No one knows for sure when it happens, but at some point during adulthood, it is no longer acceptable to make a meal out of frozen, bagged, packaged, or canned foods. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since most of them are filled with preservatives and frightening amounts of sugar. But before giving up on your favorites for good, consider taking matters into your own hands. These six recipes show you how to whip up some of the best packaged foods you grew up with. And since they’re so simple, you can work your way through all of them in no time. There’s no taste like the taste of childhood.
1. Homemade Pop Tarts
The name toaster pastry is kind of deceptive, because most kids will happily eat these goodies straight out of the package. While plenty of adults would happily chow down on the treats themselves, Jaclyn Bell says, “I haven’t really cared for the store bought ones since I was 10 years old.” In an effort to please her family’s addiction, as well as her palette, she adapted a recipe from Bon Appétit.
This method might not be as easy as unwrapping a pouch, but it’s worth the effort. Bell says after a taste of these pastries, “you’ll never want to want to go back to the real thing.” This recipe is just a guideline, so switch it up with different flavored jams, or even a slick of peanut butter and marshmallow cream. You certainly don’t have to add sprinkles, but they are kind of fun.
Visit Cooking Classy for the recipe.
2. Best-Ever Mini Banana Muffins
It’s hard to be disappointed with any flavor of tiny, bagged mini muffins, because they’re all delicious. The banana nut ones might just beat out the others for the top spot, though. Denise Sawyer brought them to her own kitchen by shrinking down banana bread into some bite-sized baked goods that come out super fast. She explains: “Mini muffins are smaller, so they cook faster.”
This recipe works just as well for regular muffin pans, but they’ll take longer to bake. We recommend making the bite-size muffins, because they’re great for a portable breakfast. Sawyer says, “they are great for taking to the office because they will make a batch of about 48.” One bite, and no messy crumbs.
Visit Wholesome Mommy for the recipe.
3. Homemade Bagel Bites
No one can argue with the convenience of purchasing mini bagel pizzas from the freezer section. But, your pride is at stake when you do so. Maryanne Cabrera says “they are a little embarrassing to buy at the market if you don’t have children.” Her other complaint? They were a little bit too small. In order to satisfy her craving without feeling like a giant, Cabrera designed this slightly heartier version topped with pepperoni and pancetta.
While Cabrera likes to make bagels from scratch, you can find a variety of miniature options right in the grocery store bread aisle. Just like the originals, these bagel pizzas can easily become a convenience food. “You can make these ahead of time and stash them in the freezer for whenever hunger strikes,” Cabrera says. They might be better than the original.
Visit The Little Epicurean for the recipe.
4. Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Most people seem to think that the perfect chocolate chip cookie has a molten center, but there are a handful of people who prefer the satisfying crunch of the packaged ones. Anna Ginsberg had those folks in mind when she created this “thin to medium chocolate chip cookie that is crunchy through and through.” She replaced the standard vegetable shortening with butter, so you can be sure these cookies will have plenty of flavor.
Though it’s not completely necessary, Ginsberg recommends using a scale if you have one. She explains, “it’s best to weigh the flour for accuracy since it can settle in the canister or bag.” If you don’t want to bother with finding one, just be sure to fluff the flour a bit before you measure it out.
Visit Cookie Madness for the recipe.
5. Freezer Beef and Bean Burritos
Those 99-cent burritos from the gas station always taste so good during a busy day, but they can definitely leave your stomach feeling a little bit uneasy. Making a homemade version is really simple with Holly Lofthouse’s recipe. The best part is that these are made for storage. “It’s nice to be prepared and have a fully stocked freezer full of meals on those days when I’m too busy to cook,” she says.
Lofthouse says these Mexican meals keep for up to 2 months in the freezer, so go ahead and make a double batch. To reheat, just unwrap and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. When cooking is this easy, the freezer aisle will probably become a distant memory.
Visit Life in the Lofthouse for the recipe.
6. DIY Homemade Spaghettios
Strange as they are, canned pasta rings in a sweet tomato sauce always hit the spot for a quick lunch during elementary school. Like many adults, Nikki Gladd wised up about nutrition as she got older. “As much as I love heating up a can of Spaghettios and eating the entire thing in one sitting, I don’t love the thought of the preservatives and imitation ingredients involved,” she says.
In an effort to bring a little more nutrition to the table, Gladd created this version. While she admits it “doesn’t taste exactly like the canned variety,” Gladd says her family actually prefers the homemade kind. If you were a fan of the meatball version, feel free to add them to the mix. You could also add a little bit of cooked Italian sausage or beef for a more substantial meal.
Visit Seeded at the Table for the recipe.