Mmmm…Did you make this? Almost Homemade.
“This tastes great! Did you make this?” - Don’t you wish people would simply eat your food and say “This is great!” without asking the dreaded question, “Did you make this"?
Some people will outright lie and say “Yes, of course I made it!” However, as woman of God and a Pastor’s wife, the truth is non-negotiable! “Aww, what harm is it going to do?” some may think…“It’s just a silly little lie.” But in this scenario, my active imagination goes into overdrive! I imagine my dinner guests as interrogators, forcing me to recreate the dish in front of them under duress. My throat tightens and my pulse races as I try to figure out how to inconspicuously sneak all of my store-bought ingredients into the pot! But as I come back to reality, I fear that God will be greatly disappointed as He logs the lie by my name. Suddenly, that lie doesn’t seem so “silly” anymore, huh? So the truth prevails and with an earnest heart, I share my “Almost homemade” secrets.
For example, everyone knows what vegetable soup looks like and that it should taste good. But if you have ever gone out and bought all of the fresh ingredients and tossed them in a pot, you will often find that it doesn’t quite taste like that mmm-mmm-good vegetable soup that your grandmother used to make. What’s the problem? It’s the base or broth that is all wrong. The consistency is wrong and the taste is mostly certainly wrong. Well, who has time to figure that part out? I followed the recipe, so now what?!
My easy fix… I buy cans of Campbell’s Vegetable Soup to add to my fresh vegetable mishap and “Viola!”, now it has that from-scratch taste! After stumbling upon this method of cooking… oh excuse me, I mean being led by the Holy Spirit, I have found that I can cook anything! That is as long as someone else made it first, then it’s guaranteed to taste great! The opposite is true as well. Many store-bought brands can be greatly improved upon by simply adding fresh ingredients that are already in the finished product.
In this section, I will share tips and pointers, using my tried and proven kitchen helpers. My arsenal of ingredients includes:
- Lipton’s Onion Soup seasons every meat and vegetable wonderfully.
- Campbell’s Soups can be used as the base for any of their soups and you add fresh ingredients and Lipton’s Onion soup
- Bob Evan’s Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes with added milk, a package of ranch dressing, butter and toss it in the oven.
- Swanson Chicken Broth or Beef Broth is added to everything instead of water.
- Kroger brand pre-made soups work wonderfully also if Campbell’s does not fit into the budget
- Cold salads such as potato salads can be improved upon by adding your fresh boiled potatoes, relish or finely chopped Kosher pickles and if you are in the South, sweet pickles will be the preferred taste.
- Red onions have a better taste than white onions so I prefer to use them when seasoning vegetables.
As the weather begins to change I recently made a hearty soup for my family that they loved. I added 2 cans of Campbell’s vegetable soup, 1 can of Lentil soup and 1 can of Bush’s Mesquite Beans to a pot with a diced whole red onion, a half of package of Lipton onion soup and a half of cup of Swanson beef broth for a nearly home-made soup that took 20 minutes to make. I coupled it with a salad and grill cheese sandwiches for a feast that Martha Stewart would have enjoyed. I will often make a big deal out of our dinner hour by setting the table with great Home Good finds. For this feast I used great bowls from HomeGoods that were sturdy and woodsy looking. Have fun with it by incorporating your own spices and seasonings
…and much more! As you integrate these quick tips (covertly, of course) into your everyday cooking, It is my hope that you save a lot of time and effort, all while satisfying your family, friends and dinner guests… even the nosey ones! Happy cooking!