-Canned beans (white, black, kidney, garbanzo)
-Uncle Bens converted rice (rarely use it, but some dishes call for it. I sure as heck would never admit this to my old Japanese Grandmother – if I had one.)
-Cake mixes (if they are good enough for Alton Brown, they are good enough for me)
-Sandwich meats (for school lunches)
-Salad dressing and mayonnaise (I make a vinaigrette from time to time but there are some really good pre-made dressings out there.)
-Krusteaz pancake mix (yes, I can do pancakes from scratch but sometimes the mix is, well, so convenient)
-Spam (but I’ve talked about my affinity for this salty pink canned meat before – I buy the lower fat, lower sodium “light” version - for what it’s worth).
Yes, this method of cooking is a learned skill. In my early years when I couldn’t cook, didn’t have enough time, and thought convenience foods really were that much easier, I was a Chef Boyardee, Stove Top Stuffing, Chunky Soup, Shake 'n Bake, Minute Rice type of girl. But I’ve changed. Slowly but surely, over the years, I’ve become…a snob.
A quick, easy, cheap, not-from-a-box recipe example that I happen to be making for dinner:
Chicken Teriyaki "Assistant"
1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb broccoli, cut into florets
2 T cooking oil (less if using non-stick skillet)
1 T sugar
2 T mirin
2 T sake
3 T soy sauce
1 T corn starch
1. Whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Heat cooking oil in large skillet or wok over med/high heat.
3. Add chicken pieces and sauté until mostly cooked (3-4 minutes).
4. Add broccoli and continue cooking until bright green and tender (3-4 minutes).
5. Add sauce mixture and continue cooking until sauce is bubbly and begins to thicken (2-3 minutes).
6. Serve over steamed white or brown rice and enjoy. (Serves four)
Butter’s Better post: http://agoodcooker.blogspot.com/2010/02/butters-better.html