Convenience Food: Meh.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with convenience food. On one hand, it’s convenient. On the other hand, it’s often a gross misappropriation of the word “food.” Usually it’s just meh.

Being the Chief Financial Officer in a large family, I often have to say no to convenience food because, well, it’s just cheaper to buy the ingredients and make it myself (and usually tastes better too). But sometimes I get a craving for something that you can eat straight from the box. This often happens when I’m grocery shopping and hungry, which is a really dangerous combination.

My grocery list is usually the same: organic ground beef (preferably grass fed), organic chicken breasts, Trader Joe’s handmade white flour tortillas, blocks of cheddar cheese (preferably from cows not treated with rBst hormone), organic peanut butter, organic jelly, organic fruit, frozen organic vegetables, Arnold’s 100% whole wheat bread, organic cage-free eggs (preferaby free range or local from Lady Beaver of Syllables), TJ’s breadcrumbs, TJ’s parmesan cheese, organic potatoes, organic lettuce, plain Cheeri*os, raw milk, organic butter. And… chocolate.

I do most of my shopping at Costco (for the fact that I can buy ginormous quantities) and TJ’s (for the fact that I can buy incredible quality and their customer service rocks). I coupon a little, but the grocery store items I buy with coupons are either items I need in such large quantities that I need 2235 coupons to make it worthwhile, or I end up buying things that I don’t feel comfortable feeding to my family. Mostly I coupon for toothpaste, deoderant, toothbrushes and shaving cream. Since I’ve gone back to cloth diapering for Porcelain, I rarely need to buy diapers, for which I did coupon.

From what I do buy, I can make my staples of meatloaf (or as I call it, to make it sound more enticing to the kids, “hamburger pie”), fried chicken, veggie and cheese quiche, chicken pot pie, tacos, potatoes au gratin with bacon or ham (I buy a little pork or bacon, although I do not really love pork), enchiladas, hamburgers, strata, shepherd’s pie, chicken noodle casserole and the occasional pork chop. Lunch for the kids is usually quesadillas, or french toast, or peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese. Sometimes I do buy the convenient large pizza for $6 for lunch.

But back to conveniecet food, I always see it at the store and think it’s going to be good — and more importantly, worth the price — and it’s usually neither and then I’m grossed out. But, hello, I’ll still eat it even if it’s not good, and I’ll still continue my quest to find delicious convenience food that is my indulgence.

Because of my weight loss surgery, there are some foods I avoid (or choose not to avoid one day and pay the price later), and with that I’ve mostly given up on Kraft Blue Blox special, which I used to love. I’m currently trying to part ways with ice cream, which was going fine until summer crept up on me — but sometimes I’m sticky and hot and just want some 31 flavors.

Last week I made the mistake of buying some chips from Cost*co that really disappointed because they looked so good and tasted so bad. Seriously, I cannot think of what I could have put upon these chips to make them edible. Shudder.

I think the real answer is to do more cooking in advance so that I have some food on hand when I’m hungry and don’t feel like defrosting meat and turning on the oven or the slow-cooker. Because that’s really the biggest disadvantage of from-scratch cooking: it’s usually not convenient. It requires planning. But in the end it ends up costing less and tasting better, two things that are way more important to me than convenience.


3 Responses

  1. I hear you on the food thing! My shopping list is pretty much the same, though my menus are different. (we should pool recipes for variety =P ). Its easier to get hormone free dairy in Canada and we don’t have TJs (boo!), but I have other options. Cost*co is awesome possum for large families, and I coupon like crazy but stay away from foods mostly, because like you said, couponing for food means you wind up eating crap food. I have yet to find coupons for things like apples and spelt flour =) plenty, though, for pop and Mca*ins pizza, etc! I just got laundry soap for free the other day, combining a coupon with a sale! Woot woot! Even that can be tough because I like eco friendly detergent, but they had the “eco” version of their detergent (who knows if its really any different) available for the sale price too, so I got that. I’ve had to compromise on some of my soaps lately since #4 came along and we bought a bigger house =( but hopefully I’ll go back someday. I’ve been experimenting with making my own, with mixed results, but def. its cheaper to coupon and just try and get the eco friendly version of the regular brands! Cost*co Kirkland eco brands are pretty well priced, though you can’t get coupons for them!
    Anyways, I’m enjoying your more frequent posting lately! I’m still reading, just super busy! Love your blog. =)

    • Melissa, have you heard of Country Save? I buy it on and it’s pretty cheap and doesn’t have anything nasty in it. I really like it.

      • Thanks for the tip! No I haven’t heard of it~is it laundry or dishwasher detergent? Or maybe both? =) I’ll go check it out!!!

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