What semi-prepped "convenience foods" if any do you purchase as a shortcut?
Pre-washed lettuces? minced garlic? I'll play:
pre-shredded packaged carrots, baby carrots, frozen pie crust (blushes) from TJ's or WF, frozen peas, frozen blueberries pizza dough (same sources), garlic powder (occasionally), and tubes of biscuit/cinnamon roll dough from Trader Joe's, pre-washed butter or baby romaine lettuce from the same. So my cat's out of the bag...
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The french bread dough keeps quite a while and can be sliced before baking into 'buns', slice to length for a couple, then put a starter slice in the middle.
Same with English Muffins which can be stored in the freezer and make good hamburger buns..especially if you have chicken breasts to grind up for chicken burgers.
Luv the idea of a Sandra Lee Semi Homemade contest for the Holiday App.
Luv the idea of an app for organizing the pantry and/or the kitchen. Desperate for a personal organizer, it's on the top of my Christmas wish list.
I also buy pappadums. Heat in the microwave and the weeknight dal and rice and pickles is just like takeout but better. Add a lassi made with canned Alfonso mangoes and you are a heavier but happier cook. oxx to all of you for yr contributions.
Also, Trader Joe's declined to consider a petition to pay more for Florida tomatoes so that our tomato products would not increase our indentured footprint so much. I will not step foot in Trader Joe's until they reconsider and apologize. They are capitalizing on their image as hip and politically correct but not walking the walk. Someone else mentioned this (I got dizzy going back up the thread to find them) and I wanted to reiterate. Food52 has one hundred thousand users (I read that in an article but can't vouch for it firsthand) and probably support some small percentage of Trader Joe's entire business. Could b large if we all got behind this.
frozen fruit, frozen puff pastry, frozen phyllo, refrigerator case hummus. At the Asian store I buy rice cakes wrapped in ?banana leaves to steam at home, dumpling skins, kim chee. At the halal store next door I buy samosas ready to eat, flatbreads, esp paratha.
FOOD SAFETY IS A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, PLEASE BE CAREFUL. CONVENIENCE IS NOT EVERYTHING AND NEITHER IS COST.
Smoked oysters, Frontera salsa, Kombucha & roasted bell peppers in oil.
Also, sometimes jam from the farmers market, bread and other artisanal things that will always be better than mine and worth the money, when I have a craving.
The "back to nature" fudge mint cookie is almost an exact replica. Whole Foods stocks them year round.
The very first thing I cooked on the stove was a french onion soup using canned beef consomme.
Using semi made stuff gave us the confidence to expand.
That said, I stopped shopping at Trader Joes in July after hearing some reps of the Immokalee farm workers speak at a food policy conference and after reading Barry Estabrook's Tomatoland (any one else read this?). As a result, I've lost a few of my favorite convenience foods and have had to work a bit harder. I still haven't found another place to get frozen brown rice and I really like their canned pumpkin puree and boxed pumkin bread mix this time of year.
We did not serve it one year, and complaints were endless.
Make a couple of 'high class'. cranberry sauce. NPR has a great onehttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4176014
But do not forget to include a can of Cranberry sauce for T-day. It MUST have the ridges from the can..and the Jello type texture..but the ridges make me smile and takes me back to home and comfort.
For cranberry sauce..go wild..and make some fancy ones...but include the canned cranberry sauce...It MUST have the ridges..plopped out of the can and sliced.
When very lazy, the Pubilx will sell raw fresh made pizza dough which is a time saver if you ask at the bakery counter. When I go camping, the uncle bens 90 second rice is good boil/bag (only the spanish style, the other flavors are bad IMHO). Speaking of camping SPAM. Horrible for you health wise but easy to pack and fry up instead of bacon. While I make most salad dressing on the fly on demand. Blue cheese isn't something I keep on hand--so jarred blue cheese dressing for veggie dipping. It keeps well and isn't quite as spectacular as making it yourself it lasts longer in the 'fridge it's just fine for a daily driver dressing if you find a good brand that's stored in the cooler section of the supermarket--not the bottled stuff.
Oh, and mayonnaise.
I always have a jar of Best Foods mayonnaise on hand as well as Tabasco, and Pepper Plant Original California Hot sauce from Gilroy California. But I'm working on making my own ketchup. Frozen peas are always handy to have on hand.
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Rice and some frozen 'dim sum' potsticker dumplings as side dish, or a bagged slaw with lime/ginger/garlic/olive oil. Quick and easy a 'mock peking duck'.