Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taco-roni, Chef Hector Boiardi and a Giveaway

A few weeks back I posted a story about a student who jokingly claimed to be Chef Boyardee at one of my cooking events. If you read that post, you'll recall that when he stepped on stage his confidence quickly evaporated because he lacked some cooking skills. The point of the story was not to embarrass the dude (he ended up doing fine) but to highlight that if you’re new to cooking, sometimes it’s best to start with recipes that are hard to mess up.

After I posted that story,

I was contacted by a nice lady named Stephanie on behalf of ConAgra Foods (the folks who make Chef Boyardee products). In the spirit of the ever popular Chef Hector (Ettore) Boiardi, who I learned first began selling his famous spaghetti sauce because patrons of his restaurant loved the stuff; Stephanie asked if I would like to review some recipes, using Chef Boyardee Beefaroni.

 I said heck ya because they’re exactly the type of easy approachable recipes any new cook can make and expand on with their own creative ideas. That's how I learned to cook and it works!

The bonus is she not only sent me the recipes, she also sent some FREE Chef Boyardee food and swag to giveaway!  I told you Stephanie was nice.

More on the giveaway in a second.

Of the four recipes I received, I tried the Taco-roni because I liked that it was full of good for you ingredients like diced tomatoes, fiber rich black beans and whole kernel corn. The only spice required is cumin and I tweaked the amount to suit my own tastes. Oh, did I mention you top it with shredded cheese and tortilla chips? Yeah I thought you’d like that!

Spice it up with your own ingredients.

I love spicy tacos so I added a few dashes of hot sauce to my Taco-roni. I also love topping tacos with chopped green onions so I garnished the dish with those. It was great! With this recipe you can never use the excuse that you don't know how to cook or don't have time. If you follow the original recipe there's no chopping, slicing or dicing required.

I meet lots of students who rely on boxed mac and cheese when they're in a crunch and if you're in that camp, I'd say you're better off with this recipe. It's equally easy to prepare and you get more food full of healthy ingredients. Definitely worth trying!

Taco-roni (my tweaked version)
Beefaroni with tomatoes, black beans and corn topped with shredded cheese and tortilla chips

Makes: 4 bowls of Taco-roni

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Total Time: 25 min

2 cans (15 oz) Chef Boyardee Beefaroni
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (no salt added), drained
1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained
1 cup frozen kernel corn
½ tsp ground cumin
Couple dashes of hot sauce
¼ cup shredded cheese
½ cup broken yellow tortilla chips
Chopped green onions

In a large pot, combine beefaroni, tomatoes, beans, corn, cumin and hot sauce. Stir and cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle with cheese. Top with tortilla chips and chopped green onions.

For the giveaway, one of you awesome people will receive:

 Two Cans of Beefaroni

Four Chef Boyardee Money Saving Coupons
(More cash money in your pocket!)

Four Chef Boyardee Recipe Cards

A Chef Boyardee Note Pad 
(So others can leave you “Thanks for Sharing Your Taco-roni” messages on the fridge. Awwwe...wouldn't that be nice!)

A Chef Boyardee Lunch Tote
 (Carry your leftover Taco-roni in it or if you’re in college, use it to carry cans of your favorite beverage...while walking to a campus party...I’m just sayin’)

Psst...it also comes with some bubble wrap with the big bubbles. LOVE popping those!

Leave a comment telling me how you would spice up your Taco-roni.

For Extra Entries
3. Tweet or share on Facebook or your blog about this giveaway with a link back here.

*Leave a comment to let me know which of these you did.
    I will pick and announce the winner here on November 15th!

     Get in on the action today....since this giveaway ends next week!


    1. I'm definitely going to give that the old college try. :)

      Love how easy the recipe is. I'll definitely make my portion spicy!

    2. Thanks "I Sing"!
      So far your chances are looking pretty good!

    3. I would go a slightly different route! I would add a finely diced Chilpotle pepper, a teaspoon of adobo sauce, chopped fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions and black olives. I would garnish withe chopped lettuce and grated cheddar, and I would service with nachos on the side.

    4. Sounds like an excellent idea to me Colleen!

    5. I would add chopped tomatoes, fresh green pepper, diced purple onion, and a few dashes of Maggi for more of a robust smoked beef flavor. Topped with grated cheese and dollops of plain yogurt. For a little more color, always like adding a bit of fresh chopped parsley.

      Liked your page and ChefBoyardi, and shared on my FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/cookapalooza?sk=wall#!/Terrymac1/posts/256576437725107

    6. I would spice up my Taco-roni with canned chopped chillies. I love a little extra zing!

    7. I follow Chef Boyardee on Facebook.

    8. I follow Cookapalooza on Facebook.