Almost from a mix

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bartl
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2010/09/21 20:34:36 (permalink)

Almost from a mix

What are some of your favorite food mixes, and what do you do to them so they don't taste like a food mix? For example, while not as good as my homemade chili, I find that if I add some cumin, Mexican oregano (pretty easy to obtain in my part of New Jersey) and about a teaspoon of masa harina (I have buy it in 5 pound sacks, but only keep what I can easily store) to McCormick's Tex Mex Chili, I can have a pot of chili that is better than anything in cans ready in about half an hour.
 
One trick I do is I keep my ground beef in 1/2 pound pieces (wrapped in waxed paper and placed in a zipper plastic bag in the freezer). I find it's easy to defrost one or two of these pieces in the microwave. The 1/2 hour includes defrosting the beef.
 
Bart
#1

23 Replies Related Threads

    Mosca
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/21 21:28:46 (permalink)
    Wick Fowler's makes a pretty decent red chili.
    #2
    Cosmos
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/23 09:43:55 (permalink)
    The only mix we use is Good Seasons zesty Italian dressing mix and we use it dry, mixed with flour for our oven 'fried' chicken.
    #3
    bartl
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/23 10:36:57 (permalink)
    Cosmos The only mix we use is Good Seasons zesty Italian dressing mix and we use it dry, mixed with flour for our oven 'fried' chicken.

    I find Good Seasons to be oversweetened and oversalted. Consider putting some baking powder in the flour (I cheat and use a whole wheat Bisquick clone). The fat in the chicken adds shortening, it leavens, and the flour forms something akin to a thin batter.
     
    One other oven fried chicken trick I've learned: I use a jelly roll pan with a piece of parchment on the bottom. Very little clean up and no sticking.
     
    Bart
    #4
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/23 12:11:18 (permalink)
    My wife is a fan of a book called The Cake Mix Doctor, about using and improving cakes from a mix.
    #5
    BelleReve
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/23 15:36:21 (permalink)
    I make Duncan Hines yellow cake (butter recipe) from a box with a homemade chocolate buttercream icing.  I have the worse luck making it from scratch.  After 3-4 times of using clipped recipes, and enough failures, either dry and crumbly, even when I've taken them out sooner than the recipes calls for, I've returned to the box mix.  Using the mix, it's perfect every time, and what really sets it off is the icing, a rich, dark chocolate buttercream. 
     
     
     
    #6
    baileysoriginal
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/26 22:56:49 (permalink)
    I do use  a few packaged dry mixes - even though the're loaded with sodium - some of them I can't resist:
    Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk - it's great in Fiesta Soup and shrimp dip
    Any Taco or Fajita - Also good in Fiesta Soup, tacos & fajitas
    Beef Stew Seasoning - it makes it better
    And my latest favorite - Zatarain's Creole Red Gravy - this stuff is fantastic!  I've used it on Stuffed Cabbage, Pork Chops and Chicken - now the store I was buying it from doesn't have it and if I buy it online it's  $1.29 a package but shipping is $8.95 for 6 pkgs.  It's some good stuff, though.
     
     
     
    #7
    PapaJoe8
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/27 15:03:52 (permalink)
    Baileys, now for your shrimp dip and Fiesta Soup recipes.
     
    I put Ranch Dip Mix in one of my most popular Chili recipes. And in Chili Beans.
    Joe
    #8
    baileysoriginal
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/27 23:33:32 (permalink)
    PapaJoe - the Ranch mix seems to tame the tomatoes and chilies and chili powder down in many recipes - even though it is pretty salty it's still an asset to many dishes.
    #9
    Foodbme
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/28 04:25:57 (permalink)
    Pioneer Sausage Gravy Mix with 1 # of fresh breakfast sausage cooked and crumbled in it.
    http://www.chguenther.com/WhatsNew/CountrySausage.aspx
    #10
    PapaJoe8
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/29 12:31:05 (permalink)
    Oh, I put Mc's taco seasoning in some chili recipes and in Tex Mex type soups.
    Joe
    #11
    bartl
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/29 17:18:13 (permalink)
    Ralph Melton My wife is a fan of a book called The Cake Mix Doctor, about using and improving cakes from a mix.

    I recall that so many people added pudding mix to cake mixes to make them richer that cake mixes started to include the pudding mix.
     
    Bart
     
    #12
    bartl
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/29 17:29:14 (permalink)
    PapaJoe8 Oh, I put Mc's taco seasoning in some chili recipes and in Tex Mex type soups.
    Joe

    I use Mc's Chicken Chili mix; I add a teaspoon of masa harina and I put in about half a cup of sherry for a half a cup of water (well, I put wine in a LOT of my cooking mix dishes). I agree that Zatarain's makes good stuff. Another mix I use is Goya Paella; I add a can of clams, a handful of frozen peas, and a half a cup of sherry, putting in some cooked frozen shrimp on top after cooking (I let the steam reheat them).
     
    For oven fried chicken, I use Hodgson Mills Insta-Bake mix; I dip the chicken in an egg-milk mixture, then put it in a plastic bag with seasoned mix (I've discovered that garlic-parsley-cumin adds an interesting falafel-like flavor when combined with the nuttiness of the whole wheat), and "shake-n-bake".
     
