Someone gave me a catalog the other day. It’s for one of those Party Plan companies. This one sells convenience food items such as seasoning mixes and sauces. I was truly shocked to see the prices of these products. I haven’t been to any of the home party events for years, so I’m out of the loop regarding the cost of this stuff. Why would anyone pay nearly $9 big dollars for an 11 oz box that makes a pasta salad, after you add your own mayo and milk. You still have to make the salad, so why not use your own ingredients? I’ll help you out. Here’s a recipe that’s similar to the boxed mix and I guarantee it won’t cost as much.
Chipotle Pasta Salad
1/2 pound pasta, cooked
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
4 scallions, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp chipotle in adobo, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
In a dry nonstick skillet, toast the garlic cloves and corn until the corn is spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Mince the garlic and combine with corn, scallions, tomatoes and pasta. Mix the mayo, chipotle and lemon juice. Toss salad with dressing. 6 servings.
One Christmas I made a mix for Mexican Fiesta dip and gave it as gifts to family and friends. It was quite good. This catalog has the mix for sale, in a tiny 5.5 oz. jar, for $8.99 I promise that I made it for a lot less. I got bonus points for using my own home grown and dried herbs.
Mexican Fiesta Dip Mix
1/2 cup dried parsley
1/3 cup dried minced onions
1/4 cup dried chives
1/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup salt optional
This recipe makes 2 cups of dry mix.
To make the dip, mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 1 cup of mayo and 1 cup of sour cream. It works fine with low-fat and non fat products.
I understand that for busy families it’s very attractive to buy convenience, but when I do the math, it’s clear to me that there’s a hefty price to pay, and I’ve never been willing to spend my money that way. In fact, I could take the $18.00 I would have spent for these two products and spend it at our local Aldi store. I’d leave the store with more than 1 bag of groceries for my $18.00 and I’d feel a lot better about the purchases.