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Old 09-03-2013, 11:20 AM   #41
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My neighbor used to complain about all of them in the family having some sort of allergy or medical issue...but she still used packaged foods and shortcuts. I told her if they wanted to eat stuff like Hamburger Helper she could help her family by measuring out the ingredients from her own spice cabinet and well-stocked pantry. She preferred the convenience. Whatever.

But you guys are all poor college students, right? Maybe you could appeal to the cost-effectiveness of making the meal from scratch. I searched for "homemade hamburger helper" and got a ton of hits. Skimmed over this one and it looks pretty simple for even a very novice cook. Hope this idea helps her...and you! Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe Skillet Dinner | Divas Can Cook

I have bookmarked that page and will go back and check it out. I have been trying to figure out how I could make these meals home made. My husband likes them. Mostly because when he's hungry he doesn't want to wait for a meal to be cooked. I got him away from boxed mac and cheese by showing him how quickly I can put together a cheese sauce and cook some macaroni. For lunch, he eats a lot of those packaged noodles and sauce, etc. They are quick. and he adds salt to them, too. He is one who adds salt to everything before he even tastes it. We are not poor college students....we are poor retirees. LOL
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #42
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I have bookmarked that page and will go back and check it out. I have been trying to figure out how I could make these meals home made. My husband likes them. Mostly because when he's hungry he doesn't want to wait for a meal to be cooked. I got him away from boxed mac and cheese by showing him how quickly I can put together a cheese sauce and cook some macaroni. For lunch, he eats a lot of those packaged noodles and sauce, etc. They are quick. and he adds salt to them, too. He is one who adds salt to everything before he even tastes it. We are not poor college students....we are poor retirees. LOL
The comments crack me up. "My 12-year-old son ate three helpings!" Of macaroni and cheese with beef. Did she not serve some veg to balance the plate? Lol
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:29 PM   #43
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I have bookmarked that page and will go back and check it out. I have been trying to figure out how I could make these meals home made. My husband likes them. Mostly because when he's hungry he doesn't want to wait for a meal to be cooked. I got him away from boxed mac and cheese by showing him how quickly I can put together a cheese sauce and cook some macaroni. For lunch, he eats a lot of those packaged noodles and sauce, etc. They are quick. and he adds salt to them, too. He is one who adds salt to everything before he even tastes it. We are not poor college students....we are poor retirees. LOL
I make a point of making extra servings of our dinners so DH can grab something out of the fridge and heat it up when he's hungry.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:38 PM   #44
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I make a point of making extra servings of our dinners so DH can grab something out of the fridge and heat it up when he's hungry.

That would make it a leftover, and DH doesn't eat leftovers. It can be made from a box, but it has to be made fresh. Perservative and all. He does not want any veggies with it, but sometimes I will mix in some frozen mixed veggies. He thinks they came in the box. LOL
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:48 PM   #45
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That would make it a leftover, and DH doesn't eat leftovers. It can be made from a box, but it has to be made fresh. Perservative and all. He does not want any veggies with it, but sometimes I will mix in some frozen mixed veggies. He thinks they came in the box. LOL
Jeez. He needs some serious retraining.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:53 PM   #46
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The comments crack me up. "My 12-year-old son ate three helpings!" Of macaroni and cheese with beef. Did she not serve some veg to balance the plate? Lol
Having two younger brothers and remembering how they ate (and how much) from pre-teen through teen, I believe it's entirely possible that she made him eat vegetables with his first helping and he still had room for the extra two helpings of the mac and cheese.

As to the question presented by the OP, I think the best answer depends on two factors, your personality and hers. If you know she is open to help with cooking and really trying to get better at it, then I would tell her you weren't real fond of it. But, I would be specific with what you didn't like about it and what might have made it more to your liking so that it sounds less critical and more constructive. I would also encourage her to continue trying, to not give up since practice and experience are the only way to get better. Depending on the person I might even share some of my own experiences in cooking something that wasn't good and what I learned from them. Taking advice from someone is often much easier if you know that person has had failures of their own.

If you are confident in your ability to give advice without insulting, and your skin is thick enough to take a mild backlash if she doesn't like your advice, and if you are easily able to sooth hurt feelings if she is offended, then I would also say go ahead and be honest. But again, be specific and be ready to offer encouragement if she needs it. Also make sure she knows you are grateful for her efforts regardless of the how good her food is.

If you know she is not looking for advice or you are not confident in your ability to give it without sounding too critical, then for now at least I would hold back. Give yourselves time to become more comfortable with each other. Then you'll have a better idea of when you can give advice and when you just need to leave things be.

In any case, if she invites you over for the same meal again, I would be honest about my dislike of the food, but I would center the focus on myself. "I appreciate the offer, but for me the tomato flavor drowned out the rest of the food and I just didn't care for it. But if you are making something else another night, maybe we can eat together then?" Make sure she knows you don't object to her or her cooking in general, just to that particular meal.

I think you definitely were correct not say something that might embarrass her in front of her friends and that your instincts to talk to her about the food privately show a great deal of consideration for her feelings. Based on your responses to other people's advice, I think you're instincts are good and you should go with what you feel is right.

That's my best advice. I hope your next meal with your roommate is a better one.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:39 PM   #47
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I have bookmarked that page and will go back and check it out. I have been trying to figure out how I could make these meals home made. My husband likes them. Mostly because when he's hungry he doesn't want to wait for a meal to be cooked. I got him away from boxed mac and cheese by showing him how quickly I can put together a cheese sauce and cook some macaroni. For lunch, he eats a lot of those packaged noodles and sauce, etc. They are quick. and he adds salt to them, too. He is one who adds salt to everything before he even tastes it. We are not poor college students....we are poor retirees. LOL
After I put up my post I spend way too much time travelling all over that Divas Can Cook! website! Alas, another night of short sleep. I had found "Divas.." a long time ago but forgot how entertainingly Monique can write.

Oh, and like GG said, your other half needs serious retraining. Tell him if you cook from scratch you can save a bunch of money (it is true) and you guys could put the savings away in an old canister until you have enough for a little get-away. He can focus on the fun while you're saving him from himself.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:44 PM   #48
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The comments crack me up. "My 12-year-old son ate three helpings!" Of macaroni and cheese with beef. Did she not serve some veg to balance the plate? Lol
The kid probably plays sports. Probably inhaled half the veggies for dinner raw as he walked past his mom on his way to his room From around 6th grade through high school our son was know as "the stomach with legs". I learned that if I wanted to make sure the kid didn't disappear into his bedroom with an entire bag of a newly-purchased produce item I would weigh things up in 2 or 3 bags at the store, then hide the extras in the back of the bin.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:34 AM   #49
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The only thing my first wife could/would cook was them Hamburger Helper messes that come in a box. Mrs Hoot and I were noticin' that those things were on sale the other day. She said that they might have improved over the years....maybe, but I ain't willin' to find out.... Not even if they were givin' it away.
Just my humble opinion. YMMV
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:47 AM   #50
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Jeez. He needs some serious retraining.

I think he's one of those old dogs than cannot learn new tricks. LOL

Cooking Goddess - The thing with the boxes and pouches he eats is that he makes these himself for his lunch. So I can continue playing on the computer or reading my book and don't have to stop and fix lunch for him. If I start cooking it from scratch, I will just be making more work for myself. I made the home made mac and cheese one day when we ran out of the boxed mix and now it's my permanent job. LOL

Hoot- Hamburger Helper has not improved. It still has that pasty consistency and tastes like a lot of preservatives.
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