Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Food => Topic started by: veryfluffy on April 18, 2012, 06:34:53 AM

Title: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: veryfluffy on April 18, 2012, 06:34:53 AM
One of the things I have noticed about American recipes is how they often start off with some kind of mix or tinned prepared product as the basis for a dish. So when I search for certain cake recipes, they will be based around a lemon or "yellow" cake mix, then add certain ingredients. Or the recipe will rely on a tin of a certain soup.

This is completely different in the UK. People either use the ready-prepared mix or jar of stuff more or less as is, or they make a dish using a recipe that prepares just about everything from basic ingredients. Yes, they might use stock cubes or tinned chickpeas instead of preparing these from fresh, and I even once went to a cooking class given by a top chef and he said not to bother making your own puff pastry because the bought stuff was just as good. But I've never seen a British recipe that used a cake mix or a tin of cream soup.  Delia Smith caused a bit of a ruckus when she put out "How to Cheat at Cooking", where each recipe might use one pre-prepared ingredient -- which was often quite a pricey item from Marks and Spencer, for example.

How common is it really to make recipes like this?

Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: nrb80 on April 18, 2012, 07:00:08 AM
There are a lot of American recipes of that nature that are driven by food companies' marketing departments and have been for over 60 years.  We even have a million dollar cooking contest sponsored by Pillsbury for the best riff off a Pillsbury product.  Some of those recipes are driven by nostalgia (i.e. Green bean casserole), some are driven by convenience for quick cooking -- its easier to make instant pudding, throw in premade graham cracker crust, and slice fruit on top than make a vanilla custard pie.  In fact, that's tonight's dessert at our house - graham cracker premade crusts, 5 minute instant vanilla pudding, and sliced strawberries. 

I don't think its "typical" of American cooking - actually I think the riffs on premade foods are mostly an older style of cooking in the US, though the Cake Mix Doctor was from the 90s I think.  Its just another genre of recipes.   
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: cicero on April 18, 2012, 07:25:50 AM
I live in Israel - here meals are more based on fresh produce than convenience foods and i think most people tend to still make food from scratch.

people might buy certain convenient components, such as bags of cut lettuce or frozen veg but for the most part people still buy fresh. every so often some entreponeur will try to market some convience item like sliced mushrooms or peeled pomelas but i notice tht they usually stay on the shelves.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Bright on April 18, 2012, 07:53:05 AM
I'm British too and I have noticed this tendency for American recipes to contain packs and tins of soups etc.
 
When I was a child, about 20 years ago, I was so very, very sad when my mother discovered a cheat for making lasagne. Rather than making up a white sauce, she started using cream of mushroom soup. I loathe mushrooms, and was forced to eat around the mushroom soup. :(

She'd also make homemade soup, but she'd use canned soup as a base for it. She'd do minestrone and throw in a can of heinz tomato into the fresh ingredients to give it body, and her pea and ham soup would usually have a tin of pea and ham as a base.

So it's not just an American thing. I liked Delia's How to Cheat series, if just because she pointed out some really good convenience foods.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: shhh its me on April 18, 2012, 08:05:49 AM
  It's part marketing , part knowledge and part convenience.  I do actually think some things pretty normal.  Cream soups as part of a larger dish being one the big ones. I think part of the reason is we don't have the same cream you do in the UK.  Plus If your mom or grandma made Swedish meatballs with cream of mushroom soup , that's likely to be the taste your familiar with and there a good chance that's how you learned to make it.  Using that as an example I'd have to deconstruct the tinned soup first (making the amount of creamed soups a recipe calls for will almost always cost more then a tin), plus modify the recipe to include soup and not condensed soup.  That's a lot of trial and error in which can get real expensive plus the extra hours of making the soup/sauce once you get it right to change a recipe you already like.  It may be weird but if I was serving cream of mushroom soup as soup I wouldn't think of using tinned soup.   I know a lot more people who bake at least sometimes from scratch then who won't use a tinned cream soup.

nrb80 was right there is also still a ton  marketing aimed at incorporating prepackaged foods into recipes. On top of recipe contests which many companies have there are recipes.......... on the packages , in TV commercials,  cookbooks, in the coupon section on the newspaper conveniently often with a coupon for the product, in the grocery store  and company websites.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Zilla on April 18, 2012, 08:24:02 AM
I actively avoid recipes that call for tinned soups or packets.  I won't even use bouillion cubes. (I prefer stock).


