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For Fun: Favorite bad versions of dishes?

Just wondering if anyone else loves a dish or food that is typically regarded as bad...if so, share!

Mine is definitely Kraft Mac & Cheese. I love it just as much as gourmet mac & cheeses even though I know it's NOT mac & cheese...I can't help it!

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  1. Spanish Rice-a-Roni (made with a can of chopped tomatoes with jalapeños) doused with Cholula. Always served with grilled Cajun spiced chicken thighs and whatever green veg is viable...

    1. I'm almost afraid to say this, but in hopes that this is a nonjudgmental thread: Hamburger Helper beef stroganoff. I don't like real B. Stroganoff, but the H-squared version appeals to me.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MrsBridges

        It's actually my favourite of all the HH options. My late husband liked it too.

        1. re: MrsBridges

          this is on my list of "never had" items that are common place

          I made my own once because my hubby was nostalgic for HH Beef stroganoff... he said it just wasn't the same

        2. Jello with fruit cocktail and mini marshmallows. (hangs head in shame)

          4 Replies
          1. re: kitchengardengal

            I also love jello salads. Fruit and jello in really crazy retro molds. I'm not brave enough to make the craziest of the retro recipes, but I do love a nice jello salad!

            1. re: kitchengardengal

              Marshmallows???? You freak! Kidding. Make my salad green. Sugar free green jello with pineapple chunks.

              1. re: kitchengardengal

                favorite of my childhood...especially liked how those canned grapes got plumped in the jello...when I was in my early 20's Mom made a special visit to newly-moved-out me who was recovering from the flu. She brought me prepared jello.

                1. re: kitchengardengal

                  I have two jello faves: The first one my aunt used to make all the time and it consisted of lemon jello, crushed pineapple, vanilla ice cream in a graham cracker crust. I still love that pie! The second was a dessert my mom's cousin used to make and she would never give the recipe. If I remember correctly it was orange jello with mandarin oranges and some sort of crust in a 13x9 pan. To this day, I could still eat both of those desserts.

                2. Tuna noodle casserole. Not any healthy versions but the canned cream of mushroom soup version. Old school style.

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: suzigirl

                      Cream of mushroom soup is the ONLY way to prepare tuna noodle casserole LOL

                      1. re: suzigirl

                        Remember the tuna casserole with crushed potato chips in place of noodles? In hindsight, I bet that our love for it was because the chips & Campbell's COMS made it so salty.

                        1. re: WNYamateur

                          Potato chips were the topping sometimes. That was when it was best. Grandma did breadcrumbs or potato chips. Mom made it without baking. Mom's wasn't as good.

                        2. re: suzigirl

                          I adore canned tuna so I've always wanted to try to make tuna casserole, but I think I'm afraid of falling in love with it!

                        3. Totinos Pizza rolls
                          Top Ramen - ramen noodle bricks

                          1 Reply
                          1. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee raviolis!?! I KNOW it's not real ravioli, but will eat a few cans a year!?!

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: kseiverd

                                Me too. Filling lunch for $1.00? Plus... I kind of like them. Husband enjoys Stove Top Stuffing.

                                1. Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches, fried SPAM, tuna noodle casserole

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: wadejay26

                                    "Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches"

                                    I think these are considered gourmet and cost 6.50 at some food trucks in Portland

                                  2. Canned corned beef hash. Particularly Broadcast brand.

                                    4 Replies
                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                        We put poached on top of ours, so the yolk runs down...... Heaven.

                                      2. re: JoeBabbitt

                                        Split a can between two oven proof dishes. 350 oven for 10-15 minutes. When sizzling, remove and crack two eggs in each one, return to oven 'till whites start to set.

                                        1. re: 3MTA3

                                          yes! I have mini lodge cast irons i do this with...

                                      3. Ah! There is only one Kraft Dinner. It's unique.

                                        1. Totino's Party Pizzas

                                          Liberally dusted with onion powder and dried basil, topped with mozzarella and pepperoni, then dusted again with garlic and habenero or cayenne.

                                          I'll get a plain one sometimes and see how many sliced mushrooms I can put on it.

                                          I think it's the sweet sauce and fried crust that gets me.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: On_yun

                                            I have to eat a few of the Totino's Party Pizzas each year. The crust is the best part...not to mention eating a crisp pizza that contains absolutely no real cheese. (I too doctor up the Totino's pizza.)

                                            A side note...the Totino family restaurant closed just a couple years ago. It was owned by a grandson of Mama Rose and was just a couple miles from our house.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              "The crust is the best part"

                                              Yup, I've even been known to fold it up and eat it like a taco. It's the only frozen pizza I like. The rest are either pretenders or cardboard.

