Here are a few quick tips for making basic food taste better!
First, if you are using an instant pancake mix, which I do often, snazz it up a little bit by adding some cinnamon and some chopped apples. When you pour your pancakes on your griddle, sprinkle some chopped walnuts or pecans on top before you flip them. They will settle in nicely and cook up a bit with the pancake, releasing it's oils and making it extra yummy. We usually serve these pancakes with some applesauce that has been mixed with cinnamon and heated up, or we spread strawberry preserves across the top. It is very good. If you like maple syrup, this pancake almost tastes like apple pie with it drizzled over the top.
Next, we all make mac and cheese from a box, right? Come on. Everyone does. Next time you start making it try this: When you dump in your noodles to your boiling water, add some salt to season the noodles and set your timer for six and a half minutes. Stir your noodles. When it beeps, your noodles will be perfectly al dente. I seriously hate mushy mach and cheese. Next, when you are dumping in your butter and cheese powder, substitute sour cream for the milk. Add a few spoon fulls, depending on your desired consistency. Season with pepper and you've got yourself creamy goodness.
Lastly, I found this package mix of oatmeal cookies in the baking aisle. One of those "add water" and that's it. Well, I jazzed up the mix by adding a handful each of mini chocolate chips, craisins, and chopped walnuts. I also added a small handful of dried oats just to make it more homemade looking. Follow package instructions to bake and if any of these cookies make it to your friends or neighbors, they'll be begging you for the recipe. Yup. They are that yummy.
Hope you try out these semi-homemade tricks. I'd love to hear your semi-homemade tricks of the trade.