    Bart
    #13
    txtwister
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/30 17:05:57 (permalink)
    I like Zatarain's gumbo mix but make extra rice (it has rice that cooks with it, which is just weird) and also add some extra broth and Tony Chechere's roux mix, plus cook onion and bell pepper down when I'm browning andouille and cooking chicken.  Essentially, I think my own gumbo is probably just as ease to make overall - but w/out that yummy dose of sodium & msg, ;)
     
    And yeah, McCormick's Chili Blend is a staple in my house.  I've been known to get a little panicky while living in other states where it's harder to come by. 
     
    I'm sure there's more, but can't think of any - bisquik, I guess.
    #14
    bartl
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/09/30 18:10:07 (permalink)
    txtwister And yeah, McCormick's Chili Blend is a staple in my house.  I've been known to get a little panicky while living in other states where it's harder to come by. 

    According to a frequent COSI chili contest contestant, for chili powder (as opposed to chili mix), the brand of choice is Mexene. It's ancho pepper based; mild-medium heat, nice flavor.
     
    Bart
    #15
    fabulousoyster
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/19 21:50:46 (permalink)
    I'm thinking...the only mix I doctor up is a fine brownie mix and put in some extra chocolate chips, I enjoy boxed mixes for brownies more than making my own from scratch.
    #16
    PapaJoe8
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/20 14:28:12 (permalink)
    Many great tips her! Thanks yall!
     
    Txt, I also use Z's, and other things you said,  for gumbo. And, I use onions and bell pepper in all kindsa stuff. Oh, and I put Boudan in gumbo.
     
    I have a neighbor who makes some great stuffed jalapenos using Fiesta Ranch mix, and some other stuff. Shoot, I forgot that recipe. :~(
     
    Anyone who has not had the real buttermilk Ranch dressing is missing out. I can drink that right from the jar. I just save an empty mayo jar, then take a full mayo jar and split it up, add a quart of buttermilk, and the Buttermilk Ranch dressing mix. I just shake both jars up and put em in tha fridge for a while and mmmm. The buttermilk Ranch is what started tha whole Ranch craze.
    Joe
    post edited by PapaJoe8 - 2010/10/20 21:43:03
    #17
    Sneetch
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/20 19:28:55 (permalink)
    I've always been a die-hard bake-from-scratch kind of gal, but never bother with homemade brownies after discovering Ghiradelli Brownie Mix from Costco. (It's the only thing I use a mix for when baking, and I even like them!)
    #18
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/20 19:44:55 (permalink)
    Bisquick.
    #19
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/21 11:39:25 (permalink)
    Lipton Onion Soup mix, sour cream, tuna in oil, drained, mixed together, great dip!
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    BelleReve
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/21 16:22:07 (permalink)
    fabulous - years ago a co-worker tipped me off on using a boxed brownie mix (no name, generic, store brand kinds are the best) about 1 cup of Nestle tollhouse morsels, 1 cup of chopped pecans, and I swear it's as good as any scratch recipe.
     
    I don't deliberatley intend to fool anyone, but when I make them, people just assume it came from an old family recipe.
     
    #21
    BelleReve
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/21 16:23:10 (permalink)
    fabulous - years ago a co-worker tipped me off on using a boxed brownie mix (no name, generic, store brand kinds are the best) about 1 cup of Nestle tollhouse morsels, 1 cup of chopped pecans, and I swear it's as good as any scratch recipe.
     
    I don't deliberately intend to fool anyone, but when I make them, people just assume it came from an old family recipe.
     
    #22
    PapaJoe8
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/21 18:26:39 (permalink)
    Chewer, onion soup mix... yes! Great for livening up all kindsa stuff! Shh, I've even put it in chili. Tuna, I just can't make myself drain that deliciuos oil. I just mix it in and start adding enough stuff that the oil is not overpowering. After years of doint that tuna w/o tha oil mixed in is kinda missing something for me.
     
    Belle, worth posting twice!
     
    Has anyone said Ro-Tel Tomatos? They can make the blandest dish stand up and do a song and dance. The Tex Mex variety is my secret guacamole ingredient. Just add along w/ some chopped onions, garlic powder, SnP, and some lime juice, and most folks will sai it's the best they ever had. Almost a mix... you can even use that, two bags to a box, guacamole they sell in the produce section instead of fresh avacados. Edit; Oh, with the other stuff I mentioned added. It's not all that great all by itself.
    Joe
     
    And oh... sai = say. I can't type. :~(
    post edited by PapaJoe8 - 2010/10/21 18:37:55
    #23
    claracamille
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    Re:Almost from a mix 2010/10/24 13:36:27 (permalink)
    I use a white cake mix for my mother's strawberry cake(made with thawed frozen sweetened strawberries & strawberry jello, icing also has thawed frozen sweetened strawberries).
    My from scratch brownie recipe is as easy as box mix, so I never use a brownie mix.
    Also, I make my own ranch dressing with mayo,sour cream, 1/2 & 1/2, spices(garlic power,onion power,dill),fresh lemon juice.  I could eat it with a spoon.
    #24
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