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Side Dish Tricks

I don’t know about other countries, but in the US we have Knorr® side dishes. There are also other brands, but I’ve found these to be the cheapest — at Walmart they’re $1 each. I mostly grew up on these side dishes and those Tuna/Chicken/Hamburger Helper dinners (can’t remember the brand). And it got old. Fast.

Whilst I lived with Mimi I tried to make things last longer and have different stuff, especially since I found myself feeling burnt out on so much of the quick dinner foods. Most nights, those ‘Helper dinners were “home-cooked meals”. Before I moved in with my dad, that’s what I considered to be a home-cooked meal.

Anyway, my point is that I have experience with almost all1 of the box combinations there are. I even made up some mock ones with Ramen noodles and leftovers, but I’m burnt out on Ramen.

The following combinations are like the ‘Helper versions of their originals, I guess, only cheaper2.


I linked some because pictures help some peoples.

  • Mix a can of chicken into the sides package, as well as your choice of veggies. Leftovers work great!
  • Cut up leftover grilled chicken/Shake n’Bake chicken and add to the Butter or Butter & Herb pasta sides, or any Alfredo pasta side for a very tasteful experience. (Cheapest chicken Alfredo, I think.)
  • They all pair greatly with peas and carrots. Mixed in, of course.
  • In a container, pour in [drained] carrots. Add about a teaspoon of brown sugar. Stir, then cover. Heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or until hot. Stir again, then taste. If it’s sweet enough, add to a chicken- or butter-flavored rice side or a chicken- or butter-flavored pasta side. You can layer it over the top. It’s an interesting twist, like adding a teaspoon of sugar to cream corn.
  • The cheddar sides taste great with bacon bits (fresh or store-bought) added to them.
  • Canned tuna (though I prefer the pouch) or canned chicken also goes great with the sides.
  • Fry bologna on the stove. Slice into small pieces and add to the beef/stroganoff sides. Yum.
  • Cut up a leftover pizza. Add to the Cheesy Cheddar side — add it once the pasta is already made and no longer watery. You don’t want the bread to be soggy. Also works well with Cheesy Bacon Macaroni.
  • The chicken and butter sides taste good with mashed potatoes mixed in. Like really good.
  • You must think I’m weird.
  • Add oven fries to the Cheesy Cheddar. Like, cut them up and mix them in right before you take it off the stove.
  • Chicken nuggets + Alfredo sides = Crunchy Chicken Alfredo. (Yum.)

Basically, just open your pantry/fridge and start adding stuff. You’ll make weird combinations with fries and pizza and mashed potatoes.

  1. All the flavors from both companies except the newer products from the last year or two — which doesn’t really make any difference.
  2. I think the ‘Helper products are like $3ish a box now, and it takes two to feed a family without having sides.

2 Responses

Author’s gravatar

Some of these sound pretty good! A favorite of mine is adding extra bacon bits or leftover chicken to boxed macaroni. Or I might cook up two of those Knorr pasta bags (or the store knock-off brand) as a dinner.

Author’s gravatar

Ah, I forgot the two package combination! I can’t remember what it was, but the rice and pasta sides combined in certain combinations taste like other things. Oh well.

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