So the majority of the recipes I use don't call for these short cuts thankfully.


I agree with others, the prolific amount of branding for these shortcuts is quite dominant in certain areas.  I wonder though is it because America is a "newer" country and when people first came here, and life was hard settling this area, that when people invented easier ways to cook, they jumped on it.  Especially since it was hard to import it across the vast lands that made up of America.  And then it just became part of our "American" cuisine?  I can't express it well but do you understand what I mean?
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2012, 08:48:10 AM
I actively avoid recipes that call for tinned soups or packets.  I won't even use bouillion cubes. (I prefer stock).


So the majority of the recipes I use don't call for these short cuts thankfully.


I agree with others, the prolific amount of branding for these shortcuts is quite dominant in certain areas.  I wonder though is it because America is a "newer" country and when people first came here, and life was hard settling this area, that when people invented easier ways to cook, they jumped on it.  Especially since it was hard to import it across the vast lands that made up of America.  And then it just became part of our "American" cuisine?  I can't express it well but do you understand what I mean?

No, I don't believe that is the reason as this use of canned or boxed items really took off in the 1950's when supermarkets were over flowing with packaged items.  The "housewife" was bombarded with images of "why spend 2 hours making your own broth when you can just pop open a can and then spend your afternoon playing bridge".

Campbell's was a marketing genius having food teams coming up with ways to substitute their soups in place of standard sauces. Example is the holiday favorite of green bean casserole that is normally prepared today canned mushroom soup.  Few people realize this was a replacement for a basic white sauce and that the recipe can be prepared without canned soup. 

I think the idea of dressing up cake mixes became popular in the 70's.  But in the US, sales of cake mixes is down dramatically because so many people have switched bake to scratch baking.  But Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker will keep trying.

But it's was interesting to me that the British use less canned food.  I loved watching the BBC Come Dine with Me series and got the impression from that show that prepared product use was the norm for for home cooks.

Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Zilla on April 18, 2012, 08:57:16 AM

Snipped from pame:


No, I don't believe that is the reason as this use of canned or boxed items really took off in the 1950's when supermarkets were over flowing with packaged items.  The "housewife" was bombarded with images of "why spend 2 hours making your own broth when you can just pop open a can and then spend your afternoon playing bridge".





Canning and mixes were actually available and in widespread use in the 1800's.  Well before the 1950's which probably made it "fashionable".
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2012, 09:11:51 AM

Snipped from pame:


No, I don't believe that is the reason as this use of canned or boxed items really took off in the 1950's when supermarkets were over flowing with packaged items.  The "housewife" was bombarded with images of "why spend 2 hours making your own broth when you can just pop open a can and then spend your afternoon playing bridge".





Canning and mixes were actually available and in widespread use in the 1800's.  Well before the 1950's which probably made it "fashionable".
. Agree but as I stated, the supermarkets, in even small communities, made the products more readily available, and the mass marketing really pushed the concept.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Zilla on April 18, 2012, 09:21:23 AM

Snipped from pame:


No, I don't believe that is the reason as this use of canned or boxed items really took off in the 1950's when supermarkets were over flowing with packaged items.  The "housewife" was bombarded with images of "why spend 2 hours making your own broth when you can just pop open a can and then spend your afternoon playing bridge".





Canning and mixes were actually available and in widespread use in the 1800's.  Well before the 1950's which probably made it "fashionable".
. Agree but as I stated, the supermarkets, in even small communities, made the products more readily available, and the mass marketing really pushed the concept.


Err Right, like I also stated, made it "fashionable", which is usually the goal of mass marketing.  At least here in the US.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Sophia on April 18, 2012, 09:49:59 AM
There is also that Americans grocery shop a lot less often.  It was one thing that shocked me when I was in Germany.  People seemed to stop off at the grocery store every other day.  I like the once every two weeks schedule.  The only trouble with not shopping very often is that you don't have the fresh foods around. 

Then you have that the mixes are fairly cheap.  Cake mixes for example which are basically cake flour are cheaper than cake flour if you stock up when the mix is on sale. 

Also, it is very common to have recipe contests where the only requirement is that you include XYZ Brand Name ingredient.  The winning recipes then get put into magazines, then passed around ... 

