melt a stick of butter with a block of Philladelphia cream cheese. Do not substitute or use the low fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Add Heinz relish. About 2 tablespoons. Or substitute capers, or finely chopped brined olives or artichoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Add 1/4 cup rum and stir madly to encorporate. Immediately pour over poached or broiled fish. Do not cook all the alcohol out as that is what keeps the sauce from breaking into it's components.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have substituted fresh herbs and spices over the years, but the creamy goodness of the original versus the briny bits is still the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. queso dip (in the jar)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                application: Mix w/frozen corn and bake until bubbly. unbelievable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Cool Whip in the right hands in UTAH, combined with Lime green Jello, canned crushed pineapple, and who knows what else, becomes an ambrosial dessert!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GTM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are a lot of variations of ambrosia. Some with cool whip, some with whipped cream, some with sour cream. Some with fruit cocktail, some with mandarin oranges, some with pineapple. Some with grapes. Some topped with coconut. Most of them are really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Here's my favorite use for a "scorned" ingredient...boxed brownie mix. And it uses the microwave as part of the prep! The cakes come out great and people always ask me for the recipe. If you are concerned about cooking the centers, check out the option at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Molten Chocolate Cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (or whatever you have)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup butter (NOT margarine)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 egg yolks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 packages brownie mix
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 TB chocolate milk (regular milk is fine too..if you have the mix w/ syrup, use that with milk)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    powdered sugar or whipped cream

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 nonstick muffin cups with nonstick baking spray. Add a little cocoa powder into each cup and gently shake the muffin tin to distribute the cocoa powder, shake out any excess and set aside. You can also use six custard or souffle cups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a medium bowl, combine both kinds of chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, stirring twice during cooking, or until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool for 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a large bowl, combine eggs and egg yolks and beat at high speed for 5 minutes until light in color, and doubled in size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gradually add the dry brownie mixes to the beaten egg mixture, stirring until well blended. Fold in melted chocolate mixture and milk. Pour batter (I use a ladle) into prepared muffin or custard cups. These can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and cooked later in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes or just until edges are set. If making six larger cakes, bake for 13 to 18 minutes until edges are set. The centers of the little cakes will be soft.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NOTE: Watch these cakes carefully. I usually cook 10-11 minutes...too long and you end up with a good but fully cooked chocolate cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cool on wire rack for 2 minutes. Then run a knife around edge of each cake to loosen, then invert warm cake on each serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OPTIONAL: If you're worried about the centers cooking, unwrap a chocolate kiss and insert in in the middle of each cake 3 minutes into baking. Voila! Molten!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also have a great raspberry sauce to serve with these cakes that a chef friend gave me. He uses it in several restaurants....really. It can be made with any berry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Easy Raspberry Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 package frozen unsweetened raspberries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 jar raspberry fruit spread or jam
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lemon juice to taste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add bag of fruit while frozen and and jar of jam to a food processor. Process until smooth. It gets thick. Strain seeds, add lemon juice to taste, and serve. Amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By the way, I too have made the cream cheese/Hormel chili no beans dip many times, and was totally embarrassed at a party when I was asked (twice) whether I had browned the meat before adding it to the dip. Oh well...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. MARMITE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      someone above said they were glad this thread is still going - me too!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i've already replied about my enthusiasm for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dream Whip (tilt tip jello recipe)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Crisco - and quick oats - for the B H & Gardens recipe for oatmeal refrig cookie dough

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      my other fascination is Marmite.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      anyone from the UK?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (and BTW - Vegemite is NOT a substitute - not a big fan of Vegemite / Aus food (our family lives down there) tho i suppose the yeast-spread concept is similar)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i have to have marmite in a certain way - with cheese (as if it needs more sodium)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and the cat likes it too (no wonder they make the hairball stuff in what appears to be a similar format and flavor)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This from the 1970's: Russian Tea. Mix 1 cup instant tea, 1 cup lemonade mix, 2 cups Tang, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp clove. Add a couple of heaping spoons to a cup of boiling water. I don't know whether it's some synergism of the caffeine in the tea, sugar, and the Vitamin C in the Tang or what, but this stuff will raise the dead. It works better than coffee. Try it at work at about 3 PM and you will be begging them to let you work all night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hahaha! One of the funniest posts I've read on here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The first time I ever heard of this concoction was at the family home of a girlfriend years ago. They could not answer my question, maybe you can. What makes this 'tea' Russian?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not a darn thing. I always heard it called "wassail," which makes about as much sense, given how traditional Tang and instant tea are to both Russian and Anglo-Saxon food culture. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Green can Parmesan cheese is a great way to add salt to a breading and the dredge for pan and deep frying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. This may be fairly normal for anyone with familial roots in Hawaii, but I am fond of mom's "lazy dinner":

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spam, sliced and pan fried til crispy on the edges, served with steamed rice and a fried egg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spam is also great in musubi, on top of saimin, in fried rice...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. China Lily "soy sauce" on rice topped with parmesan cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Blender Mochacino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This tastes like a thick, creamy mocha milkshake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 cup Half & Half**
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 cup International Delight French Vanilla Non-Dairy Creamer (liquid creamer)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/3 cup Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 oz (1/2 cup) Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, milk chocolate flavor (dry powder)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 cup of instant coffee crystals (or powder)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 (0.80 oz) Vanilla Jello Singles Pudding packet (dry powder)**
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 cups ice cubes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Blend on high 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Makes about 48 oz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    **I've substituted 2% milk for the half & half and an individual Jello Pudding Cup (already prepared pudding) for the pudding powder. The Moccacino still turns out great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: Live Costco Vitamix blender demo.