                                            2. re: On_yun

                                              That was my first thought as well! I like the sausage version, sprinkled with parmesan and red pepper flakes. Aside from Lou Malnati's, I don't usually like the sausage on most pizzas. Or in this case maybe I should say I like the "sausage" version.

                                              1. re: gmm

                                                I get the sausage version too, the regular pepperoni tastes weird and I'm adding my own pepperoni so don't get sliced pepperoni either. Jalapeños are good on the "sausage product" topped along with black olives. It's one of those don't ask don't tell things I guess. Did you know you can put lettuce in the middle before you fold it up? And tomato? You can even get plain cheese and add cilantro and leftover taco meat...
                                                I'm laughing at the people with their nose up, sorry but I love these things when I get done with them. I work nights, sue me.

                                            3. I don't know if there is a "good" version of this, but I love tater tot breakfast casserole!

                                              sausage, eggs, cheese, tatertots! Yum!

                                              1. McDonalds double cheeseburger. The more London is in thrall to gourmet burgers the more I crave them. No unnecessary lettuce or tomato. Just 2 patties, gooey, cheap cheese (there's not enough cheese on the single cheese burger), gherkins,onions and ketchup. It tastes like it's really bad for you, which is sometimes just what you need (well want anyway).

                                                1. Hormel canned Tamales. Sauce must be sopped up with warm sourdough bread dripping with butter.

                                                  1. There is no such thing as bad pizza.

                                                    1. i always have, and always will love spaghettio's with meatballs.

                                                      i suppose thats a bad version of a dish?

                                                      1. Stouffer's Lasagna - I forgot that I liked it until my mom broke her wrist and we were helping her out, She's a swim coach and some of her swim coach friends brought it over for her so she didn't have to try and cook with her wrist broken.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                          I have to doctor it up but it's just a mess of starchy sweet caramelized tomatoey goodness huh?


                                                          1. re: On_yun

                                                            Hahahaha Yeah. and at the end you can take a piece of bread and sop up what is left of the tomato sauce.

                                                        2. Kraft Mac & Cheese here, too. It was incredibly exotic when (and where) I grew up. There were other crappy versions of foods I liked as a kid, but no more. The blue box is still acceptable, though I always add stuff.

                                                          I think that pretty much covers it.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            Ooo…as a Kraft Mac & Cheese enthusiast, what do you add?

                                                            1. re: GallopingGargoyles

                                                              I haven't made it in forevah, but my go-to add-ins were ground beef or pan-fried spicy chicken breast (cubed), mushrooms, green or red peppers, and hot sauce. Maybe some grated, extra sharp cheddar, too.

                                                            2. re: linguafood

                                                              Kraft M&C was a special dinner we got when dad was out of town (rare). My mom added cut up hot dogs. We thought that was livin' large.

                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                    Hah! I guess if your talking about instead of homemade chocolate chip cookies and Milk. I take Nilla Wafers and dip them in a little neutella.

                                                                1. 3 for a dollar Ramen Noodles chicken flavor. It's not gourmet chicken noodle soup but for 33c you can't beat it for a quick lunch.

                                                                  1. Sure, lots!

                                                                    -My mom used to leave giant pans filled with Rice-a-Roni for my sister and me to eat during the day in the summer, so it has nostalgic appeal. I remember I always liked the seashell shaped pasta with the cheese sauce best.

                                                                    -Oreos, marshmallows, granola bars, and other processed "snacky" foods, although I'm not sure if that's what you were asking.

                                                                    -I occasionally pour Coffee Mate into my coffee. You know, the "dairy product" that doesn't go bad if you leave it out for a day or two? I usually do this only with really bad coffee however.

                                                                    -I like Jell-O too but have never had it with marshmallows. I actually once made a Jell-O "salad" with Coca-Cola and pitted cherries that was pretty excellent.

                                                                    1. Growing up my mom would make us fake philly cheese steaks by using ground beef crumbled in a pan and melted provolone cheese on little hoagie rolls.

                                                                      Those little things were addictive. Every so often I ask my mom to make them still.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                        my bio dad makes them with "steak-ums" and hotdog buns no provolone spray cheeze from a can

                                                                      2. Stauffers macaroni and cheese with broccoli. I heat it in microwave for 4 1/2 min, mix it up all together and add lots of freshly ground black pepper. Heat it for another 1 1/2 min.

                                                                        It's really delicious! And you're getting vegies too! :)

                                                                        1. My Mother used to make mini pizza's as party food.

                                                                          Get a loaf of party rye bread (it's a thin sliced loaf perhaps 2" wide). To assemble spread tomato paste on each slice. Add a slice of pepperoni. Top with cheese. I think she used grated mozzarella. Place on a baking sheet and pop under the broiler until cheese bubble and melts. If the pepperoni gets a little crisp it's even better!