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Fix’em Up or How to Make Heat-n-Eat Food Taste Better

Guess you might say we dodged the bullet – we didn’t get any ice and minimal snow . . . which translates to not loosing our power.   ITYS – if we left the generator and wire mess inside the house we’d not have any trouble. Works every time.

In fact, on Monday it was almost like Spring – in the low (very low) 70’s and I hung some of my laundry out to dry on the line and even opened a couple of windows. Love that fresh air smell. I am hoping the good weather makes it to the weekend – have a lot of outside projects I would love to start on.

While preparing my ’emergency’ food last week, it dawned on me how much I ‘fix up’ the stuff from the store. Mainly the canned and boxed items. Seems to help make them taste less ‘canned’ and more ‘homemade’… so with that in mind thought I list some of my favorites.

Pork & Beans

We love pork and beans (Bush’s) with BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. and while the Bush beans are the best (in our opinion) I still fix-em up. My recipe is based on my Aunt Rose’s recipe – she made the best pork and beans ever.

Recipe:  In a saucepan saute 1/2 cup onion chopped, 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the onions and bell pepper are soft add in the canned beans and 1/4 cup Hickory-Honey BBQ Sauce. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 3 minutes or until warm.

Spaghetti Sauce

I use Prego Mushroom Sauce but this works with any store bought sauce.

Recipe:  In a sauce pan, saute 1/2 cup finely chopped onions, 2-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped in about 1/4 cup olive oil until soft. Careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the bottled sauce, dash of Italian spices, 1/2 or 1 package of Sweet-n-Low, cover and simmer for about 3-5 minutes over low heat. You can add in extra mushrooms if you like – David doesn’t like them so I don’t add them in.

Canned Soup

Make any canned soup better by using 1 cup chicken broth in place of the water.

Red Beans and Rice

Growing up in Beaumont – close to Cajun country – David developed a taste for and just LOVES red beans and rice. I make these the day before we want to eat them so the flavors have plenty of time to blend.

Recipe:  Cook the boxed red beans and rice according to box directions. To this add 1/4 cup extra water, 1 chicken bullion cube OR 1 teaspoon of Tone’s chicken base. When the beans and rice are about 10 minutes from done add in 1 link of BBQ’d Eckrich sausage cut into bite sized pieces. If you don’t have any BBQ’d sausage, you can add in 1 – 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke . . . it’s good but not quite the same.

Canned Cream of Chicken Soup or Chicken Broth

Recipe:  In a sauce pan saute 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 1 clove of garlic chopped in 1 tablespoon of butter (the real deal). Pour in the soup. If using cream of chicken, use chicken broth in place of water. Add in 1 bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf. 

If I want noodles in either of these, I pre-cook them and then add them in the last minute or so during heating. I find if I cook the noodles in the soup, they tend to absorb too much of the liquid.

Corn Bread Mix

Recipe:  To my favorite cornbread mix (Morrison’s – no extra sugar) I follow the package directions but add 1 tablespoon of melted butter into the batter when mixing. Bake as usual. This gives  the cornbread a better flavor and softer texture.


I always add extra vanilla, butter into my batter and then let it rest for 5 minutes before making pancakes or waffles. Here’s the recipe for my blueberry pancakes . . .  and if you don’t like blueberries,  the recipe works just as well without them.

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