I was watching a show on the food channel and they said when canned food got really big (I think early 50's) that grocery stores would have an entire aisle of canned stuff. 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: shhh its me on April 18, 2012, 10:03:24 AM

Snipped from pame:


No, I don't believe that is the reason as this use of canned or boxed items really took off in the 1950's when supermarkets were over flowing with packaged items.  The "housewife" was bombarded with images of "why spend 2 hours making your own broth when you can just pop open a can and then spend your afternoon playing bridge".





Canning and mixes were actually available and in widespread use in the 1800's.  Well before the 1950's which probably made it "fashionable".
. Agree but as I stated, the supermarkets, in even small communities, made the products more readily available, and the mass marketing really pushed the concept.


Err Right, like I also stated, made it "fashionable", which is usually the goal of mass marketing.  At least here in the US.

  It's not "why do American use so many canned goods?"  , it's "why do American see a can of soup as an ingredient? when in England it's a can of soup"  There are proportionally just as many canned things in England(not always the same type of food)

It might have been the negative view of canned goods , possible brought on by a dependence when settling Alaska etc. or the 30s and 40 image of a Hobo eating a can of bean over a garbage can fire .Canned food was for camping and cowboy.  I think that  forced the manufactures to change their markiting.  I think we still have a more negative view of canned goods then England ,  it's perfectly acceptable to get some canned Heintz baked beans with your breakfast in a  nice restaurant in England and dinners still advertise mushy peas.  My husband has often commented that in England he had more choice of ready meals and that those meals were better. They have canned "cakes" in England (I say cake but I'm sure that spotted wingadingdingy or treacle is officially considered  cake)

Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: CakeBeret on April 18, 2012, 10:35:52 AM
In my circle, it's uncommon to not use canned stuff or mixes. In fact, I'm considered a radical for not using them.

Growing up, cream of mushroom soup was a staple. Beans come out of a can. Soups, stews, and cuts of meat were flavored from a packet. When I moved out of my mom's home and then got married, I had no clue how to cook without those things. I was legitimately confounded at the idea of making, say, green bean casserole or potato soup without cream of mushroom soup. And actually, I had a hard time finding recipes for the things I wanted to cook that did not use those ingredients.

It took a couple years and some research and experimentation to learn to cook without canned goods and mixes. Now I am a very competent cook and I don't have to rely on canned, boxed, or packaged goods to make a great meal. In fact, at Easter someone forgot to bring the requisite "3 cans of green beans and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup" for the green bean casserole. In my family no holiday meal is complete without it, so I made a good flavorful white sauce and mixed it into some frozen green beans. It was very tasty. :)
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: veryfluffy on April 18, 2012, 01:22:41 PM
It's not the existence of canned foods or prepacked mixes -- the stores are full of those here, every conceivable vegetable, soup, sauce, etc. Kits to prepare everything, to pretend you have cooked it for around the same price as a ready-meal. And there are aisles and aisles of ready-meals in the supermarket. And some people never, ever cook anything from scratch and rely completely on prepare foods to be heated up, and would never think of baking something since you can get very good everything readymade for not much more than it costs to make. It's more the use of mixes and tinned items in recipes that doesn't seem to happen much here. It's like a dichotomy between fresh ingredients vs mixes or premade food, where in the US is a continuum that sees a lot of people using prepared items as ingredients to some degree or other.

Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on April 19, 2012, 07:06:06 PM
As other posters have said, published recipes can give the impression that people in the US depend heavily on mixes and prepared foods.  I was once asked by a Irishman if I knew what a parsnip was.  He was not joking.  He seriously doubted if Americans ate any fresh vegetables or gardened. 

Many of the recipes online are relics from a time when mixes and kits were thought to be 'modern' and 'convenient'.  This was in the 1950s and 1960s when my parents bought their first refrigerator with a freezer on top.  We still had the garden in the back yard but hey, we could enjoy the novelty of TV Dinners. 

My mother and I shopped in very different ways.  She made a once a week trip to a big Supermarket where she bought everything for the week.  I live in a neighborhood where I have many choices and shop for food every day.  There are places I can go to buy fresh meat, fresh fish and fresh produce. 

