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You‘re all probably thinking I mean doing something unusual with a typical food-like making a quesadilla and adding roasted sweet potatoes (although this does sound delish, using some goat cheese and adding some caramelized onions, doesn’t it?), but no-this time I mean: GET OUT OF YOUR RUT AND DON‘T USE FOODS THAT COME IN A BOX!

Except for pasta, I don’t really use boxed foods.  Nope, no rice in a box, packaged dinners (ew, really-are any of you using things like hamburger helper?)or, Heavens, dried potatoes for mashers!

Many of these products are woefully unhealthy for any living soul.  Filled with salt and preservatives, these products are also expensive.  Plus,with very little work-you can make a tastier meal in the same time without them!

Our son-in-law, pre-living with us, thought that the Mexican Hamburger Helper was a gourmet meal.  He even made it for our daughter.  She had the gall to come home and suggest I use the stuff because it was “cheap and delicious, mom“!

Sorry,I told her, no can do!  I showed her that you can buy baked tortilla chips (or just buy some corn ones and bake them until crisp), a pound of lean ground turkey, a can of good fire-roasted tomatoes with jalapenos and your choice of cheese and with in minutes create your own version!  Plus, you wind up with a lot more product that can be packaged up for lunches the next day.

Rice-a-roni?  Buy your own rice, we usually use brown, but you certainly can use jasmine or other white, like basmati.  Use some broth instead of water.  For the vermicilli-buy some of it or orzo.  Simply brown the pasta and rice, same as you would the box version, then add the broth and simmer.  You’ve saved on salt, fat and guaranteed, it will take better!

Like the Spanish rice version?  Simply swap out part of the water for a can of diced tomatoes.  By the way, you’d have to buy a can of those for the box anyway!

Remember, you only have one body and everyone is dealing with strained budgets these days, so take care of both!

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Aug 23, 2011
    • I like your comments to hamburger helper. One day I made my SS Garrett responsible for dinner. He went and bought Hamburger Helper stroganof. He said he was craving it since we haven’t had it in years.
      I didn’t even know they made it anymore!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Aug 23, 2011
    • Hey!!! I happen to love hamburger helper lol. But just today I opened a box of Jiffy Mix, I usually add a box to my corn bread mixture and boy did I get a surprise there were about 10 mealy bugs crawling around in the bowl after I poured it out you should have seen me getting it to the garbage disposal lol.tongue outestatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carine Nadel wrote Aug 23, 2011
    • amazing some of the things that are on the market-I think a lot has to do w/ our preceived ideas on our childhood favs.  but the truth is-one we have a better palate, who doesn’t think that homemade mac & cheese isn’t better than the blue box?
      most of the things in boxes are truly more expensive, full of fat and salt (think the rice-a-roni) and they really don’t save us any time at all.

      ever look at the RDA of ramen noodle packages???? eek, my BP and heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carine Nadel wrote Aug 23, 2011
    • neicy-mealy bugs in the heat are very common, especially in packaged goods b/c they add the sugar!

      yet another example of a product that tastes much better from scratch and takes the same time.

      Only thing I’ve found that’s cheaper to start w/ a readymade box-brownies!  the cost of the chocolate is substanstial.  And then I wind up adding coffee, good vanilla, swirl in p-nut butter or chili powder to it!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Aug 23, 2011
    • I don’t(and never do) have a single box in my kitchen cupboards.    

      I’m allergic to various food additives so I couldn’t eat that stuff even if I chose to.

      Brownie mix may be cheaper, but the quality is SOOOOOO inferior to made from scratch and it’s certainly no faster.  They may put a lot of chocolate in them, but it’s not good quality.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cathie Beck wrote Aug 23, 2011
    • I can’t eat that junk either. I do enjoy coming up with my raw ingredients versions of “in a box meals” and fast food meals. I save a ton of money and eat better. ;oD  

      Cathie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carine Nadel wrote Aug 24, 2011
    • that’s what I’m saying ladies!



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