I might love a homemade baguette, but you are insane if you think I am going to make one every day.
My name isn’t Laura Ingalls Wilder, after all.
Betty Crocker is a wonderful lady, and she works hard to make my life easier. The least I can do is repay her favor by using a pre-packaged mix as a jumping off point for a customized recipe.
The trick to making a mix taste like a gourmet treat is to:
1. Buy a mix with as few ingredients as possible
2. Upgrade it heavily.
The fewer the number of ingredients in the mix, the less chance there is of strange chemicals or preservatives in there to give your food a strange taste or texture. Don’t use low-fat or sub par mix-ins. The better the mix-ins, the more likely your treats will taste made from scratch. This muffin recipe freezes well, is as delicious for brunch as it is with a chili dinner, and you can make the entire thing in half an hour.
Cream Cheese and Chile Corn Muffins (recipe by Rebecca Spigelman)
1 8.5 oz package of cornbread/corn muffin mix (with appropriate fixings to make it like eggs, milk, etc)
1/4 cup grated cheese (cheddar or Mexican is best)
1 small can creamed corn
1 small can fire roasted green chiles, drained
8 oz. softened cream cheese (you may not use it all)
2 tsp. sugar
These muffins prove that progress can be a beautiful thing. By using pre-measured cornbread mix, you save both time and dirtying a bunch of dishes. Using canned chiles sacrifices a bit of texture but still retains that charred, earthy taste. The creamed corn adds sweetness, the grated cheese adds tang, and that bomb of melted cream cheese in the middle is just a little bit too much. Too much in that totally perfect way, that is. Don’t write off all mixes as tasteless and lazy shortcuts. Sometimes, they really do the trick.