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Jun 22, 2014 05:34 PM

What foods have you made and then decided store bought was good enough, thank you, based upon cost, time, and taste?

For me:
1) beef jerky
2) cranberry sauce

Riffing off this thread on only-had-from-a-can:

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    1. I've been known to buy a rotisserie chicken. And Oreos. And mayonnaise. All things I can make, with varying degrees of success (she says, defensively).

      7 Replies
      1. re: monfrancisco

        I dont think store bough rotisserie and home roasted are in the same category... home roasted is vastly better imo

        1. re: kpaxonite

          I usually think of GC* rotisserie as an ingredient.

          * older daughter used to think we said "the Go See Store." Which morphed into " the GC" for our entire extended family.

          1. re: kpaxonite

            We live in the land of Publix supermarkets & their chicken makes it easy for you to forego the time & mess of making it yourself.

          2. re: monfrancisco

            I made mayonnaise once, and it tasted exactly like, well, mayonnaise. That was the end of that.

            1. re: plasticanimal

              My mayonnaise never tastes like Hellman's/Best Foods – eggier and richer, and then I usually drop a peeled clove or two of garlic into the running Cuisinart at the beginning, too. But for everyday use or in coleslaw/macaroni salad dressing, it's the jar for me.

              I definitely agree on rotisserie chicken as an ingredient. After a little experimentation, buying one or two is the first step to my making a batch of chicken enchiladas.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Absolutely concur, Will. If your freshly made mayo tastes anything like what comes from the jar, there's something seriously wrong with your recipe (or the ingredients).

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Hellman's/Best Foods has sugar in it. Totally unnecessary. I buy Duke's or Kraft Home style(Brown lid on the jar) no sugar in either.

            2. - Agreed on the cranberry sauce.
              - Homemade jam/preserves. Unless you grow your own fruit or get a special deal, it's expensive to make. I'd also make special ingredient/spice combos, but never again a simple preserve like raspberry. TJ's is better than mine.
              Applesauce is cheaper storebought, too, but I make it because I think the flavor of homemade is worth it.
              - Pumpkin pie. Costco's is 12" diameter, $6, and tasty. Plus, to quote Garrison Keillor, "The best pumpkin pie you have ever tasted isn't all that different from the worst."

              9 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                Yes to costco's pumpkin pie! And most of their pie's, in fact.

                No to saying no to homemade jams. I make my own, buying fruit on sale and without pectin and they are way better and way cheaper than store bought.

                I make strawberry, nectarine, apricot and strawberry jams. Also apple, apricot or fig butter.

                However for raspberries? Yes, I too buy TJ's.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Yes, pumpkin pie. It's not a favourite but I do enjoy it once a year at the usual time. For a while I played around with trying/tweaking different recipes, but I don't make my own pie crust anyway, and eventually realized that I am totally happy with standard recipe grocery store pumpkin pie.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I add butter to my home made applesauce, which definitely elevates it above store-bought. (Ingredients are apples, a little butter, a little apple juice). However, I only make it on special occasions, and rely most often on store bought. I almost never make jams or preserves and we don't eat that much of them. However, I really should make plum jam this year given my once again overly prolific back yard plum tree ....

                    I more or less agree with the quote about the taste of pumpkin pie, but unless we are discussing cooking the pumpkin from scratch, they really aren't much trouble to make.

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      DH would love some of those plums, remember.....he is a plum guy!

                      Disagree on the pie, sorry. I like pumpkin pie that I've made myself. Our mom actually taught me a cooking secret about the pie that works and that I've remembered (I know, hard to believe). She claimed that the standard recipe on the Libby's can has too much liquid (evaporated milk) and to cut it by almost half. I do so and I think she's makes for a little denser pie, but I like denser. And of course I always add more cinnamon and cloves than called for....

                      1. re: janetofreno

                        I also much prefer a homemade pumpkin pie. And I add more ground ginger (and cloves) to the Libby's pumpkin pie recipe.

                    2. re: greygarious

                      TOTALLY Agree on the pumpkin pie, I've tried many of them and they all taste pretty much the same to me!

                      1. re: greygarious

                        I'm going to have to disagree with old Gary. I have a cousin who brought his homemade pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. It was calfshit yellow, and against me better judgement, I tasted it. It looked better than it tasted.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I buy a regionally made freezer jam called Freezerves that pretty much tastes exactly like my homemade jam. Saves me the mess and cleanup and it's available year-round.

                          1. re: gmm

                            not to mention the fruit fly mess and hot kitchen

                        2. Pie
                          Ice Cream
                          All condiments except salad dressing.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: emglow101

                            I always think that ice cream is very easy to make and gives you much better results than store bought. Just today we made raspberry mint sorbet which was much better (smooth consistency nearly like gelato with very small crystals, great flavor) than any commercial product like the raspberry sorbet from Haagen-Dasz

                            1. re: honkman

                              I made Orange Curd ice cream a week ago and it was subtle and lovely. I got the idea from making Nathalie Dupree's Lemon Curd ice cream. That was heavenly stuff.

                            1. re: magiesmom

                              I couldn't disagree more on ricotta. It's incredibly easy to make, tastes 10000x better than store-bought, and it's pretty darn cheap if you get your milk at Costco. I can make about two pounds for around $4 - it would cost me at least twice that to buy it.

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                what recipe/culture do you use? I keep wanting to try it, but haven't quite convinced myself I can pull it off...I don't exactly live in a cheese-friendly environment.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  I just acidify hot milk with vinegar (white or ACV) - about 1/4-1/2 cup per gallon of milk. I add the smaller amount of vinegar as the milk is reaching 180, then allow it to come up to around 183. If I haven't gotten a "clean break" at that point (i.e., the whey is greenish and translucent, no longer milky), I add a little more vinegar and allow it to heat a little more (a degree or two) until I get a good break. Then I turn off the heat and let it sit a few minutes, then drain. I've recently started doing this with my sous vide circulator in plastic bags, which makes it super easy (no more scorched milk to scrub off the bottom of the pan!).

                                  However, I think the real magic of ricotta happens after it's drained. I drain it for about 20-30 minutes, until it's fairly dry and crumbly, and then I add salt and heavy cream to taste - the crumbly curds absorb the cream beautifully and you have total control over the final texture this way, while adding lots of rich creamy flavor. I've even added half and half in a pinch and it's good. I use whole milk to make the curds but I don't like to add cream at that point - the extra fat makes the curds pasty. Better to add it at the end so you can decide exactly how thick/stiff/soft/runny you want it.

                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    thanks -- I'll have to keep this until I get my courage screwed up enough to try it..!