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Old 12-16-2006, 03:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YT2095
Constance, I`m glad you mentioned gravy! :)

I know how to make all different sorts from scratch, but confess to having several (Chicken, beef, onion) gravy granule containers that I use just out of laziness more often than I should <hangs head in shame>.
Yep, I don't cheat nearly so often with canned chicken broth as I do with gravy. Mr HB wants it for dinner every night and many times it's just toooo easy to open a can for
him rather that make it myself.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:33 PM   #22
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Ummm. Yes I do but I'll never tell lol.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:54 PM   #23
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I do cheat especially as I only cook for myself and after a long day at work it is choosing the lesser of evils do I get take-out, a frozen dinner (have tried these but cant stand them) or use a couple of pre-prepared ingredients.

Cant say I have ever made stock or gravy from scratch though. I must do this when I have a little more time.
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:08 PM   #24
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Gosh - it's a good thing we don't get fined for this supposed "cheating". Otherwise, I'd be bankrupt - lol!!!

Frankly, I don't consider it "cheating" at all. Don't think there's anything wrong with using commercial broths (like Swanson's, etc.), or instant mashed potatoes, rice, etc. If you like it & it works for you that's all that matters.
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:33 PM   #25
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I sometimes use the dough from Pillsbury to line the bottom of my pie pan and also use it on the top.
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:52 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YT2095
Constance, I`m glad you mentioned gravy! :)

I know how to make all different sorts from scratch, but confess to having several (Chicken, beef, onion) gravy granule containers that I use just out of laziness more often than I should <hangs head in shame>.
Same here, YT. When I couldn't find Pillsbury gravy mix at our local market anymore, I bought a case of it online.
A little pricey, but a really good alternative to homemade gravy is the Heinz jarred gravy. My husband spotted my daughter using it for Thanksgiving, and bought a few jars to go with some sliced pork we had.
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:01 PM   #27
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Can uyou tell me more about Butter Lettuce mixes and also more about Riviera Mixes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
I'm one to eat out if I don't have the time to cook (a good 50% of the time unfortunately).

Either that, or I eat simple stuff. I'll buy a baguette in the AM, and just eat hunks of it with some butter and jam. Sometimes I'll grab one of those rotisserie chickens and eat the legs/thighs. Usually the breast meat is way overcooked though so I just chuck that (or save it for soup if I know I'll have the time the next day).

Oh, definetly one area I cheat in 90%+ of the time is "Bag o' Lettuce". I buy tons of the stuff. My favorites are the Butter Lettuce mixes from Fresh Express. The "Riviera" mix is good too. I usually have to pick the hard ribs of romaine out of the latter though. I'll make a batch of vinaigrette early in the week and keep it in the 'fridge. A common meal for me is a pile of baby greens lightly dressed with a vinaigrette, a chicken leg/theigh, and a piece of baguette.

As far as fast-food goes, I'm a frequent customer for Subway's BLT without the T, and loaded with veggies. I'll pick up a footlong, eat half for lunch, and bring the other half into work at night. I normally order it "dry" and add my own oil & vinegar or dijon when I eat it.

And for the real dirt, every once in a while I get a craving for Manwich's and tatertots... my favorite processed meal growing up. I feel dirty having said that. Usually I feel sick after eating it though - especially the tatertots... I think theres something in'em that doesn't jive with me. Maybe some heavy metal that I overdosed on as a child and now my body flat out rejects it. Then theres the seizures... (j/k)
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:26 PM   #28
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I think we all have "shortcuts" for how we cook. If you like it then there is nothing wrong with it. Even grocery stores and restaurants are trying to make cooking easier with lots of shortcuts. Me thinks enjoy your food and the company you share your meal with.
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:41 PM   #29
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Quote:
Can uyou tell me more about Butter Lettuce mixes and also more about Riviera Mixes.
Well, it's just fancy "Bag o' Lettuce". They use more than just iceberg and shredded carrot/radish though.

"Fresh Express" is the primary company that supplies my local store.
These are the two I normally buy along with a package of baby spinach.



Then I make a simple vinaigrette with canola oil, wine vinegar, shallot, dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I'll jazz it up a bit with some fresh herbs like tarragon, chives, or parsley if I have them on hand. I usually toss some of the bag o lettuce with the vinaigrette and some finely grated pecorino-romano. It's one of my standards I chow down at least 3-4 days a week with some grilled meats or as I mentioned above, a hind quarter from one of those rotisserie chickens at the store. I round it out with a hunk of fresh baguette from the bakery (and a bit of butter).
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:38 PM   #30
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I can consciously announce that I NEVER use:

Dried mashed potatoes
Dried milk
Powdered garlic
Mac'n'Cheese out of a packet
Instant TV Dinners
Uncle Ben's Rice
Frozen chips

EVER!! I am almost perfect, except that I love
Cheez whiz, which I dribble all over potatoes in the oven
Baked beans, which I will eat cold if pushed
Tinned tomato soup

