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Pre-made products given a made from scratch taste

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Have you ever used pre-made products added extras to give it a extra flavor with a made from scratch taste? For instance I've used two boxes of cook&serve lemon pie filling mix and added 1 packet of lemonade Drink Mix On The Go before cooking it.It really gave it a nice lemony tart taste.But not to tart.Do you have some tips to share?

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  1. I guess a pastry chef would hold his nose at this since it uses pudding instead of a real custard filling but we like it. I make Chocolate Cream Pie the easy way by 1) using a frozen or Pillsbury pie crust and 2) using Jello Chocolate Cook & Serve Pudding, 2 boxes of it but reducing milk to 3 cups total then 3) after the pudding cools I add 2 tablespoons of dark Jamaican rum and put the filling in the pie shell and 4) cover it with REAL whipped cream, no fair using anything else, and 5) shave some dark chocolate on top of the cream. Refrigerate.

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    1. re: Querencia

      I also make a chocolate cream pie using a ready made graham cracker pie crust,1lg.box of Jello Chocolate Cook&Serve Pudding,adding 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips,1tbsp. butter,1 cup of evaporated milk and 2 cups whole milk.Cook pudding,cool put in shell and cover with real whipped cream sweetened with confectioners sugar .Sprinkle with Heath bits or choc. shavings.Chill and enjoy!

    2. Pound cakes... in a variety of ways, but a fun thing is to cut in layers, spread with raspberry jam, then chocolate hazelnut spread. Reassemble, chill, then slice, can lay the slice in a puddle of raspberry sauce, garnish with whipped cream and a few fresh raspberries.
      Spaghetti sauce (jarred, add stuff, there are threads on this).
      One of the store bought rotisserie chicken, or baked chicken... put it in the oven to stay warm, the baked chicken is great with a spicy bar-b-q sauce (or any sauce you want).
      Pancake mix, I add just a touch of sugar and vanilla, or almond, extract, or maybe a bit of cardamom.
      Baked beans (sure there are threads on that, too), several kinds, with molasses, mustard, catsup, dried onion.
      Biscuits in a can... pull-aparts, from caramel, cinnamon, orange marmalade to savory, Italian and parmesan, bacon bits and cheddar.
      Canned tomato soup with some herbs, asiago cheese.
      Cake mix... I always add flour, I don't like fluffy cake. I might add coffee to the chocolate. I made a Mozart cake, using cake mixes, but ended up with 3 layers, chocolate with hazelnuts, vanilla with ground almonds, and pistachio. I used canned frosting for the filling, but a ganache to cover the whole thing. yum.

      1. Adding some more dry cocoa to brownie mix improves it a million percent, maybe a tablespoon.

        1. My "death by garlic" Caesar salad starts with Paul Newman Caesar dressing, which I turbocharge with lots of mashed garlic cloves, mashed anchovies or a generous squirt of anchovy paste, fresh lemon juice, and lots of coarse grated parmesan. I further cheat by using the 3-to-a-bag romaine hearts. This enables me to concentrate on the main course.

          1. I think you are asking if any of us use a premade or processed product to make a homemade product taste better? If so, I do use commercial chicken broth when I cook a chicken in the pressure cooker.
            And I find myself adding a few canned tomatoes in my homemade soup with greens. The tomatoes make it look prettier. I also plead guilty to adding extra veggies and red wine to the jarred tomato sauce I use for spaghetti. (I don't make spaghetti very much anymore though)

            1. Jarred salsa becomes 10x better with just a little cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

              1. Cheap bbq sauce comes alive with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

                1. Grate some lemon zest into canned/boxed chicken broth. Add vanilla to any boxed cake mix. (Okay, it doesn't taste homemade, but you will be able to eat it.)