  Yes, I use canned tomatoes for my home-made pasta sauce but it isn't open a jar and pour it on. 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: kareng57 on April 19, 2012, 08:04:37 PM
It's reasonably common in Canada too - but there are differences.  Sometimes American recipes call for items that just aren't available here, even fairly close to the border - such as creamed-chipped-beef, and canned fried onions.

I used to fairly regularly buy cases of cream-of-mushroom soup, and I can't think of the last time that I actually used one to prepare.....mushroom soup.

Lots of recipes calling for frozen or canned food were developed during the 1950s, it's true - but this was a time when fresh produce, year-round, wasn't nearly as available as it is now, in many locations.  Plus, as PPs have said, many folks in North America were starting to settle in suburbs where quite often the housewife didn't have a car always available, and there weren't grocery stores just around the corner as there would have been in Big City.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: blue2000 on April 20, 2012, 03:18:49 AM
I've seen canned fried onions in stores in Southern Ontario - never seen anyone buy them or use them, though.

It is the few people that use products for everything that get me. Someone I know puts ketchup (half a bottle, I think?) in her spaghetti sauce. I heard from another person that her BIL makes macaroni and cheese with just noodles and Cheez Whiz. Their kids are going to grow up thinking real food is weird.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 22, 2012, 12:49:15 AM
Funny, in my variety of Asian ethnic heritage, as a rule, we do not cook with ready-made items...for our ethnic dishes.  However, I noticed that there is a dish or two that when using American items, incorporate canned meats, like Spam or corned beef (I was an adult before I learned that corned beef didn't normally come in a can).  I'm pretty sure the reason for the canned meats comes from wartime though.

As far as using ready-made items regularly in American recipes, I think it might be a cultural thing and while I was born and raised in the US, so I'm very much American, among the people I know, we don't, for the most part, cook with ready-made items or rely on already prepared foods for our meals.  The recipes I see don't rely on these items either (a colleague of DF's, knowing how much I love to cook and bake, actually, unsolicited, sent him some recipes to send to me, thinking they were great, and they were atrocious-looking to me and did, mostly, rely on opening cans of stuff here and there in order to "cook" -- I did let him know there was no way I was making these things as they didn't even sound tasty to me).

Anyway, when I was a young child with my mother in the grocery store, I asked her why she didn't buy frozen dinners like we saw advertised so much on the TV.  She said, "Those are for lazy people."  That's always stuck in my head, and I thought she was just being really judgmental.  However, now, I realize she wanted to make sure we had healthy diets and didn't rely on pre-made and/or processed foods.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on April 23, 2012, 10:20:23 AM
Years ago, I heard a joke that fits on this thread. 

'You know you have a balanced meal when the cans nest'.

For some American 'classics', prepared mixes are a necessity.  California dip is an example.  This is composed of powdered onion soup mix and sour cream.  There's just no other way to make this. 

However, there are home-made versions of prepared foods that are both cheaper and better.  Mr. Thipu and I loved Shake & Bake for chicken and pork chops.  However, we were finding that the coating often cost more than the meat.  We found a tastier, less salty, and cheaper version that doesn't take a lot of time and effort to make.  We can also customize it with ground nuts or cheese.  We've been using that for several years.

Jane and Michael Stern's 'Square Meals' is an excellent source for both real food and mid-century abominations.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: CakeBeret on April 23, 2012, 10:31:18 AM
I ran into this again this weekend. I wanted to make a lime cake. The majority of the recipes I found called for (a) boxed lemon cake mix, (b) instant lime jello, or (c) both.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Zilla on April 23, 2012, 12:00:02 PM
I ran into this again this weekend. I wanted to make a lime cake. The majority of the recipes I found called for (a) boxed lemon cake mix, (b) instant lime jello, or (c) both.


I know!  I was trying to find a nice lemon muffin recipe and kept running into lemon pudding + yellow cake mix.   Nooooo.  And what's silly is that making homemade cake is so simple and much more flavorful than the boxed mixes. :(


But I persisted and found some. :D
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: turtleIScream on April 23, 2012, 01:05:21 PM
I ran into this again this weekend. I wanted to make a lime cake. The majority of the recipes I found called for (a) boxed lemon cake mix, (b) instant lime jello, or (c) both.


