Giveaway #148: Chicken Chasseur Seasonal Box from Knorr (and why it is OK to use ready made stock some of the time)

Knorr Chicken ChasseurI am not ashamed to hold my hand up and say that I use ready made stock.

In an ideal world we would all make our own stock (and bread, jam, cure bacon, grow wheat, mill it, and while we were at it rear sheep, spin and knit all our clothes etc etc). Also in this ideal world we naturally would all have the kitchen space, time, energy and organisational ability required to make the said stock.

I certainly do make stock some of the time.  I have been known to leave dinner parties with a chicken carcass in a supermarket bag for stock making.  Currently there are two carcasses in the freezer waiting until I have the aforementioned time, energy and organisational skills to make stock.

I am not going to criticise anyone for using ready made stock in their cooking.  At least they are cooking (rather than eating ready made meals or takeaways); which after all is half the battle.   Life these days can be a hard job, and many people need a little help just to get through.

According to the office for National Statistics the average salary in the UK in 2011 was a little over £26K.   After tax that is just under £400 a week.  Given that with continued economic uncertainty, people are fearful of losing their jobs and working longer hours. I reckon that stock making does not figure on their list of priorities.

I suspect that some of the ready made stock haters are not parents.   Nor am I.  but I spend lots of time with small children and it is an exhausting full time job.  I once gave the parents of my youngest goddaughter a 24 hour pass for a birthday present.   I lasted about 14 of them.   I was dead bone tired after one night of disturbed sleep.  The logistics of getting myself showered and dressed involved locking both protesting children into the bathroom with me, as they were too young for me to take my eyes off them for more than 30 seconds.

Enough said.  I buy ready made stock.  I also really rather like the Knorr stock pots, and their Touch of Taste vegetable stock in a bottle.  I wish they did a free range chicken one, so I do try to make my own, but life is short, and I am sometimes not organised.

So yes, I am flying the flag that ready made stock is great!

Anyway, you may remember that last year I worked with Knorr, and received and gaveaway a series of seasonal boxes.    My first box of the year arrived earlier today – packed with lovely products from Foreman and Field to make chicken chasseur with.   We shall be having ours tomorrow – my friend J is coming for supper, whilst her son attends his end of year school disco nearby.

The box contains everything that you need to make a delicious dinner.

  • 1 small chicken
  • 2 shallots
  • brandy
  • white wine
  • 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
  • tomato juice
  • button mushrooms
  • chopped tarragon
  • chopped parsley
  • tomatoes

Please note that the boxes will be delivered on Friday 13th July, please do not enter if you cannot receive them on that day.

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  1. says

    I know that living across the Irish Sea stops me from entering but I cook a lot and use Knorr stockpots and Touch of Taste 99% of the time – the quality is excellent and not over salty unlike some commercial products.

    • Helen says

      Thanks Aoife. I think they are great.

      I detest food snobbery. And sadly there is too much of it. I try and blog for people who shop in supermarkets.

  2. Ali Thorpe says

    I agree regarding pastry, I always have some shop-bought in the freezer to save time and I never find it lacking. I also always have a few jars of pesto as I love it for a quick pasta dish, in which I throw in roasted-whatever-from-the-bottom-of-the-fridge, or in sandwiches with chicken or cheese. I do also make my own but I don’t always have enough basil.

    • Ali Thorpe says

      I would pin the image from the article (that’s right, isn’t it?) but it keeps telling me there are no pinnable images, whatever that means :-S

  3. Jane Willis says

    I’m a fan of Knorr stocks too – I keep the home made stuff for soups and use ready made for most other things. But the one ready made item I would never be without is puff pastry. I’ve made it once – just to prove I can – and once was enough! There’s always a pack in my freezer.

  4. Kara Harrison says

    I have been known to use Very Lazy creamy chicken from time to time (though I only use it occasionally) but I generally prefer to whip up things myself. Like you I do also use ready made stock though. Really anything that will always be easier and doesn’t make a real difference to taste is a suitable shortcut in my opinion.

  5. says

    I too use ready made stock. And ready made pasta sauce, ready made pastry and also packet gravy mixes. That is not to say that I don’t make my own as well, but there are times when you just want to get a meal on the table quickly. Takeaways don’t feature in our house, so that means something from my mind to the table in less than 20 mins.

  6. Vanessa F says

    I have a lot of ready-made items in my cupboard for those days when I’m too tired/busy/ill to cook from scratch, but my most used are probably ready made stock because it can transform nearly any dish.

