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Convenience products that really are decent!

 
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:57 pm    Post subject: Convenience products that really are decent! Reply with quote

This grows out of the thread where lack of canned stock in Europe has created quite the stir. I love Campbell's stock in cartons. I will also admit to actually liking "instant" scallopped potatoes, Idahoan brand I think!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amen! re the stock in recloseable boxes. If I've got bones I'll make my own but I always keep the Swanson's on hand.

I also stopped making tomato sauce after Classico came on the market. I think I make a fine sauce but so do they and I can mix just a little in meatloaf, revive a day-old lasagna (and who doesn't know that tomato dishes are much better on day 2!) or concentrate on other elements of an Italian meal when I know the sauce is ready at hand.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always have an arsenal of Trader Joe's Free Range, low sodium, low fat chicken stock of hand. I love making soups and I don't want to have to plan way ahead of time if I don't want to. I also love pre-made demi glace, the Williams-Sonoma brand is a favorite.
San Marzano tomatoes are a great stand it when I can't get decent fresh tomatoes.
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Ronnie



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great topic! I find frozen foods to be very handy when I'm pressed for time or when it's cold outside and/or fresh fruits and vegetables aren't in season.

I'm also in awe of Trader Joe's frozen food aisle -- I'm a frequent purchaser of their calamari, potstickers, italian meatballs as well as their frozen fruits & vegetables (great haricot verts and spinach), which tend to be organic. Also, they've got a fantastic selection of desserts. In many instances, all you need to do is just thaw and serve.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh! Speaking of TJ's, have you guys tried their lemon curd? Fabuloso! It has nice tartness along with the sweetness and I use it to make lemon muffins when fresh lemons are out of season.

I'm convinced it's the same company that also markets as Elizabethan Products for twice as much at Cost Plus or over the internet.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my one weakness is Smuckers preserve. But, that's usually in the winter when I can't make my own applesauce, or pear or peach sauce from fresh fruit.

But, I do like to add that Smuckers preserve (rassberry) to my oatmeal "comfort food" after it cools and gets stiff like cheese cake.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to know the TJ'S lemon curd is good, I just bought a jar. I was thinking about breaking it out at tea time one of these days.

As for the TJ's frozen food isle, I keep stocked with the stuffed salmon bel mer for Phil. If I am not around he will eat garbanzos straight from the can, so I want him to have an alternative. I didn't have time to buy any before my trip to Seattle a few weeks ago, apparently there was an incident involving couscous. I didn't ask.
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to conserve my energy most days, so I use quite a few convenience foods. Can't imagine living without some of these. I think many of them are as good and are less expensive than "from scratch" equivalents.

In addition to resealable-carton broths, prepared demi-glace & Classico pasta sauces:

bagged, pre-washed salad mix and greens
peeled mini-carrots
bulk fresh pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto from CM
pre-cooked bacon slices (seldom eaten, I detest frying bacon)
frozen puff pastry
frozen calamari
frozen stir-fry veggie combos -- a real boon for feeding 1 or 2
"Van" brand egg rolls* from the fridge case - crisp in the oven
"Viet" tofu* (yummy and fresh)
good quality roasted red peppers in a jar
Herdez brand salsa verde (tomatillo & green chile salsa)
imported canned Italian tomatoes -- a saving grace in winter
shelf-stable pouches of cooked chicken breast (emergency meat)
good quality canned legumes (more emergency food)
pre-mixed specialty spice & herb blends

*locally made, not widely distributed AFAIK
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always keep frozen berries in my freezer. Here in Adelaide, fresh berries are expensive as our climate isn't very suitable for growing them. There is only a very short growing season for them before it gets too hot. Plus, I have found that when I have bought fresh ones, they often have mould, again due to the climate, I guess.

Frozen berries are picked and frozen when they are at their peak.
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wildblues



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Philadelphia, PA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My sympathies are with you Judy- what a sadness to have no reliable fresh berries in Adelaide! Thank heaven for the freezer dept and cheers for frozen berries!

Esp. in dreary February here in Philadelphia what a delight to remember the package of frozen raspberries. A little sugar, a little defrostation- and a little raspberry sauce eaten with a spoon and a smile. And commercial raspberries do usually retain a good bit of flavor when frozen- although their texture is compromised. However, 'tis better to have a frozen berry than none at all!
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Ronnie



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooooh, lemon curd ... thanks for the tip! Sometimes I find TJ's products hits or misses, so appreciate the recommendation. I'll be salivating on the way over to the store.
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swan



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 450
Location: a Dutchie in HongKong

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm totally fond of the frozen berries. Mixed, or raspberries by themselves. I use them for smoothies with a little orange juice (usually a good quality from a keep-fresh-and-cold-carton), it helps me to get an extra portion of fruit, especially during winter.

Stockcubes I use a lot, for seasoning all kind of meatstews, pastasauces, risotto.

And frozen puff pastry, to make quiches and stuff (by the way, that awfull croissantdough you buy in tins works well for quiches!).

Which leads me to maybe a new thread...what's allways in your fridge and/or in store?
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Charlotte



Joined: 02 Jan 2005
Posts: 15
Location: Berkeley, CA, US

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronnie wrote:
Ooooh, lemon curd ... thanks for the tip! Sometimes I find TJ's products hits or misses, so appreciate the recommendation. I'll be salivating on the way over to the store.


Rats, I had seen this a couple days ago but forgotten to get some when I was there. I am on a lemon curd making binge so wanted to compare it to my mom's recipe. I will say that I have only found one brand (locally dist. only) that compared to hers.

Canned beans and canned/aseptic pack broths are my friends for getting Dinner On The Table.

I also learned to be discerning about frozen goods (and speaking of TJ's, they have a good selection - as they do of pre-prepared fresh veggies, which is out-stand-ing).

Currently I am quite fond of Potatoes O'Brien from the frozen section for breakfast (makes a great breakfast burrito mixture with bulk chorizo) and keep a box of TJ's or Ore-Ida mashed potato mix for when the urge strikes. I use LOTS of butter.

And when the chips are down, I have to have Kozy shack chocolate pudding or tapioca. Tastes like grandma's.
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