I know!  I was trying to find a nice lemon muffin recipe and kept running into lemon pudding + yellow cake mix.   Nooooo.  And what's silly is that making homemade cake is so simple and much more flavorful than the boxed mixes. :(


But I persisted and found some. :D

Could you let me know where I can find this recipe, please? I have been moving towards making more things from scratch, and only recently learned how to make cakes and muffins not from a mix. My daughter loves lemon flavored anything, but I'm too scared to attempt just adding lemon to an existing recipe (wouldn't the acidity of lemon change the batter?) and everything I find calls for pudding mix, or jello mix, or cake mix. Very frustrating!
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Zilla on April 23, 2012, 01:45:17 PM
I ran into this again this weekend. I wanted to make a lime cake. The majority of the recipes I found called for (a) boxed lemon cake mix, (b) instant lime jello, or (c) both.





I know!  I was trying to find a nice lemon muffin recipe and kept running into lemon pudding + yellow cake mix.   Nooooo.  And what's silly is that making homemade cake is so simple and much more flavorful than the boxed mixes. :(


But I persisted and found some. :D

Could you let me know where I can find this recipe, please? I have been moving towards making more things from scratch, and only recently learned how to make cakes and muffins not from a mix. My daughter loves lemon flavored anything, but I'm too scared to attempt just adding lemon to an existing recipe (wouldn't the acidity of lemon change the batter?) and everything I find calls for pudding mix, or jello mix, or cake mix. Very frustrating!


http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Glazed-Butter-Cake-352322 (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Glazed-Butter-Cake-352322)


Great ways to add lemon and lime flavors is through the zest, juice and those dehydrated lemon/lime juices. Link below.  They give a natural punch of flavor without danger of curdling or watering out the recipe.


http://www.truelemon.com/ (http://www.truelemon.com/) 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: turtleIScream on April 23, 2012, 02:06:17 PM
I ran into this again this weekend. I wanted to make a lime cake. The majority of the recipes I found called for (a) boxed lemon cake mix, (b) instant lime jello, or (c) both.





I know!  I was trying to find a nice lemon muffin recipe and kept running into lemon pudding + yellow cake mix.   Nooooo.  And what's silly is that making homemade cake is so simple and much more flavorful than the boxed mixes. :(


But I persisted and found some. :D

Could you let me know where I can find this recipe, please? I have been moving towards making more things from scratch, and only recently learned how to make cakes and muffins not from a mix. My daughter loves lemon flavored anything, but I'm too scared to attempt just adding lemon to an existing recipe (wouldn't the acidity of lemon change the batter?) and everything I find calls for pudding mix, or jello mix, or cake mix. Very frustrating!


http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Glazed-Butter-Cake-352322 (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Glazed-Butter-Cake-352322)


Great ways to add lemon and lime flavors is through the zest, juice and those dehydrated lemon/lime juices. Link below.  They give a natural punch of flavor without danger of curdling or watering out the recipe.


http://www.truelemon.com/ (http://www.truelemon.com/)

Thanks for the links and info!
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: audrey1962 on April 23, 2012, 03:34:12 PM
I collect vintage cookbooks and this has been trending for quite some time. Some of the cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s call this the "modern" way of cooking and (in their opinion) it's more casual and frees up the hostess to do other things. It's seen as an advantage for the "working wife/career girl" as well. I have heard that the slow food movement was a reaction to this.

For some vintage samples: http://www.woodlandfarmsantiques.com/WFAbeta2/UploadPagesOCT_07/CookbooksOCT_07/index.html

Specifically from the 1950s:
http://www.woodlandfarmsantiques.com/WFAbeta2/UploadPagesOCT_07/CookbooksOCT_07/source/39.html

ETA: Here's another great link: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-canned-food.htm
"But canned goods didn't really take off until the 1860s. Civil War soldiers in the United States relied on canned goods, and they returned home touting their taste and value. The railroad industry began using canned goods to transport local meats and vegetables across the country. By the 1870s, the United States dominated the canning industry and was exporting vast quantities of salmon and other foods around the world [source: Shepard]."

Also check out: http://www.rubylane.com/item/149511-890089/Vintage-1960s-Campbell-Cook-Book
From the cookbook: This 1960's Campbell Cook Book is dedicated "To all the modern, young-thinking cooks who enjoy using convenience foods in quick, easy recipes... to make family meals more tempting, party meals more exciting, and their own lives more satisfying".
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: veryfluffy on April 23, 2012, 04:59:15 PM

However, there are home-made versions of prepared foods that are both cheaper and better.  Mr. Thipu and I loved Shake & Bake for chicken and pork chops.  However, we were finding that the coating often cost more than the meat.  We found a tastier, less salty, and cheaper version that doesn't take a lot of time and effort to make. 

