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What store bought food do you "doctor up"?

I was just sitting here daydreaming about cinnamon rolls, and thinking that they never have enough gooey goodness for my tastes. So I was thinking that next time I make the store bought ones, I'm going to unroll them and add more (homeade) cinnamon filling, and then make a cream cheese frosting to add on top of the frosting it comes with. What store bought food do you make your own?

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  1. I like your idea with the cinnamon rolls!

    I'm overseas and can't get Italian sausage or my favorite, Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage, so I doctor up a package of ground pork, let it sit in the fridge over night and press-on with my recipes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FIMLL

      Here in us, to avoid lymph glands (why do they use that), I season ground pork to make mexican chorizo. Very easy. Now if I could make Spanish chorizo or Portuguese sausage...

    2. Canned baked beans have to be #1. If I'm doing a nice spread for company I'll make my own. If it's just me and the wife, quite often I'll just doctor a can. Even the pros do that.

      I import cans of Skyline Chili as well. It's a bit salty and a bit skimpy on meat. Otherwise good though. So sometimes I'll fry up a bit more ground beef and add it.

      Now that you mention it, other than above and soup, I don't do heat and serve from cans. Any cans I've got are ingredients.


      4 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        My pedantic side rears its ugly head: true Cincy chili (I'm a native) has boiled, not fried, ground beef. However, carry on to your chilihead's delight. Now I'll get flamed from the 999 Cincy chili police.

        1. re: pine time

          Yes I know. When I make it from scratch I boil the meat.
          I only fry it for convenience sake.


          1. re: Davwud

            For penance, eat it only as a 4-way, not a 5-way. Gee, that sounds dirty for the uninitiated.

            1. re: pine time

              Actually, when I do that it's only when I'm pouring it over hot dogs. They get mustard, onion, hotsauce and as much cheese as I figure I can handle.
              Sometimes I have buns under them. Other times I'll just do the doggies like Weiners and Beans.

      2. Ramen! Drained and stir-fried with vegetables; or made with less water so it's not soupy (but still moist), then stirred with butter and half the seasoning pack.

        6 Replies
        1. re: kmanihot

          And I also add small frozen shrimp to it, the Oriental flavor, and thinly sliced fresh mushrooms, and chives, will also throw some fresh baby spinach. Who says it has to be unhealthy??

          1. re: Nanzi

            I add frozen broccoli to the beef flavor. Not exactly healthy, but at least I get a vegetable in there.

          2. re: kmanihot

            One of my friends always prepared it that way. Her daughter was ten before she even realized it was intended to be a noodle soup.

            1. re: kmanihot

              I don't use the seasoning pack/butter. I use Better then Bullion to make it. Sometimes its soup, sometimes I do it with stir-fry.

              1. re: kmanihot

                i'm glad i'm not the only one! :)

                another way to eat it was a favorite comfort food growing up. my grandma made the noodles without the seasoning packet, drained them, added olive oil and her homemade tomato sauce (peeled, seeded tomatoes stewed with onion and garlic, then pureed in the blender till it turned an orange hue and acquired a creamy, smooth texture). and sometimes she just made the noodles with garlic and olive oil.

                1. re: kmanihot

                  Ramen, many years ago, used to come with a powdered tomato packet. Now I just toss the salt packet that comes with ramen. Just cook with water until almost soft, drain, toss in some leftover spaghetti sauce. Grandboys like it much better than chicken/salt ramen.

                2. I find boiling and peeling potatoes for potato salad a big bore so I buy some generic potato salad from the deli and add some hard boiled eggs, sweet pickle relish, chopped celery, s&p, and additional mayo if needed.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MARISKANY

                    Potato salad here, too. I usually add lots of mustard, the way my Mom made hers.

                    1. re: MARISKANY

                      A good friend slices radishes to top store-bought, served at pot-lucks and parties in her own large bowl.

                      1. re: MARISKANY

                        Not a bad idea! Never thought of it.

                        1. re: MARISKANY

                          Buy some egg salad at the same time, mix it with the bought potato salad, and skip boiling and peeling eggs.

                        2. I turn TJ's frozen brown rice into an easy stir fried rice as a more interesting side dish than on its own.

                          When a nasty cold strikes I add freshly grated ginger, minced garlic and hot sauce to canned chicken noodle soup

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foodieX2

                            I doctor up canned soup/broth too!

                          2. Tater tots. Fry them up with onions and jalapenos for a breakfast treat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tcamp

                              Tater tots baked till nice and crispy, covered with a can of Dawn Fresh mushroom steak sauce and topped with cheese ( ideally curds from River Rat cheese in NY, but decent mozzarella, cubed small, folded in while still hot will do)

                              Redneck Poutine!

                            2. Barbecue sauce. I usually buy whatever's on sale, then doctor it up to my liking by adding soy sauce, siracha, mustard... whatever I'm in the mood for.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: susan1353

                                Amen. I've tried bunches of from scratch BBQ sauces, only to return to some basic bottled ones, to which I add my own touches However, I always look for the least sweet bottled ones--can't stand candified BBQ sauce.

                                1. re: pine time

                                  +2 on the too sweet bbq sauce - I add a lot of vinegar (apple cyder or red wine normally).

                                  Normally at the bbq I will thin it further with some beer - I works pretty well.

                                  1. re: sparky403

                                    Not being a beer drinker, I thin it further with leftover coffee. Works really well, with a great flavor.

                              2. Mac and Cheese, when the kids were home. One daughter tried all kinds of brands trying to find the one I used for her kids & family. She finally asked me.

                                1. Frozen pizza is made edible with a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly grated (real) Parm.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Pwmfan

                                    Yep! I also sometimes dress it up with crumbled feta and/or roasted garlic.

                                    1. re: Soul Vole

                                      I buy Amy's frozen cheese pizza and add about 5 slices of provolone to it and bake it in a convection oven. Sometimes we then top it with drained canned pears - weird but really good.

                                  2. Jarred pasta sauce - add some wine, fresh herbs, garlic.

                                    There was a great thread similar to but not the same as this a while ago, here's the link http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9009...

                                    1. Rotisserie chicken--the neutral flavored kind. I've really only started this summer when it's been too hot to roast a chicken completely. I hack it into normal pieces like drumsticks, breasts, etc. and either brush them down with some sauce or rub with a spice mix and just bake it off for another 10 minutes, then top off with a handful of finely chopped herbs.

                                      1. Campbells chicken noodle, add juice of one lemon, heat to near boiling and whisk in stirred egg. Yum