I really like to cook, but for me there is no less appealing time to cook than October and November. The darkness, the coldness, new classes and routines for families, and the holiday season kitchen extravaganza is right around the corner. These ready-to-eat products are some of my favorites for being 1. Available at most major grocery stores across the state (or online in some cases) and 2. Meals that I would not attempt to make on my own—not because I couldn’t do it, but because I know a professional can do it better.

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MUMBAI TO MAINE SIMMER SAUCE Turn on the rice cooker, sauté a protein (fine, a rough chop is involved here), pour over a 16 oz. jar of homestyle Indian sauce, let it heat up, and dinner is served. Stretch portions by adding light coconut milk or broth. Made in Boothbay.

MAINE COAST FISHERMAN’S ASSOCIATION MONKFISH STEW AND BAR HARBOR FOODS BISQUE OR CHOWDER  The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association is a non-profit dedicated to promoting sustainable fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. The monkfish is caught by small-boat fishermen and all proceeds benefit MCFA’s Fishermen Feeding Mainers program, which purchases directly from fisher-men for donation to schools, food banks, and community groups working to address food insecurity. Bar Harbor Foods is a staple for seafood-based soups, including lobster bisque, corn chowder, and clam chowder in New England, Manhattan (what?), and Rhode Island (why?) styles.

An open container of Thirty Acre Farm sauerkraut next to a charcuterie board that includes a scoop of kraut.

Thirty Acre Farm sauerkraut goes well with sausages and sourdough for a simple meal.

SAUSAGES AND SAUERKRAUT Encased meat and pickled vegetables, what a tasty, easy to prepare combo. Pick up some rye or sourdough from your favorite bakery to accompany them. Maine Family Farms has a variety of pork-based flavors, while Thirty Acre Farm in Bremen makes ten varieties of krauts and kimchis. Grab one of their hot sauces if you like it spicy.

BARBER FOODS STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS They’re not our most famous export, but real Mainers know that Barber Foods stuffed chicken breasts, made right in Portland, are in our State Food Pantheon alongside Allen’s Coffee Brandy, Moxie, and Red Snappers.

RAVIOLI AND PIZZA When it comes to local ravioli and pizzas, we have choices. I’ve tried Bruno’s from Portland, Crooked Faced Creamery’s from Norridgewock, and Terra Cotta Pasta Co.’s in South Portland. If you’re not sure what flavor to get, choose one that goes well with Rosario’s Fresh Pesto. When even pre-made pizza dough is not enough (although Micucci’s on India St. in Portland has the best, and Hannaford brand is more than acceptable), Slab and Otto make full pizzas available in the freezer aisle.

LEAVITT AND SONS CHICKEN POT PIE AND ROSEMONT MARKET VEGGIE POT PIE Pot pie is magical, the paragon of cold weather eating, and perhaps the one thing on this list I will never attempt to make. Leavitt and Sons Deli has locations in Portland and Yarmouth, Rosemont Market is in Portland, Scarborough, Yarmouth, Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth.

MORE MAINE BASICS They won’t make a meal but they’ll make the meal! These pantry and freezer staples will pack a lot flavor into whatever you’re cooking.

• I am 100% brand loyal to Kate’s Butter from Arundel. Salted or unsalted, butter makes the world go ’round.

Denny Mike’s Pixie Dust will make anything BBQ flavored.

Little Ladd’s sells just the seasoning for their signature Herbal Popcorn, which has top notes of nutritional yeast, dill, and garlic.

Smithereen Farm’s Zerba is a wild harvest salt with highlights of celery, sage, chive blossoms, and sugar kelp.

Little Brother makes a mildly spicy la jiao jiang (chili crisp) with fried onion and garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and a bit of chili.

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