Yes...not my usual ingredient but this is one of the processed/pre-made items I always have on hand. Always! It is inexpensive and can serve as a nutritious snack (add fruit or nuts!).
Yes, I do make pudding from scratch at times...but instant pudding is fabulous. We stick to the sugar free-fat free versions for a healthier treat. It is incredibly versatile. You can make anything...pudding (of course), triffles, cakes, pies, smoothies, popsicles, paint!
I love to use it in the summer especially since it takes no heat to make...plus it is done in 5 mins. The kids can make it themselves as well. My daughter loves to create new recipes using it...since she can do it without much supervision. It is also something that if the kids request it...it can appear almost instantly (we don't always have cookies, cakes, brownies, ice cream on hand).
Make or buy a cookie/graham cracker crust...fill with prepared pudding...top with Cool Whip...enjoy. Add, before the pudding, fruit...bananas are especially good. Or place whole cookies (oreos, nilla wafers, or nutter butters are good) in between layers. Top with nuts, sprinkles, or cookie crumbs. Chill for a couple hours. Or freeze for an icy treat!
Dirt and Worms!!
Top prepared pudding with crushed cookies and top with gummy worms!
Add pudding or jello mix, milk or juice, and fruit to a blender and mix until desired consistency.
Pudding Pops (where has Bill Cosby gone?!)
Fill popsicle molds or small cups with prepared pudding or jello and freeze until firm (at least 4 hours).
Mix pudding mix with water until a finger paint consistency (or thinner for brush painting) and paint! Can do the same with Jello (or use unflavored gelatin and food coloring).
Check out Kraft Foods and Jello for more ideas (there are tons!)