  7. Tracy Nixon says

    I must admit I use ready made and rolled puff pastry for making sausage rolls and pasty for the kids! It is so quick and easy and great for a rainy day when the kids are looking for something to do! I also suffer from bad finger joints and find rolling out home made pastry difficult! The ready rolled and made is a life saver! Oh and I sometimes buy the cookie mix – another great item to store in the pantry for rainy days!

  8. Debbie Stanley says

    tinned custard – it is just so much easier than making custard from scratch, no messy saucepan (which I have been known to throw away on occasions) and no lumps

  9. sarah davison says

    Ready to heat rice – I never use anything different, they come in loads of different flavours too, just pop them in the microwave for two minutes. Makes my life much easier.

  10. Aimee Ryan says

    I love homemade stock and make it when I can but it does require effort, the knorr stockpots are great too and I use them when I’m strapped for time (or when i’m feeling lazy!)

  11. julie thomas says

    I make terrible pastry so this is one ‘essential’ shop bought shortcut that is always in my kitchen

  12. Anschel G says

    I love Knorr stock pots, & have all the flavours. I even add them to home made stock for a deeper richer flavour at times.

  13. Mark Whittaker says

    I agree completely about pastry , though must say I actually love making it (when I have the time). I suppose the biggest ready made product I use are pre-made pastes garlic/tomato etc. I really wish they made an onion one as my partner will not eat anything where he can feel the texture of an onion, though enjoys the added flavour. I end up grating onion on the finest part of my grater just to get the taste into my food ! Seems to take FOREVER !

  14. lesley hamilton says

    Cooking sauce mix, say bolognese, i have tried to make it from scratch and its never the same

  15. Emma Carter says

    Pre-made pastry is a god-send, it doesn’t feel like you’re cheating when you use it as you still get excellent results.

  16. says

    Having recently made my own puff pastry from scratch recently I can safely say that I will be returning to the wonders of Jus-Rol in future!

  17. Jane English says

    I use these ready made stock items regularly, they are so simple to use. I’ve tried lots & found some so salty they have ruined the food, but Knorr are up there with the best.
    I also add OXO cube to stews they just add that little bit.

  18. Jill J says

    I usually keep a bottle or two of pasta sauce for nights when we are rushed and I also keep a couple of pie crusts handy in case we want a quick pie!

  19. Alison Turner says

    ready made puff pastry,packet custard and knorr stock cubes wouldn’t be without any of these :)

  20. angela sandhu says

    has to be puff pastry. We use it quite a bit for shortcut dinners and make puff pizza and pinwheels etc

  21. Suzanne Cooke says

    I always keep some frozen yorkshire puds my little girl sometimes springs on me that she wants a dinner and wants it in a hurry, lifesaver.

  22. sandi says

    Dried pasta is my main kitchen cheat. I simply do not have the time or the skill to make it from scratch all the time.

  23. Hannah Moody says

    It’s gotta be pastry for me! I’ve tried making it myself and it’s just not worth the hassle cos the ready made stuff is just such good quality :)

  24. Caroline H says

    Ready made icing sheets – I’m quite good with the baking bit but they give a much better finish than I could every manage from scratch.

  25. Fran Light says

    The shortcut product I use most often is using condensed tins of soup in place of homemade sauces. I use condensed mushroom soup in potato topped fish pies, I add condensed chicken soup (and left over chicken) to pasta to make a quick week day dinner. Using tinned soups shaves a good ten to twenty minutes off the prep time, and the results are pretty tasty, even if I do say so myself :-)

  26. says

    We do make stock quite often, but I also think Knorr stockpots are really rather good. The chicken one in particular has a really good flavour and smells lovely too. I also use stock cubes sometimes, but am usually aware of artificial flavour of those.

  27. Michelle says

    I buy pizza bases & add my own toppings, is a great way to make a quick and delicious meals for the whole family, but still know exactly what they’re eating! :)

  28. Karen says

    I always keep a couple of jars of sauce for chicken in the cupboard for when we’re too tired to cook properly

  29. says

    I’m a great lover over puff pastry but lately i’ve been a great lover of philadelphia the savory for sauces and the chocolate for desserts!

  30. Jenny Price says

    Nowadays I don’t cook much meat, so don’t have the bones, scraps etc to make a proper stock so Knorr stock cubes fill that gap really well.

