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Favorite Convenience Food?

I'd sooner go to a local restaurant than a big chain, and I'm often up with the birds to go to the farmers' market on the weekend. That said, there's nothing wrong with the occasional convenience food indulgence.

Last night, I had an individually wrapped brownie from 7-11 and you know what? It was FANTASTIC--chewy, not too sweet, big enough to satisfy without having to drag out a mixing bowl.

What do you like to pick up on the fly, calories, fat, and sodium aside?

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  1. A bagel. A good, nearly authentic bagel (hard to replicate outside of the five burroughs), slathered in soft butter.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RedTop

      I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever had an authentic bagel.

      1. re: RedTop

        If you're referring to NYC, it consists of 5 'boroughs.' And are Staten Island bagels really good? I kind of assumed they would be more New-Jerseyish than NYCish....

      2. Monster Slim Jims, esp the Tabasco ones.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pinehurst

          I just had a Slim Jim yesterday, probably my first in 10 years. And can I just say...Damn that thing was good!!!

        2. A slurpee, or slushy, or icee or any sort of frozen drink like that.

          1. I don't eat much if any convenience food on a day to day basis, but on occasion or over holidays I love to pick up popcorn from the movie theater.

            5 Replies
            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I never thought to get a to-go popcorn at the theater. They let you do that, eh? Lord knows, I love me some movie theater popcorn. Whoooeeeee! ;-)

              1. re: lynnlato

                Oh yes, I bring my own gallon sized ziploc bag as well to fit on top of the bag.

              2. re: fldhkybnva

                Isn't popcorn one of the most overpriced things you can get at the snack counter?

                1. re: Sharuf

                  Given I never actually see a movie and thus spend $20 on a ticket, it's a quick $7 treat a few times a year. The first time I did it I felt a bit weird, but they informed me it's quite common. Also our theater has a bar do concessions is not too high since they make much more from drinks.

              3. My go to convenience store snacks are beef jerky/slim jims, trail mix (the kind with raisins and m&ms in it), gardetto's mustard pretzels, and rice krispy treats.

                Also ditto on the slurpee, but that depends on the flavors they have. I only like cherry or lemon lime. Lemon lime especially is excellent with vodka poured in it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: juliejulez

                  I also forgot to mention that for some reason the Diet Coke from the fountains at 7-11 is extra tasty.

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    Yep. A freezing cold Diet Coke from Race Trac in summer, or a half decaf/half cappucino from the machines there in winter.

                    1. re: juliejulez

                      Can't beat the 88 cent price when you can get it, too.

                  2. Several gas stations within a ten mile radius of my school offer homemade biscuits from "the biscuit lady." I have no idea who the biscuit lady is, or where she makes her home, but she makes some good biscuits, with fillings like sausage, egg, pork chop, smoked link, and bacon.

                    Quik Trip coffee and sandwiches aren't bad.

                    Quik Trip also has a nice fountain drink selection, with crushed ice and add-ins like vanilla and cherry flavoring.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                        "QT does alot of things right."

                        Including yummy oversized donuts.

                    1. Hmm. When I read your post, I thought of packaged mix type of things. The first thing that popped into my mind was instant mashed potatoes, because making them gives Mr. Sueatmo his potato fix, and I am not normally tempted to indulge in them myself. Actually the mix I buy tastes pretty good.

                      But you guys seem to be talking about stuff you buy premade. I totally get the bagel. I haven't had a chewy authentic bagel in maybe 15 years, but I like almost any bagel at all. I almost never eat them any more, alas. . .

                      As soon as summer comes and the temps rise, I want an ice cream cone. I eat low carb, but I have a terrible time not indulging in a cone in the high heat of summer. I don't have a strong preference, except I don't like Coldstone cream at all. And, I miss the local frozen custard from StL, which is unavailable in my corner of the PNW. So, I'd have to say, frozen custard obtained from a local custard place on a hot day in July.

