Worn out? Push the easy button with the best convenience foods we’ve found. Plus, get the tips on how to make them shine with very little effort!
Sometimes you just don’t have time to whip up something homemade. There are the times that you just don’t feel like being in the kitchen. Maybe it’s something that you had as a child and are craving. And sometimes, it’s just better than anything you could make yourself. Yup… it’s time to talk the best convenience foods, and we all have our favorites.
I’ve had a doozie of a few weeks. Between the Easter holiday, company in town, and an obscenely crazy workload, I’m sooooo over it. Over it ALL. Especially, when it comes to cooking. Momma needs a break. It’s time to rely on the foods I always have in my pantry and my fridge and take a mini-cooking break. Which can be a challenge when you work as a recipe developer and food blogger. Lipton Noodle Soup anyone?
Here are (my) Best Convenience Foods and How to Make Them
Annie Chun’s Vietnamese Pho
Sure, I wish I had hours to make the perfect broth. But when I don’t, I make Annie Chun’s Vietnamese Pho. It takes a whopping 2 1/2 minutes to cook, and the savory broth is divine. This is a lunch staple for me in the winter. If I have them,
I’ll toss in spiralized zucchini noodles or leftover veggies or grilled chicken. Sprinkle a little sriracha on top and life is good.
Trader Joe’s Thai Shrimp Gyoza
There are few items on this list that I buy in bulk every time I’m at Trader Joe’s. These Shrimp Gyoza are one of them. Low calorie and easy to make, my whole family loves them. My kids actually beg me for shrimp and veggie dumplings. Why, ok!
To get them perfectly crisp on the bottom without cooking in tons of oil, heat a skillet to medium-high and spray with a thin layer of cooking spray. Cook until crisp on the bottom, then reduce the heat to medium, add 1/8 cup of water and cover. Cook until the dumplings are warmed through. Serve with Ponzu sauce for a flavor boost!
Knorr Pesto Sauce Mix
Ok, before you give me a hard time, let me first explain… I really do enjoy making my own pesto. And, yes, I realize this is nothing like an authentic pesto sauce. But you know what? This Knorr Pesto Sauce Mix is fabulous in it’s own right. Every time I use this sauce for a recipe served to guests, they rave. Every. Time.
One of my favorite ways to use the sauce toss it with pasta shells and peas, then top with feta (or parm). I think the amount of olive oil it calls for is a bit excessive and makes it a little watery, so I usually reduce it by 1/2.
My parents used this marinade whenever they grilled when I was growing up. Now I use it, too. I’ve come up with my own version, that is pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
But, sometimes, it’s really nice to just dump a bottle of Allegro marinade into a bag with some meat and call it a day. I like their Hickory Smoke Marinade, too!
Lipton Noodle Soup
Lipton Noodle Soup has ALWAYS been my comfort food. There is something just so delicious about the too-bright yellow broth, the thin noodles and the salt content. When I feel like getting a little crazy, I grate a potato and cook it for a few minutes in the water before adding the soup mix. Or… I whisk in an egg right before removing it from the stovetop for a pseudo-egg drop soup. Go wild and do both! I might just stop typing right now and make myself a bowl.
Pillsbury French Bread
I mean, if I had all the time in the world, I’d make fresh bread every day. If I could pre-plan, I’d buy a loaf from the bakery whenever I wanted to. But, when both of those options fail, I crack open a can of Pillsbury French Bread and have a piping hot loaf of bread in 20 minutes. Oh, and it’s really darn good. Beat that.
Jamba Juice Smoothies
Because sometimes making a meal is just too much work. My favorite is the Mango-a-go-go, but I haven’t had a bad one. These are a tad on the pricey side at the grocery store, but cheaper than buying a smoothie. Plus, when you make it at home, you can customize it how you want. I often add a dollop or two of Greek yogurt and some fresh berries if I have any, then give it a whir in my Vitamix.
Dorot Herb Cubes
Wouldn’t it be nice to always have fresh herbs at the ready? Yup. And I do, because I have these handly little guys in my freezer. Dorot pre-portioned herbs eliminate chopping and measuring, making it effortless to season and flavor your cooking. Oh, and they keep for TWO YEARS.
I mix a few in to rice dishes, or into eggs like in my Spring Frittata recipe.
Are any of your best convenience foods on this list? What did I miss? Share yours so we can all have some staples that make everyday a little easier!
This is not a sponsored post, however, some of the links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I make a small commission on items purchased.