Shake & Bake chicken is actually a favourite of ours -- I have people bring me some when they come over to the UK to visit! So please please post your recipe!!!
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on April 24, 2012, 07:51:21 AM
The Shake-n-Bake substitute is dead easy.

In a shallow bowl whisk up an egg white with a little milk.

Mix breadcrumbs with a little neutral vegetable oil. 

Add your seasonings, dip meat in the egg and milk mixture, then pat on the breadcrumb mix.

For chicken we like to mix in Italian seasoning and grated hard cheese.

For pork chops,  sage and ground walnuts are nice.

Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Jones on April 24, 2012, 08:36:15 AM
I have a hard time baking gluten free without using the mixes. Maybe someday I can figure out the correct portions of white vs. brown rice flour, tapioca starch and xantham gum. But for now the mixes make things easier and, if I'm careful, cheaper. There's nothing worse than trying a new recipe, sure that you have it right this time, and it smells fantastic...then turns out a huge flop. I think I actually had a mental breakdown due to this once.  :P  :)

As for the fresh products: I do buy fresh products on a weekly basis, and grow my own; however, canning my own food and purchasing cans of veg result in my knowing that I have food for my family for 3-4 months should anything happen. I don't want my food to expire and be useless when I need it, though, so I use it as a supplement now and replenish in the fall/spring when the stores have big sales.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: shhh its me on April 25, 2012, 04:38:38 AM
I ran into this again this weekend. I wanted to make a lime cake. The majority of the recipes I found called for (a) boxed lemon cake mix, (b) instant lime jello, or (c) both.





I know!  I was trying to find a nice lemon muffin recipe and kept running into lemon pudding + yellow cake mix.   Nooooo.  And what's silly is that making homemade cake is so simple and much more flavorful than the boxed mixes. :(


But I persisted and found some. :D

Could you let me know where I can find this recipe, please? I have been moving towards making more things from scratch, and only recently learned how to make cakes and muffins not from a mix. My daughter loves lemon flavored anything, but I'm too scared to attempt just adding lemon to an existing recipe (wouldn't the acidity of lemon change the batter?) and everything I find calls for pudding mix, or jello mix, or cake mix. Very frustrating!


http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Glazed-Butter-Cake-352322 (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Glazed-Butter-Cake-352322)


Great ways to add lemon and lime flavors is through the zest, juice and those dehydrated lemon/lime juices. Link below.  They give a natural punch of flavor without danger of curdling or watering out the recipe.


http://www.truelemon.com/ (http://www.truelemon.com/)

Thanks for the links and info!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/lemon-layer-cake-recipe/index.html

I thought I'd include the one I use too.   This is the first cake I made from scratch. I make the cake on a regular basis , it always comes out yummy and I found it to be easy.  I use raspberry jam instead of the lemon filling.   
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: CakeEater on April 25, 2012, 06:39:34 AM
I couldn't believe, when I was in the UK, how many frozen meals there were. Aisles of them! Here is Australia, there's a smallish section, but nothing like there. I like to read baking blogs - some are from the US, and there seems like a lot of very specific pre-prepared ingredients. For example, in our supermarkets, there might be two varieties of cookie dough. Cake blogs refer to seemingly endless varieties of cookie dough.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Zilla on April 25, 2012, 07:46:13 AM
I couldn't believe, when I was in the UK, how many frozen meals there were. Aisles of them! Here is Australia, there's a smallish section, but nothing like there. I like to read baking blogs - some are from the US, and there seems like a lot of very specific pre-prepared ingredients. For example, in our supermarkets, there might be two varieties of cookie dough. Cake blogs refer to seemingly endless varieties of cookie dough.


In the supermarkets, I usually only see 2 types, sugar and chocolate chip dough in the refrigerator section. (break off sheets or tubes)


In the freezer section there is a small section on specialty ones that have been frozen from "famous" bakeries.