                      1. Convenience food is not necessarily "on the fly." For "on the fly" food, I will often buy some premade enchiladas from the deli at my usual supermarket (but never the national brands, which are crap). Then I will add some convenience rice and beans.

                        But the most convenient food is not "on the fly," but something bought long in advance of need and kept in reserve for use as needed. For me, this would be frozen meatballs, dry spaghetti, and (sugarless) marinara in a jar.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: GH1618

                          For my Cooking category:
                          Dry pasta, chunky marinara in a jar (tweaked with garlic and herbs while heating), frozen peas, canned tomatoes and beans, and TJ's frozen pot stickers and croissants.

                        2. 7-11 slurpee
                          Popcicle of just about any fruit flavor
                          Quick Stops Italian sub. Great drunk food.
                          A Luchable from the store for a snack on the go.
                          Used to be 7-11's big in sandwich and microwaved burritos but even I can't do that to my poor body anymore.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: suzigirl

                            Whoa... I can't remember the last time I had a Lunchable! I love the way everything fits on the cracker and there's exactly enough ham and cheese. It's the perfect OCD snack.

                            1. re: sarinaL

                              The perfect OCD snack. Perfect description.

                          2. When it's really hot out, a frozen Coke.

                            1. A big cup of iced passion fruit green tea, made with fresh passion fruit pulp. They sell it at a tea shop near work, and I have to be careful not to over-indulge in the summer.

                              1. Sapporo Ichiban Original Ramen.

                                I do have to boil water for it, but in my every day, that's pretty damned convenient. :)

                                1. Glad you opened the thread with 7-11, because their hot dogs on those greasy metal rollers are not bad at all. I would rate them as a step down from a good neighborhood stand dog and a big step up from supermarket dogs like Ball Park.

                                  Some other processed pleasures are cheap lunch meat, chili cheese Fritos, Tung-i instant noodles, Totino's frozen pizza, the Taco Bell chalupa and Spaghettios with the little hot dogs mixed in.

                                  1. Wawa soft pretzel. It's probably the worst rendition of a soft pretzel for any who have had the real deal in Philadelphia or NYC, but I loved them as a kid and still do. It was my go-to pick up snack in college at 3am and whenever I go there for a hoagie, I get a pretzel. They used to come in packs of 2 but now are sold singly which is helpful to restrain me.

                                    1. 7-11 had these metal straws for a short time that made slurpees sooooo amazing.
                                      We have a Wag-a-Bag that has tamales at the counter for a dollar in a avacado green crock pot...so I am not sure they are "offical" merchandise" but they are some tasty tamales.
                                      and I must admit Freddie's fast food frys

                                      1. Supermarket rotisserie chicken - we referred to it as Magic Chicken because you just wave some money around and there it is! - was something I used to get back when we were both eating meat and I wanted to do some Enchiladas Suizas at the last moment. That was more often than you might think!

                                        Nowadays, not counting frozen or refrigerated entrées from Trader Joe's, I'm a lot more likely to get the frozen-pellet mashed potatoes than boil and mash my own, mostly because I usually make just a cup or two at a time as a component of my solitary carnivorous meal when Mrs. O is away. I'm trying some olive oil/garlic ones from Alexia tonight to go with knockwurst and cabbage.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I love the frozen mashed potatoes from TJ's. I'm single/live alone, so cook for one most of the time. Those frozen potatoes are almost as good as homemade, and I can make just one portion - perfect!

                                        2. My local supermarkets have great olive bars, which include much more than olives. A platter of roasted tomatoes, some olives of course, a few mozzarella balls, meaty grilled artichoke hearts with stems, a few stuffed grape leaves, and pronto: a convenient and great tasting light meal without effort.

                                          1. 7-Eleven nachos with ALL the fixins.

                                            Pop Tarts (unheated)

                                            Twinkie + Diet Mountain Dew

                                            Gyro platter @ NYC Halal Cart

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              I'm w/ ya on the Pop Tarts. I used to eat at least 2 per day. Now it's just a special treat sort of thing, but it's always unheated.