There - now I've just lowered my credibility rating by 500 points
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:36 PM   #31
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ketchup, mayonaisse, canned refried beans, prepared mustard, okonomiyaki & tonkatsu sauce, tandoori paste, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, the occasional jar of sauerkraut.

bread, cookies, candy bars... are these cheating???

sugar i don't personally consider cheating, because i honestly can't find sugar cane in any quantity.

i do have to admit though, that i don't always have the energy to go down to the ocean, bring home, and distill a bathtub of salt water for the evening meal.

to let the final skeleton out of the closet, i may have a 2 or 3 year old box of macaroni & cheese lurking in the back of my top shelf somewhere. besides the nostalgia factor, i bought some a few years ago for the same reason i bought the "curly classics" video; i want my daughter (born & raised here) to be exposed to the full spectrum of american culture.

let's face it. you're not a real american unless you can say "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" with a mouthful of mac & cheese (hopefully spewing or causing others to spew some of it out in the process).
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:43 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philso
...let's face it. you're not a real american unless you can say "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" with a mouthful of mac & cheese (hopefully spewing or causing others to spew some of it out in the process).


I qualify! I qualify!
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:48 PM   #33
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I once served deep fried 'whatever' at dinner and got poetic praises about how crisp, light, airy and perfectly seasoned the fried batter was. Of course it was immediately followed by the question of how I did it. I was so caught off-guard that I just told the guest I'll tell her later. They all probably thought I didn't want to share my secret recipe. Actually, it had to stay a secret -- a shameful one. I used a ready-to-use packet of tempura batter. Just added a little water, dipped the food in, then deep fried.

I've tried making my own deep-frying batter many times before but they always turned out mediocre, despite using ice water or baking soda or cold soda water. This store-bought batter mix was a rare eye-opener for me. Some things, like frozen puff pastry as Andy said, are worth just buying plain ready!

Moral of the story: convenience products are not necessarily all evil!
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:24 AM   #34
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Yep, instant potatoes here too! :) I use Minute Rice, Velveeta, dried onion soup mix, and canned gravy plus I am sure many more quick fixes.
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:51 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philso
let's face it. you're not a real american unless you can say "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" with a mouthful of mac & cheese ...
What worries me is that I don't even understand this reference! I'll betcha I can say nyuk, nyuk, nyuk mind you

Do I have to understand the meaning of what I'm saying to qualify?
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:01 AM   #36
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Meanwhile, back on the ranch:

I like both canned fruit and frozen veggies sometimes if that counts, and we buy fish fingers and chicken schnitzel ready-made. Past that, I throw a veggie boullion cube into my rice if that's considered cheating...
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:12 AM   #37
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I don't care for instant mashed potatoes or any of the pretenders like 'scalloped' or 'au gratin' which contain deydrated sliced potatoes. Same thing with boxed macaroni & cheese.

Rice, well heck, how hard is that? Only takes 20 minutes to cook white rice (brown rice, 45 minutes). No biggie.

I fondly refer to my mom as the 'Freezer Queen' because the moment frozen "family-style" dinners, aka sliced beef in gravy or sliced turkey in gravy (more gravy than anything, truly) became available, that's what we had for dinner. She never did like cooking. When she found a way to just shove a tray of frozen something into the oven for an hour, boom! There was dinner. That with the packet (instant mashed) potatoes and heat up a can of mushy vegetables, she called it dinner! At least we didn't starve.

When I go to visit I cook them a proper meal. They adored the veal piccata with fettucini tossed in a light Parmesan-cream sauce and steamed artichoke hearts. YUM!

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Old 12-17-2006, 07:55 AM   #38
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One of the restaurants where I worked used to supplement our 'homemade' mash with instant, especially when we were low on potatos! We also used the instant for things like potato cakes and the top of a shepherd pie, when we were running specials.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:38 AM   #39
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We had a box of instant mash that my partner bought when I broke my ankle and couldn't cook very easily. He liked it. Took us a year to finish the box (just the other day) but I can see him buying another.
I have gravy granules in the cupboard, though they don't get used that much. Not because I make 'proper' gravy but because I actually quite like food dry, so to speak.
We've got tinned vegetables - I love tinned green beans cold in salads, much better than beans I've cooked myself. Frozen peas are an essential. Plus, I've got custard powder. Not much else, unless you count the jars of mincemeat for mince pies. No time to make my own.

And Nicholas, I have a question for you too. What on earth are "tatertots"?
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:59 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoop Puss
And Nicholas, I have a question for you too. What on earth are "tatertots"?
I'm not Nicholas but... Tater Tots:

http://content.answers.com/main/cont...-Tatertots.png

I forgot about these, how is that possible! They are formed potato nuggets, made from diced potatoes from all appearances. I don't suppose you could actually make tater tots at home. They are a hold-over from my childhood when we lived for a while with my grandparents, waiting for Dad and my oldest brother to return to the states from Bangkok. Every Friday Grandma would make frozen fish sticks (fish "fingers") and tater tots for dinner. Still a not-so-guilty pleasure!

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