Shortcuts are not a bad thing
Ever since foodies like Rachel Ray popped up into the mainstream, a new generation of cooking show was born with the host or hostess preparing cuisine using pre-packaged goods. It could be bags of frozen vegetables, box cartons of stock (broth), or even a fully-prepared dish that’s doctored up.
Of course a chef would scoff at this notion, believing one should chop up fresh vegetables and make a pot of stock homemade. Unfortunately, we’re all not owning or working in restaurants with the luxury of time on our hands. With a restaurant I can understand the idea of making things completely homemade, simply to maintain a high level of quality and/or justify your pricing (or even save money in some ways).
For the rest of us cooking at home, we have normal jobs and normal lives. I personally try to make recipes close to how our elders made their dishes, but I’m not about to boil a whole chicken in a pot for the one cup of stock that I need. Not while I can buy a carton of it in the store. I’m not about to cook up a whole pot of marinara when there are plenty of great-quality sauces from the jar available in stores.
In most cases, shortcuts like the cartons of stock, frozen vegetables, or even a bottle of some sauce can bring you the desired results and save you time, so don’t feel as if you committed a sin by streamlining your process. Your palette is the final judge when it comes to your cooking, so do what works best for you and you alone.