Easy ways to "spruce up" shelf-stable food

Or any kind of non-fresh food essentially.

I consider this a middle ground between doing something from scratch and doing something completely from the can / frozen.

I’ll give an example. Last night I cooked steamed broccoli, and I had an extra good bit left over, so I cut it up and put it in my soup today. It made it just a little bit better, you know?

Another thing I’ve done. I’m a Southern boy by birth, so i have a taste for certain Southern staples from time to time. One thing that I’ve noticed is that you can cook some pretty good collard greens if you take one of the canned varieties and cook them with some salt pork or even bacon until you get the pork flavor mixed in.

Do you guys do something similar? If so can you share some of your “recipes?”

Greens, especially canned ones, taste so much better when hit with an adequate amount of pepper vinegar. And the salt pork, of course.

IMHO the standard “sprucer-upper” is acid. Lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar, whatever you like.

Pretty much anything tastes better when you serve it with fresh meat. I think of shelf-stable products as versions of Hamburger/Chicken/Ham/Pork/Fish Helper.

I’m a fan of the Vigo brand of dry rice and bean mixes. Add water, nuke, then nom.

These spruce up very nicely with a little bit of ham or smoked sausage, or for a vegetarian version, use salsa, sour cream, and some grated cheese.

Tabasco Sauce. Fixes anything.
Except coffee.

I season almost all pre-packaged foods to taste (there’s no such thing as too much garlic!) and often follow [b[kunilou**'s practice of adding meat. I once even added diced Spam and powdered mustard to a can of baked beans, which made for an interesting change of pace.