                                              It's funny over on my weight loss board, people are like "Oh I can't stand to eat that crap food now that I'm used to eating healthy!"... I'm like "yeah I still like the crap food".

                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                Ever make an ice cream sandwich with Pop Tarts?

                                                Good eatin.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  I have never eaten a pop tart...

                                                  that may make me ask for a box..

                                                  I dont know why I just didnt grow up with them and they were never around... I also have never had a twinki

                                                  we should start a new thread..foods you never had that most people have eaten...

                                            2. ceviche from the mexican takeout inside the shell gas station.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Starbucks skim vanilla latte.

                                                1. I loooove those Jamaican beef patties they have at pizzerias and in some of the 7-11s near me. When I can't get to a real Jamaican bakery, these fill the void nicely.

                                                  1. Usually go for Raisinettes, Snyder's pretzels, or a beer if I'm not the driver!

                                                    1. I got caught short on time once, and bought one of those rotisserie chickens (the kind with only salt for seasoning) and a packet of mashed potato. The sample woman at Costco pointed out to me that it had nothing more than potato, salt, milk and butter. I think I added a box of mixed salad greens and some wine. Could have been better, but could have been far, far worse. The next day, I went to confession, and then to the grocery and farmer's market and cooked a proper meal. Oh, and even though we have a good ice cream machine with a compressor, I do buy Hagen Dasz vanilla ice cream.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: RosePearl

                                                        You went to confession to confess your use of convenience food?


                                                      2. Someone upthread mentioned movie theater popcorn and I agree. But wow that stuff must be bad for you. You walk out of the theater feeling like you took a valium.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: layerlessonion

                                                          Yea, true. I usually get a large and don't finish it as I get quite saturated after a while. I don't do this much though, probably once a year but it's worth it. I never actually see a movie.

                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            Then you have more self control than I do! Sort of wish I hadn't read your tip about getting the popcorn but skipping the movie...way too tempting.

                                                          2. re: layerlessonion

                                                            I like movie popcorn too. I rarely go to movies but when my spouse and kids do, I ask them to bring me back a bag. Even cold, it is delicious.

                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                              And if you're feeling even more sinful, movie theatre popcorn makes the best caramel corn too. :)

                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                Lots of theaters these days have their concession stands outside of the ticketed-only area.

                                                                Who knew movie theaters would become a dining destination circa 2013.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  Actually my local movie theater is indeed a dining destination for many. There is not only the concession stand, but also a fully-stocked bar and restaurant.

                                                            2. Not a favorite as such but lately I've been digging Blue Diamond soy sauce and wasabi almonds in the US.

                                                              Japanese convenience stores offer too many good options. Sweet potato sticks, mini-donuts filled with anko, even the occasional corn dog (over there called an American dog), negitoro sushi, gyouza, Yamazaki lunch paks... not to mention, the easiest place to find unadulterated salads in Japan are convenience stores. Good dressings too (ie, sesame and red shiso), to defeat the purpose of said salads.


                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                I like the honey dijon and habanero bbq versions more from Blue Diamond

                                                                1. re: vttp926

                                                                  Haven't seen those but I'd give them a shot.

                                                                  I have a new favorite flavor of Triscuits- rosemary and olive oil, but the brown rice sweet potato and roasted garlic ones are alright too, if a bit ambitious.


                                                                  1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                    The rosemary and olive oil Triscuits are great.

                                                              2. There's a BP station out in the sticks that I pass by when taking the back roads up to Cleveland that also happens to sell home made pizza by the slice (or you can buy a whole pizza too). I always like to grab one when I'm passing by. They're enormous (not to mention expensive) but so worth it.

                                                                1. Beef Jerky/Tiger's Milk bars!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Bunson

                                                                    ohhh Bucky's has a whole wall of beef jerly!