I wonder what they are talking about.  Now in the baking aisle we do have about 10 different kinds of cookie mixes where all you need to do is add water/eggs etc to it.  Are they talking about those?
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Venus193 on April 25, 2012, 08:54:44 AM
There is another issue about "convenience" recipes, which is that families are smaller than in generations past.  Cooking from scratch is more cost-effective and more desirable when one is cooking for more than two people because you don't have so many leftovers.  This is particularly true for people who live in apartments and therefore don't have deep-freeze units to put leftovers in.  I haven't made lasagna in a zillion years because I live alone.  If I'm in the mood for it I go to the little pizza/pasta restaurant around the corner for an order that I can get two meals out of; the frozen stuff just doesn't sound appealing to me.

A few weeks ago I made seafood bisque from scratch for the first time.  It was insanely delicious but it cost me $15 to make three quarts while an envelope of the dried product (which would require a little revision) would cost about $1.69 with a 1 quart yield.

On the other hand, some prepackaged things are worth it because the extra work would be untenable.  For Easter Sunday dessert I made a 10" Broken Window Glass Cake like the one on the right:

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1Xyfy1X16i4/Tjnxr1TUPhI/AAAAAAAAAE8/rcDTFtX8DIg/s1600/BROKEN+WINDOW+GLASS+CAKE.jpg)

It comes from this book:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rLPciKK9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Brunhilde's sister joked that this was "very Martha Stewart", but the reality is that Martha would start with Knox Unflavored Gelatin and add her own fruit flavors before doing this.  Or maybe start with pectin or cow hooves....
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: marcel on April 25, 2012, 09:40:18 AM
For some American 'classics', prepared mixes are a necessity.  California dip is an example.  This is composed of powdered onion soup mix and sour cream.  There's just no other way to make this. 
There always is another way to make it. Every recipe that can be made with pre-packaged foodstuffs, can be made from scratch. The issue is that some recipes were first invented with mixes, and then people started thinking how they could replace the mixes with fresh ingredients, and California dip is an example of this.

Here is one of several recipes for California dip that does not use powdered soup mix.
http://www.coconutandlime.com/2006/01/california-dip.html (http://www.coconutandlime.com/2006/01/california-dip.html)
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on April 25, 2012, 09:46:55 AM
Thank you, Marcel. 

It's good to know that these alternatives exist although we haven't made California dip for at least a decade.  The stuff is just too darn salty. 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: BabylonSister on April 25, 2012, 10:45:43 AM
I used to have a booklet of recipes using Campbell's soups. It was published about ten years ago. It explained that using cream of condensed soup is a necessity because "most Americans wouldn't know how to make a white sauce." Really? Even if that's the case, white sauce is very easy to make and only requires basic ingredients (flour, milk, butter or margarine). My oldest knew how to make one at the age of 8.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: siamesecat2965 on April 25, 2012, 11:08:46 AM
There is another issue about "convenience" recipes, which is that families are smaller than in generations past.  Cooking from scratch is more cost-effective and more desirable when one is cooking for more than two people because you don't have so many leftovers.  This is particularly true for people who live in apartments and therefore don't have deep-freeze units to put leftovers in.  I haven't made lasagna in a zillion years because I live alone.  If I'm in the mood for it I go to the little pizza/pasta restaurant around the corner for an order that I can get two meals out of; the frozen stuff just doesn't sound appealing to me.


On the other hand, some prepackaged things are worth it because the extra work would be untenable.  For Easter Sunday dessert I made a 10" Broken Window Glass Cake like the one on the right:

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1Xyfy1X16i4/Tjnxr1TUPhI/AAAAAAAAAE8/rcDTFtX8DIg/s1600/BROKEN+WINDOW+GLASS+CAKE.jpg)

Brunhilde's sister joked that this was "very Martha Stewart", but the reality is that Martha would start with Knox Unflavored Gelatin and add her own fruit flavors before doing this.  Or maybe start with pectin or cow hooves....

HAHA - so very true!  And I do the same thing sometimes; I'll stop at a restaurant on my way home from work, and get some pasta with a side of meatballs. you get 5 large meatballs in an order and a ton of pasta, so I can get 3 meals of one.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Sophia on April 25, 2012, 11:38:01 AM
Thank you, Marcel. 

It's good to know that these alternatives exist although we haven't made California dip for at least a decade.  The stuff is just too darn salty.
A perfect reason to not use a mix. 
I don't buy "Taco Seasoning" anymore for the same reason.  I found a recipe online. then I went to the bulk section and bought the spices, then store them together in a reused spice container. 

