Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chef Boyardee Be the Chef House Party

So, yesterday, we had our Chef Boyardee Be the Chef House Party. The original party date was for Saturday, but I had to reschedule for last night. Of course, as is generally my experience, weeknight parties aren't as conducive for everyone's schedule, but for those of us that got together we had a good time and enjoyed some different food.

The kit for the party included a fun Chef's hat, some recipes featuring Chef Boyardee canned pasta, some Chef Boyardee Note Pads, a tote bag and some coupons for product.
I selected three recipes to prepare - Chili-roni, Taco-roni and Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake.

Overall the recipes were very easy to prepare. I started prep work about 1/2 an hour before the party and the food was finishing up as everyone arrived.

I first made the Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake since it went into the oven. The recipe layered prepared baking mix, Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs, Cheese and Turkey Pepperoni. Overall, the result had a good flavor, but I think that most agreed that there was a little too much of the crust (bake mix) relative to the amount of sauce - I would make it again, I just would probably tweak or add a little extra canned tomato sauce.

The next recipe I tackled was the Taco-roni. This one is prepared on the stovetop. It was a combination of Beefaroni, diced tomatoes, black beans (which I served on the side), corn and cumin; after simmering, this is served with a sprinkle of cheese and some crushed chips. Overall, I thought this meal had a good flavor, the cumin added a nice smokiness to the dish. There was a little bit left that I served with Doritos and experiencing it that way made me feel that the dish could have used a little more taco flavoring. I would make this dish again, only with nacho chips instead of tortilla chips.
The last recipe was the Chili-roni. It was super easy, combining Beefaroni with Pinto and Kidney Beans, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and seasoned with some cumin and chili powder. I didn't try this dish, since I don't like beans, but it was well received by everyone that ate it.

As we were eating, we were talking about the recipes and the idea of using canned pasta to make recipes. The discussion started with a question about the point of convenience, canned food of a quick heat and eat meal and how taking the time to prepare a recipe from them seemed odd. We decided that yes, they generally are good for a quick, heat and eat, but that by having recipe options you could not only stretch the can to serve more, but also vary up the flavors of the same dish. I thought it was kind of nice that I started with a very similar base and wound up with dishes that had three very different types of flavors. Then, one of my friends mentioned that they could easily see these recipes being prepared at a Boy Scout camp. It was an easy preparation with some different flavors - of course, we decided that carrying all of the cans on a backpack trip wouldn't make much sense, but a more sedentary camping trip they totally would work.

The group hung out for a while, until it was time for the kids to head to bed. We had a little bit of leftovers and we enjoyed them for dinner tonight. So, I am happy to report that they also reheat well.

In addition to the recipes that I tried at my House Party, they also sent along a Ravioli Lasagne and a Cheeseburger-roni recipe. Want to try any of the recipes? You can check them out at the Chef Boyardee website (they are even in a convenient printable format, if you download the Be the Chef party kit).

No compensation was received for this post. As a participant in House Party, I received a party package so that I could host an event and share the products, recipes and information with my guests. All opinions are my own or that of my family and friends.