  31. Amanda Grant says

    where do I start – pastry is a must, even plain short crust on some occassions – but mostly flaky pastry. Stock cubes are essential, good quality for best test, pesto I notice someone said – wouldn’t dreamof making my own

  32. Michelle Grundy says

    Chopped tomatoes, definitely, but they have to be a good quality one (which isn’t always the most expensive!)

  33. Judy Wright says

    I use ready made sauces, they’re just so much quicker and easier than making my own and most of the time they taste better!

  34. Georgina Hopkins says

    Thai curry paste! I’m too scared to try and make it myself. I have some amazing authentic red & green curry pastes that my mum had made for me in Thailand, definitely better than what I would end up with :)

  35. Becca T says

    Definitely puff pastry – who has time to make it from scratch?! And the packet stuff is so good now

  36. Carolyn Philip says

    Homefarm Ale and Mushroom Sauce. They use exactly the same ingredients as I would, the beef casserole tastes great and it saves me a lot of time.

  37. Lesley-Ann Dunn says

    Pesto, as although it’s quick and easy enough to make yourself I just find certain shop-bought versions tastier!

  38. says

    Other than a jar of Knorr chicken stock..I use Very Lazy garlic and chilli. It’s better than having garlic sprouting in the fridge and the risk of rubbing eyes with chilli fingers!

  39. Heather Haigh says

    Cream cheese or mascarpone plus milk to make a quick cheese sauce, easier and smoother than making a roux etc.

  40. Clare H says

    I always have some frozen spinach in my freezer in case we run out of veg or for when I cook a meal which needs some quick nutrition adding to it

  41. Shelley Bird says

    I use ready to roll pastry, just do not have time to make it all fresh and a quick win for the kids!

  42. Denise Whiskin says

    I will admit to using a jar of cheap bolognaise sauce (79p at Aldi) when I just want something quick & easy to throw in with some pasta, bacon & scrambled egg. So cheap & very quick & makes a satisfying meal with no messing!

  43. Ros Easton says

    Puff pastry, pasta sauce & my new favourite – frozen chopped herbs in little tubs – they taste so fresh.

  44. Summer says

    Mine would have to be cheese sauce sachets to save a lot of time plus they taste delicious when you add your own bits of paprika to them!

  45. andy parkes says

    i use concentrated soup (tins) as a basis for a lot of quick sauces, make good alternatives to thickening up stocks!

  46. Leanne Brooks says

    Ready made pastry is never bad to have, saves time and most shop bought ones like justrol can be frozen! very handy!!

  47. Hilda Hazel Wright says

    Anything is an acceptable shortcut! What is acceptable depends on how much time you have spare. Sometimes I like to make soup, but mostly I like to open a tin!

  48. Georgina Ball says

    I like the knorr herb infusions – saves having to buy bags of herbs just for a pinch of this that and the other

  49. Jenny says

    Stock cubes are a MUST – it takes ages to make stock by hand, and I can’t really tell the difference!!

  50. Carolynn Watson says

    I always keep pastry in my freezer for a quick and easy meal – the important ingrediants are what goes inside – frozen is just as good as homemade pastry especially if you hae hot hands as shortcrust needs cold hands and a light touch

  51. Cheryll H says

    Pastry – it can be so hard to get it right. Pre bought makes cooking pies a breeze! :) @pipersky1

  52. tamalyn roberts says

    i make my own spaghetti bolognese and i think that tinned tomatoes are a great substiture for frsh tomoatoes as i personally prefer the tast eof them in my bolognese sauce

  53. Amber R says

    Gravy granules – of course I make it myself when I can, but I always have some Bisto on standby, because I don’t always have the time/inclination for making proper gravy.

  54. says

    Completely agree with you Helen, ready made stock is not inherently evil and people are too snobbish about it. Until they go free-range I’ll stick to homemade, but I know if I had either a young family, or a tiny kitchen, I’d never dream of making my own!

  55. Georgina says

    I would love to make my stock all of the time but we all know it just requires TIME! So this looks like the perfect evening meal when you want something quick to prepare that isn’t loaded with calories, salt and preservatives!

  56. JILL MANN says

    Pesto sauce – always useful near the end of the month to jazz up a packet of lonely pasta in the cupboard

  57. beverley says

    Gravy granules – I hate making chicken/turkey gravy from scratch. It never tastes right. Beef, I don’t mind making, but poultry? No way.