Green Bean Casserole, the classic can recipe, is much better without Cream Of Something soup.  I found a recipe that is basically a white sauce with sour cream and chedder cheese added.  Then use frozen beans instead of canned, and it really is amazing. 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Venus193 on April 25, 2012, 03:43:56 PM
I couldn't find a garam masala spice blend, so I had to make my own.  Therefore, while I was at it I blended my own vindaloo spices. 

When I started doing so a few days ago I screwed up by adding 2.5 times the necessary cardamom, so I had to plug some numbers into the spreadsheet to correct it... and get a bigger container.   :-[
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Girlie on June 06, 2012, 10:42:36 AM
Using prepackaged food/mixes is how I learned to cook.

My mom usually worked overtime, and so would be at work from 6:00am to 5:00pm. She almost always worked on Saturdays. She always had anywhere between two and four kids to chase down. So she took any shortcut she could. I can't say I blame her.

Even now, I look for shortcuts when I cook - for example, the no-boil lasagne noodles that they make now - love 'em! I don't think I'd even worry about making it, otherwise. And when I make chicken pot pie, I use canned, mixed vegies. It saves a ton of time off all of that chopping. 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on June 07, 2012, 08:37:27 AM
Re Venus's lasagna problem.

We make lasagna in a bread pan.  It serves two people nicely and there's enough to put up another day's meal for the freezer. 
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: demarco on June 07, 2012, 08:32:11 PM
Re Venus's lasagna problem.

We make lasagna in a bread pan.  It serves two people nicely and there's enough to put up another day's meal for the freezer.

I have thought about doing this.  Do you use just one "row" of lasagna?  Do you shorten the cooking time?
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: AdakAK on June 07, 2012, 10:20:23 PM
They have canned "cakes" in England (I say cake but I'm sure that spotted wingadingdingy or treacle is officially considered  cake)

I had to read this several times to remember that spotted dick is something that might come from a can.  I've never eaten it, or even seen it but the idea of a "Can of Wingadingdingy" sitting somewhere on a shelf made me honestly laugh.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: ClaireC79 on June 08, 2012, 04:19:34 AM
Wouldn't count it as a cake, it's a suet pudding
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Venus193 on June 08, 2012, 06:07:31 AM
My best recent convenience recipe:  1 can of baby clams with juice + 1 jar of Francesco Rinaldi Fra Diavolo Sauce = great red clam sauce for 4.
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on June 08, 2012, 07:44:08 AM
Re Venus's lasagna problem.

We make lasagna in a bread pan.  It serves two people nicely and there's enough to put up another day's meal for the freezer.

I have thought about doing this.  Do you use just one "row" of lasagna?  Do you shorten the cooking time?

No, we fill the pan although a bread pan requires only about 4 lasagna noodles.  They're layered with cheeses and sauce in the normal way.  Because the meat sauce and noodles have already been cooked we only heat it until the cheese melts properly and the top gets bubbly.  About half an hour in a 350 f oven will do it.

Another benefit of a bread pan lasagna is that there are no burned edges so long as you keep the top of the food a little below the rim of the pan. 


Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: I'mnotinsane on August 11, 2012, 12:56:29 AM
Re Venus's lasagna problem.

We make lasagna in a bread pan.  It serves two people nicely and there's enough to put up another day's meal for the freezer.

I have thought about doing this.  Do you use just one "row" of lasagna?  Do you shorten the cooking time?

No, we fill the pan although a bread pan requires only about 4 lasagna noodles.  They're layered with cheeses and sauce in the normal way.  Because the meat sauce and noodles have already been cooked we only heat it until the cheese melts properly and the top gets bubbly.  About half an hour in a 350 f oven will do it.

Another benefit of a bread pan lasagna is that there are no burned edges so long as you keep the top of the food a little below the rim of the pan.

B..B..But the crispy edges are delicious :'(
Title: Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
Post by: Thipu1 on August 11, 2012, 08:50:08 AM
Ah.  to each his own, KitKat.

Some like crispy edges, some do not.  There are those who like crispiness on brownies or macaroni and cheese.  There are also people who swear that the burnt ends of barbecued pork are the best parts. 

Mr. Thipu is not fond of crispiness on the edges.  The bread pan lasagna was his idea but I like it as well.