Author Topic: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes  (Read 15006 times)

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Zilla

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2012, 08:46:13 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?

Venus193

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2012, 09:54:44 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:



It comes from this book:



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....

marcel

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2012, 10:40:18 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
Wherever you go..... There you are.

Thipu1

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2012, 10:46:55 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. 

BabylonSister

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2012, 11:45:43 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.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2012, 12:08:46 PM »
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:



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.

Sophia

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #36 on: April 25, 2012, 12:38:01 PM »
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. 

Venus193

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2012, 04:43:56 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.   :-[

Girlie

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2012, 11:42:36 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. 

Thipu1

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2012, 09:37:27 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. 

demarco

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2012, 09:32:11 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?

AdakAK

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2012, 11:20:23 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.

ClaireC79

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2012, 05:19:34 AM »
Wouldn't count it as a cake, it's a suet pudding

Venus193

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2012, 07:07:31 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.

Thipu1

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Re: Using mixes/prepared food in recipes
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2012, 08:44:08 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.