  58. Robyn Logan says

    My sneaky cheat is frozen mash potato, its not as good as homemade but works well for a quick cottage pie when I can’t be bothered to cook but want something comforting

  59. Deborah Dixon says

    It has to be ready made pastry like so many other. I cannot make it myself (or at least I can but no one will eat it lol) so i always have some in my frezer

  60. katie bennett says

    that looks well yummy i have made my own stock but yes i raise my hands and say i do use homemade being a busy mum of three i never have that much time i now have a slow cooker which i love so much last night i made a stew …. the meat melt in your month i love cooking meals … and think more people should do it but i have a tight budget and yes i cant always do it …. wishes things were cheaper .. is going to plant veg in my garden for next season …. so help with cost and the kids are excited too i am a big fan knorr and use this alot in my cooking …. i love using there pork one as it really adds alot of flavor to my pork

  61. Patricia Avery says

    I go to a lot of time and trouble to make home-made stock but must admit to using Knorr packet soups for the finished soup. Quick, easy and delicious ?????

  62. Frances Hallgate says

    Ready made pastry as it’s something that is time consuming, easy to get wrong and just as good from the packet!!

  63. Rachel Blackburn says

    i agree with everybody who has said pastry. Some really good ready made can be bought and no one will ever know you didn’t do it yourself ;)

  64. Gilla says

    If I’m rushed for time and the quality of ready made is OK – no gm, nasty additives, etc, then fine. I like good stock, home made or bought. Pastry, if I’m not in the mood for making it myself, tastes just as good bought.

  65. Christine Constable says

    I frequently use Knorr stock cubes rather than making my own stock, as it saves me time which I can then use to cook a healthy, nutritious meal for my family.

  66. Paula Phillips says

    I love ‘Smash’ easy to make mashed potato, just add some water, milk and plenty of butter.

  67. Kirsty Caffrey says

    I love the Knorr stock pots – fanastic flavours…

    I also use the cheese sauce granuals – especially for lasagne or making quick macaroni for the kids x

  68. Sylvia Leaver says

    I always have stock cubes in my cupboard (Knorr and dare I say Oxo). I’ve made stock in the past but it has never turned out as tasty as the stock cubes you buy and they are so much less fuss. I also use gravy granules for when I want to whip up a thick gravy instantly. I often add 2 tablespoons of low calorie sugar and a tablespoon of vinegar to gravy to make a quick sweet and sour sauce. Tasty and fuss free.

  69. Natalie Henderson says

    Caramelised Onions – it’s great for sandwiches and burger and is also for pepping up your mashed potato! Much easier than taking the time to properly caramelise your own onions!! :)

  70. Emma Smith says

    For me it would have to be gravy granules. I know real gravy really can’t be beaten, but there are some good cheats on the market these days, that will do when I’m in a hurry

  71. Alison says

    Colmans Squeezy Chicken & Beef Gravy. It really makes a meal and does not taste like instant gravy at all

  72. Hayley Turner says

    Puff Pastry, too fiddly to make myself, and takes too long. So much easier to get from a packet and doesn’t taste bad.

  73. kristy brown says

    I always have mushroom soup in the kitchen to make a tasty meat dish with rice or pasta when we’re in a hurry!

  74. Lottiegirl says

    I always use gravy granules – have been meaning to try to make proper Jamie Oliver type gravy for years but have never got round to it. Also tikka masala sauce.

  75. Charlotte Jones says

    I can’t do pastries (or baking in general really!) so always have some ready made on standby if I need to do anything pastry related :)

  76. ValB says

    Puff pastry is the one ready made product I am really happy to use – saves so much time, very reliable and less greasy than home made.

  77. Phyllis Ellett says

    It has got to be ready made pastry, I don’t I would do so much baking with out that little wonder.

  78. Liz Almond says

    My favourite kitchen shortcut is fresh filled pasta; they’re just so handy when you get in late and you want to have some dinner on the table with the minimum of fuss. A pack of filled ravioli, with some frozen peas or rocket stirred through and a little parmesan makes for a meal that doesn’t feel like a cop-out!

  79. Christine Bray says

    I love the flavoure ready rice just add roast chicken and glazed onion and you have a stirfry fab u lous!!!!

  80. Sarah Robertson says

    I think frozen vol-au-vent cases….we have them for dinner quite often and its so handy.

  81. Lisa Pope says

    I’ll hold my hand up to using good quality stock cubes too however, like lot’s of other people , ready-made must have is Puff-pastry


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