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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:

                http://www.food.com/recipe/kurts-pota...

                Here's a link to a preview of the cook book Beat That! by Ann Hodgman at Google Books:
                http://books.google.com/books?id=Oq5A...

                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:

                                                http://southamericanfood.about.com/od...

                                                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.