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Replicating/replacing "Near East" Seasoning Packets

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Replicating/replacing "Near East" Seasoning Packets

Garris | May 5, 2012 08:28 PM

I love the Near East brand of rices, couscous, etc. In fact, I bet they make their flavor packets with some kind of controlled substance they're so addictive and yummy.

Well, for cooking for our kids, my wife wants everything to be as freshly made at home as possible and has vetoed using the Near East products and flavor packets in favor of buying the grains in bulk and flavoring them ourselves. Similarly, when having people over, we don't want to "stoop so low" as to making side dishes for people from a recognizable brand.

The problem, in my view, is that we have yet to find recipes in cookbooks or online for such things as couscous, Israeli couscous, quinoa, etc that hold a candle in flavor and desirability to what Near East has seemingly nearly perfected. In fact, I would say our efforts so far have been so poor that I'd rather not have, say, quinoa at all then stomach some of our creations so far. I actually believe there are so few good recipes online because, secretly, everyone is just eating Near East products.

Thus, my question for all is:

Has anyone at home perfected recipes for their own "flavor packets" for couscous and rices that are a good facsimile of the commercial products or ones that you like more?

I'm especially looking for good flavorings for recipes for Israeli couscous. Thanks all!

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