Author Topic: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes  (Read 14710 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12233
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 09:04:37 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.

blue2000

  • It is never too late to be what you might have been
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6780
  • Two kitties - No waiting. And no sleeping either.
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2012, 04:18:49 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.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

SoCalVal

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2386
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2012, 01:49:15 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.



Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6620
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2012, 11:20:23 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.

CakeBeret

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4243
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2012, 11:31:18 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.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2012, 01:00:02 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

turtleIScream

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 529
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2012, 02:05:21 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!

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2012, 02:45:17 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


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/ 

turtleIScream

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 529
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2012, 03:06:17 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


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/

Thanks for the links and info!

audrey1962

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4322
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2012, 04:34:12 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".
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 04:49:22 PM by audrey1962 »

veryfluffy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2908
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2012, 05:59:15 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!!!
   

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6620
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2012, 08:51:21 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.


Jones

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2533
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2012, 09:36:15 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.

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6861
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2012, 05:38:38 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


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/

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.   

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2530
Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2012, 07:39:34 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.