Listen, I love cooking from scratch. I find it fun and relaxing, plus I love trying new foods. However, I have a full time job, two kids, a husband, a dog, a cat, several hobbies, and a pile of books that aren’t going to read themselves! We’re all about being real here and, sometimes, you need a little help from your pantry to get food on the table!
Here are a few ways to dress up pre-packaged food to make it a bit tastier and, sometimes, a bit healthier.
1. Stir some broccoli into boxed macaroni and cheese.
We’ve all been there. It’s getting late, everyone’s hungry, and all you have is a blue box of atomic orange macaroni and cheese. Full disclosure: that’s my 8 year-old’s favorite mac and cheese. And, I make a mean mac and cheese from scratch… but I digress. Go ahead and prepare that box of noodles. When they are about 5 minutes from done, throw in some frozen broccoli. When you make the cheese sauce add just a bit more milk so there will be enough sauce to cover everything. Bam. You’ve got a healthier, more filling meal. And cheese on broccoli, what’s not to love?
2. Put a surprise in your cupcakes.
Using a cake mix to bake some cupcakes? Tuck a surprise in the center! Before baking insert a truffle, chocolate covered cherry, marshmallow, or other tidbit of deliciousness into the batter!
3. Fancy up the brownies.
Much like #2, jazzing up a plain brownie mix is super simple. If you’re using a family size mix (that goes in a 13″x9″ pan) you can add a cup of any kind of baking chip or chopped nut. You could also add dried fruit or mini-marshmallows. Crushed up sandwich cookies would also be quite enjoyable!
4. Throw away the ramen spice packet.
No really. It’s mostly salt anyway. Packaged ramen noodles are so quick to prepare. Make them as directed and then add grilled chicken, veggies, and parmesan. Or butter and garlic. How about soy sauce and sriracha? Trust me. Give it a try. You’ll never use that little foil packet again.
I hope these help you with dinner tonight! Share your favorite hack in the comments or over on Facebook!