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Back-of-the-Package Cooking


Suzanne F
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I'm always amazed by the ones on packets of things like salt, or cornflour, where they have some 15 ingredient recipe, calling for 1 teaspoon of the thing in the packet.

I find some of the recipes on the back of decent pasta packets quite good, the ones which don't involve tinned ham or 'cheese food'

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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The oatmeal pancake recipe from the quick irish oats box (I can't remember the brand name, I will have to look it up).

It's tasty, lowfat and therefore, lowguilt. That is, until the butter and maple syrup hit the plate.

edited to add: It is McCann's brand.

Edited by fredbram (log)

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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  • 2 years later...

Over in General Food Topics, some of you have no doubt by now seen my post ruminating on the true nature of Green Bean Casserole. Since I've eaten with many friends and acquaintances, I figured that my near-total unfamiliarity with the dish must be due to some cultural factor.

Then I recalled another back-of-the-package recipe that I've seen too many times to count everywhere but on an actual plate:

Mock Apple Pie ("No Apples Needed!")

If you're old enough, you've probably seen this recipe on the back of a box of Ritz crackers, one of the main ingredients. It hasn't been part of the packaging for some time now, but I vaguely recall its making a brief reappearance not too long ago.

I can't say I'm so curious about this dish as to actually want to make it. If I want apple pie, the kind that has apples in it is plentiful enough that I don't think I have to worry about making a substitute.

In fact, while I've done my share of famous-product-label cooking, most of the time, I usually end up either substituting regular ingredients for the prepared products or trying the dish only once, which is enough. As an example, here's my California Onion Dip recipe:

1 pint sour cream

2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion

1 tablespoon instant beef boullion or concentrated beef stock base

Mix all ingredients well and chill for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend. I'll bet you can't tell the difference from the Lipton Onion Soup Mix recipe.

Have any of you ever actually tried to make some of the better-known package-label recipes? If so, have you ever made them more than once? Or have you adapted them to substitute less processed ingredients? Are there recipes you've run across frequently and wonder whether anyone has actually tried them? Have you tried any of these yourself? Have you regretted doing so afterwards, or been pleasantly surprised?

The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

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I actually tried the mock apple pie once, although someone else made it (don't remember who now; this was back in Jr High). It tasted vaguely apple pie-like, if what you think of is mushy apple-flavored pie crust....

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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I have actually made the no-bake cookie recipe that appears on the back of cannisters of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa several different times, most recently a couple of nights ago. It's dirt simple (uncooked quick oatmeal, peanut butter, cocoa, sugar, butter, vanilla extract), and quite yummy, though as far as I'm concerned it actually produces more of a candy-like confection than an actual cookie. Fearless Housemate turned me on to them--his grandmother made them for him every Christmas, and after he waxed nostalgic about them last year I decided to surprise him. I've also gussied them up occasionally with flaked coconut (the label doesn't mention that, but it does suggest chopped peanuts as an option).

I remember that mock apple pie recipe, but was never tempted to make it. However, when a bunch of my friends threw an all-tomato potluck feast many years ago, one of my buddies brought what he described as a "mock tomato pie." It was, in fact, an apple pie (a real one, not the mock apple pie from the Ritz box.)

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I have actually made the no-bake cookie recipe that appears on the back of cannisters of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa several different times, most recently a couple of nights ago. It's dirt simple (uncooked quick oatmeal, peanut butter, cocoa, sugar, butter, vanilla extract), and quite yummy, though as far as I'm concerned it actually produces more of a candy-like confection than an actual cookie. Fearless Housemate turned me on to them--his grandmother made them for him every Christmas, and after he waxed nostalgic about them last year I decided to surprise him. I've also gussied them up occasionally with flaked coconut (the label doesn't mention that, but it does suggest chopped peanuts as an option).

Oh wow, I have made those too! Kind of a fudge cookie sort of candy effect, right?

Went over pretty well at the time. Though it has been a while.

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What about all of those "Impossible {fill in the blank] Pie" recipes onBisquick boxes, where you blend the Bisquick in with the wet ingredients and it makes its own 'crust'? :D

Edited to add: And, of course, Lipton Onion Soup Burgers...

Edited by ScorchedPalate (log)

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Jeffrey Steingarten discusses making the Ritz mock apple pie in one of his books, and if memory serves, he said it tasted quite a bit like apple pie. The implication was that the dominant flavors of apple pie are cinnamon and nutmeg rather than apples themselves.

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Karo bottle for pecan pie

Nestle bag for cookies

Love Love Love onion soup burgers...but at work I used minced onion and beef base for making meatloaf, just because I could find no other use for minced onion there

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I believe my grandmother once made the mock apple pie. I can't remember if I liked it or not. Too long ago but when I was a kid I would eat anything sweet.

I have made the oatmeal cookies on the box of Quaker Oats and the Toll House Cookies, too. And yes, I have to confess, I've made a few of those Impossible Pies even though the crust isn't very crusty.

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One bowl brownies from the Baker's chocolate box. Well, I DO change it a bit, lessen the sugar, remove the butter, add apple sauce.... but, still, it's from the label! Kiddle loves that I make something from the label, she thinks it's so subversively 'normal'. Why is my kiddle so weird? Wait, don't answer that, I'm looking at her genuine home made tin foil hat, it just might give me the answer.

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I made the Ritz mock-apple pie in high school, and if I recall it wasn't bad, and was reminiscent of apple pie. Not a substitute for the real thing, but it did disappear pretty quickly along with a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream.

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Nestle Toll House Cookies.

Only one that comes to mind.

This is truly one of the great "back of the box" recipes, in my opinion - no matter what other recipe I try, I always come back to this one. My friends love it, I love it, and it works every time.

ETA: I had never heard of the Ritz apple pie...how odd! For those who are like me, here's a link to the recipe: click!

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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Let's see...I've made the toll house of course, and the apple pie recipe from the odense almond paste box, which is quite good by the way, and a novel way of adding flavor AND preserving the bottom crust. It's on the odense web site. I've made lots of cream of mushroom soup recipes, but now I make my own soup from the Les Halles recipe....I really like to check out the recipes that come in my 'good' chocolate packages. I followed a brownie one recently that blew everyone's socks off. Those are usually developed by the guys who developed and mixed the chocolate and show off their 'special' characteristics, whatever they may be. I think those recipes are great. You get to see what kind of things you can do with the product and can really expand from there. I did have a bad experience with an oatmeal recipe once, I really don't think oatmeal and groundmeat dance well together unless they have a really good teacher and I'm not it!!!

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I always wanted to try Velveeta Fudge.

SB (yes, there is!) :huh:

:blink: What does the Velveeta do? Guarantee a smooth texture?

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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