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Cheating! Dinner/cooking cheats, please

Kelly | Oct 24, 200204:15 PM

Hi my friends,

I am a chowhound in most senses, love to eat, love to eat out, love to try new foods, love to read about food, even love to read cookbooks, etc. The only area where I lack chowness is when it comes to my own kitchen. I don't like to cook, even though I like to watch cooking shows and read cookbooks! I just have no interest in cooking. But we have people over for dinner all the time. I can never think of anything good so I always end up doing something dorky like taco salad. Yikes. So I am looking for cheats--ideas that will give me a really great meal but involve fewer than 5 ingredients and/or only 3-4 steps in preparation.

For example--my mother-in-law made a great cheese ravioli with pulled roast chicken dish that really amazed me. Later I found out it was made from a pasta kit and rotisserie chicken she got at Costco. Come to think of it, Costco has got to be a good source for dinner cheats. They have great tamales there, I am sure someone who actually knows what they're doing in the kitchen could think of a good way to add to the tamales and present them as an entree?

Alternatively, what are the cheats that you can buy and put directly on your table without them being obvious cheats? It's not that I want to deceive people into thinking I actually made the dish, I just don't want them to feel like I didn't care enough to go to any trouble to make a good meal. I'm not talking about frozen pizza, or the hamburger-helper genre, but food you'd actually feed someone besides your kids.

I will be deeply grateful for any suggestions (especially if they include instructions). My family will be too!


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