I love reading The Pioneer Woman’s cooking blog. The combination of delicious, down-home comfort food and fantastic photography is a thing of beauty. And it makes me hungry.
But sometimes . . . I have to admit . . . it’s a little discouraging. Because on any given day, I just cannot handle recipes with a dozen ingredients. Or fresh herbs.
So I was excited to read yesterday’s post: Monkey Bread. You know why? Because monkey bread, I have just learned, is made from canned biscuit dough.
I feel like I just discovered a national secret, a cooking conspiracy. Or somethin’.
All this thought about canned biscuits made me think about how many shortcuts I take in the kitchen. How many pre-made ingredients I use. How many products make my life easier when it comes time to feed myself and my family.
- Brownie mix – In some circles I’m actually well-known for one thing and one thing only. And that’s my brownies. That come from a store-brand mix. What can I say? Not everyone is destined for greatness. Like I am.
- Muffin mix – Mark’s mom often made blueberry muffins for them when he was growing up. I’m not sure if she made them from scratch, but I’m going to guess she did. I, on the other hand, love these packets of muffin mix with these three life-giving words: Simply Add Water.
- Pizza crust in a can – I’ve tried the pizza crust mix in a packet. It’s not the same thing. And yes, Mom, I do know how to make it from scratch, which is way cheaper. I just don’t like to do it.
- Salsa – Yeah, yeah, yeah. I said I want to make my own salsa. And I do. But I sure haven’t done it yet. Until then, Sam’s Choice medium salsa is doing the trick.
- Shredded cheese – I’ve noticed that some of the cooking blogs I read like to mention how much better cheese is when you grate it yourself. And I don’t disagree. I do, however, remember how much it hurts to catch your knuckles in that thing. And there’s the fact that it takes so much time. Like, minutes.
- Spaghetti sauce – I had never considered making my own spaghetti sauce. It really seemed like an awful lot of work. But then I made this lasagna, which pretty much forced me to make my own sauce. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was pretty good. But for spaghetti on a Wednesday or Friday night homemade pizza, you can’t beat Prego traditional sauce. Mmmm…yum.
- Crescent rolls – Another favorite from Mark’s family, the canned crescent rolls are a staple around here. Thankfully, they make a reduced fat version. Because one can? Yeah, pretty much disappears around here!
- Cinnamon rolls – Are you seeing a pattern here? I like my bread products to come from a can! Canned cinnamon rolls (again, the low-fat and store-brand version) is the easiest, most delicious “homemade” breakfast I make. It’s perfect when we have overnight company or have to take “treats” to our Sunday school class.
- Break-apart cookie dough – It’s the ultimate in laziness, I think, but you better believe I do it. Not only do I buy pre-made cookie dough, I don’t even take the time to scoop it or slice it. Nope – just break it apart and bake. At least, I bake the ones I don’t just eat right out of the package!
- Instant oatmeal – Time to redeem myself after all of that not-so-healthy talk. When I’m really on my weight loss game, I eat a bowl of apple and cinnamon oatmeal (two points, if you’re counting them) every morning. It takes just a few seconds, it’s delicious and it’s filling. Can’t beat that.