Thursday, November 17, 2016

Convenience Foods I Use

In efforts to control both costs and what ingredients, additives, and preservatives are in my family’s food, I am working hard to limit the use of convenience foods. Sometimes, that is difficult to do in term s of time, availability, financial limitations, and know how. Sometimes, there is just really good deals on convenience foods that when comparing the cost to make from scratch to the cost in time and effort, the difference is negligible. What's negligible is a highly personal decision and I know some people that never cook from scratch and others that always do. Of course being the rationalizing wise soul that I am, I've found a balance that works for me. In the list below, I admit to using each on a regular (R), semi-regular (S), or when on special price (P). For the most part, I can and often do make these things from scratch or have a from scratch alternative.  There are a few though I have never even attempted to make from scratch and have always bought the convenience version (A).  However, if any of you have good success, I might be open to trying.

My list of convenience foods that I use:

·         R-Spaghetti sauce

·         R-Alfredo Sauce

·         S-Condensed soups/chunky type soups

·         R-Frozen Pizza

·         P-Chili or  artisan soup mixes

·         S-Chicken broth

·         R-Baked Beans

·         P-Kraft/Velveeta Shells and Cheese

·         P-Stauffer’s lasagna

·         P-Garlic Bread/bread sticks

·         P-Premade dough like cinnamon rolls, biscuits, pizza

·         R-Hamburger patties

·         S-Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice

·         P-Knorr rice ad noodle sides

·         A-Cheese filled ravioli or tortellini

·         A-Frozen, battered fish fillets
I guess I use a lot more convenience foods than  I first would have thought. There are items in my pantry/freezer that others probably would categorize as convenience foods such as canned tomatoes, vegetables, and tuna, dry pasta, or boneless chicken portions. I am constantly looking at labels though, mostly for sodium content because of DH. There are some brands that even if they were practically free, I wouldn’t pick up as not worth the savings. What about you?  How do you determine what will or won’t come into your kitchen?


  1. Because of energy levels, I learned to use jarred pasta and add stuff. If I make homemade spaghetti, I have a better product, spend more and have it left over, not a bad thing, but too much pasta. I buy a $1 pizza to share with exbf for lunch sometimes or to eat when I just don't want to cook. I rarely have mac and cheese, like once every three months. I only buy chicken broth to drink when ill, and then sometimes find it and use in cooking. Other than that I never use anything on your list. I don't eat or use many premade foods, but then I may only be fooling Oh, I use a few "cream of" soups.

    1. If I wasn't still cooking for multiple people, I might do better because I would eat more simply, but I still like the variety, so who knows, maybe I'd have more convenience things like frozen meals, more often.

  2. Stovetop Stuffing about twice a year.

    1. I could add stove top as well, but ver infrequently but DD2 loves it.

    2. Suddenly Salad--I could eat this every day, but eat it once every three orfour months. And, all these canned fruits and vegetables would come under convenience foods since I don't go out and pick my own. See, I just have a different list than you

  3. IIf anyone tel you they cook from scratch all the time they are either lying or do nothing all day but cook. I mostly cook from scratch, but do use canned and frozen veggies all the time. I always have a jar of spaghetti sauce and usually have alfredo also, as well as various crackers, a can of manwich, processed cereal (Cheerios to be exact) gravy mix (the cheap stuff in a package. I rarely use it but sometimes it is the difference in a meal having some taste vs. cardboard flavor. I no longer have any of the cream of soups since I learned how to make the soup or sauce mix, I keep crystal light lemonade on hand all the time and have a few bags of microwave popcorn. I always have at least one cake mix, because you never know when you will have to make some funeral food quickly. Plus I always have various curry pastes, ethnic sauces (bottled) and just about every kind of pickle known to man
    I am impressed with people who can stick to the real food movement but it just requires entirely too much time and too many pots.

    1. The couple I think of are super organized people, and do a lot of planned batch cooking. One eats very simple meals-raw salads, a piece of meat, steamed veg, and a baked potato for many/most meal. I like more variety.

  4. I have to say there is nothing on your list I buy. I did buy some pre-made pastry the other week because I was making a chicken pie with leftover chicken and wanted a quick easy dinner. It was gross really not pleasant so back to making my own plus it was full of stuff that wouldn't be in mine so lesson learnt. I do use canned toms and tuna though. I always make stock/broth regularly as I buy bones specifically for the job. Oh occasionally maybe battered fish fillets find there way into the trolley mainly when lovejoys mum is visiting as she eats them. I have always made everything from scratch but that's mainly because I love cooking and hate jars of stuff that are full of stuff I can't pronounce lol.

    1. I really would prefer not using any convenience foods, but let's face it, with a 40 hour work week, nearly 2 hours a day commuting, a busy teenager, and we just need to cut time corners somewhere. when I look over the list, it's the pasta sauces and baked beans that really are used the most, the rest is more on occasional basis, stocked when on sale for those times when time matters.

  5. I used to not buy any hamburger patties, but after buying some for a church potluck cookout, I usually always have some in my freezer now. The Aldi brand is pretty good and Leon loves cheeseburgers.

    1. Like any product, some are good, real beef, and others have fillers. they are so convenient to just throw on the grill, still frozen.

  6. Your list with my corresponding letters behind
    R-Spaghetti sauce S
    R-Alfredo Sauce Never--did once, didn't like it
    S-Condensed soups/chunky type soups R-condensed only
    R-Frozen Pizza P
    P-Chili or artisan soup mixes S Chili for others
    S-Chicken broth S
    R-Baked Beans S
    P-Kraft/Velveeta Shells and Cheese Never
    P-Stouffer’s lasagna Don't anymore
    P-Garlic Bread/bread sticks Never
    P-Premade dough like cinnamon rolls, biscuits, pizza S
    R-Hamburger patties P
    S-Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice S
    P-Knorr rice ad noodle sides Only for Daughter's BF
    A-Cheese filled ravioli or tortellini A
    A-Frozen, battered fish fillets P-Battering fish is easy

    I make my own taco seasoning, sloppy joe mix too.
    Like Anne said nobody cooks totally from scratch.

    1. I still want to make your sloppy Joes recipe.


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