Store-Bought Shortcuts: What's Worth It, What's Not
Find out which ingredients will help your meals, from prepeeled garlic to instant mashed potatoes.
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Cookie and Cake Mixes
Worth it. We're willing to bet that pretty much anyone who has ever had to hold down a full-time job and bring cookies to a bake sale, birthday party or office gathering has passed off treats made from a boxed mix as "from scratch." (Not that we're speaking from personal experience...ahem.) But it's when you look at mixes as jumping-off points for creative desserts—or even healthier versions of the sweets you love—that you can really start fooling people. Weiss is a fan of Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie mix—but her spin is to leave out the stick of butter and replace it with 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin, which makes it taste rich without tons of extra fat or calories. Or try Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Pops recipe
, which might be the cutest use of a boxed mix we've ever seen.
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