Making beef stroganoff from scratch, by contrast, would be a deeply involved ordeal, in large part because of the sauce, says Brendan Walsh, dean of culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America.
“You’re dealing with stocks and reductions. It’s a good 12-hour process,” he says.
Although Walsh wouldn’t put Progresso’s version of beef stroganoff “in the realm of chef-dom,” he notes that companies have gotten better at making products with improved taste and nutritional content. And given busy schedules, Walsh says such “survival cooking” is often an easy way to put a hot meal on the table.
Some starters are even more basic.
Land O’ Lakes has “Saute Starters,” cubes of butter that contain olive oil and are packed with the right mix of spices to make a dish, coming in flavors such as Italian Herb and Lemon Pepper.
Cooking instructions? Toss a square in a pan, add some meat, shrimp or fish, then serve with rice or pasta.
Peggy Ellingson, Land O’ Lakes’ vice president of innovation and new business development, promises that the aroma from the butter will have everyone asking what mom is cooking for dinner.
In other words, it’s all part of the show.