Friday, October 26, 2012

Chef Boyardee Meets Top Chef - Party Idea

Since Chef Boyardee is launching their latest fun project - The Little Chefs Project - I thought it might be a good time to re-share this idea for a great party with your kids and friends.  Last winter I won a package from and Chef Boyardee to host a party.  Now I love all the cooking shows on TV these days, including "Top Chef" (you could do this sort of theme around any of your favorite cooking competition shows) and a lot of my family and friends love to cook as well.  So I decided to make this party a competition - which also meant that I didn't have to supply all the food which made it a cheap party for me to host.
I started with the great party package that was sent by Chef Boyardee and HouseParty which included an insulated lunch bag, a cute chef's hat, notepads for all the guests, recipe cards for all the guests, coupons for all the guests, and coupons for several free cans of Chef Boyardee products.

I like to do favors for every party I host and I want them to look nice but I am cheap (ahem, frugal) and look for items at places like the checkout aisle, dollar stores, clearance aisles, etc. that are either less than $1 each or come in packs that can be split among goody bags.  I also save extras from one party to the next because I have often found other uses for them - so I had little cutting board mats left from another party that fit the chef theme and were perfect to include with the goody bags.
I found these great little kitchen towels for $1 each at Dollar Tree where I also found 3-packs of black plastic serving spoons/spatulas, 8-packs of pecan tart scented votive candles, and 12-pack cellophane favor bags for $1 each.

Into each cellophane favor bag went a coupon, a recipe card, a notepad, a votive candle, and a serving spoon/spatula.  I tied the favor bags shut around the base of the serving spoon.  Then I laid this on top of the towel and placed the cutting mat under it.  I used a length of fall decorating wire garland to tie each bundle together and added a coordinating ribbon.
I used the freebie coupons to purchase several cans of non-typical flavors of Chef Boyardee and every 10 minutes I drew the name of a guest and they picked a can to take home.  For the winner's prize, I used the insulated lunch bag and filled it with the same items as the goody bags, as well as, some cans of Chef Boyardee, some nicer cooking utensils, and some nice storage containers.

I used the HouseParty website to invite guests but there are a lot of great free websites like that allow you to create invitations you can send online or print.  Guests were instructed to bring their dish in a foil baking dish (for easy cleanup & reheating).  Labels were put in front of each dish so guests knew the name of the dish they were sampling and voting for.
Guests sampled each dish and then placed their vote for the best dish in a bowl.  At the end of the party the votes were tallied and the Top Chef was named.  I also provided storage containers to guests who wanted to take home the leftovers.
All the food was great.  The kids had a lot of fun cooking and competing too and the winner this time - the youngest competitor, my 8 year old, with her pot pie recipe!  See a list of all the recipes from the party below.  The guests were all surprised by new products they had not tried before and by how many diverse dishes could be made from Chef Boyardee products (many said they had never considered making something different out of the canned pastas).  My daughter and her pot pie recipe are now in regular rotation for dinner - which means I get an easy night!
Chef Boyardee Prize Pot Pie:
1 can Chef Boyardee mini ravioli
1 can Chef Boyardee beefaroni
1 can spinach, drained well
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1 package refrigerated pie crust

Line a 9-inch pie pan with 1 pie crust.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  In a large bowl mix pasta and spinach well.  Fill pie crust with pasta/spinach blend and top with shredded cheese.  Top with second pie crust and make a couple of steam holes in the top of the crust.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until pie crust is lightly browned.

BLT Pasta:
1 leek, sliced thinly into crescents
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small can diced tomatoes, drained well
2 cans Chef Boyardee Mac n Cheese
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
¼ cup chopped bacon pieces
Salt and pepper

In a small pan, saute leek crescents in olive oil.  Add salt and pepper and cook until soft and lightly browned.  In baking dish mix leeks, tomato, pasta and a little more salt and pepper.  Spread evenly and top with shredded cheese and bacon pieces.  Bake at 350 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are lightly browned.

Cheesy Pasta Bake
2 cans Chef Boyardee Big Beefaroni
2 cans Chef Boyardee lasagna
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 can whole tomatoes, cut up
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Thawed frozen meatballs, cut in half

Mix canned ingredients and meatballs.  Top with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until melted and bubbly.

Tortilla Ravioli
Small flour tortillas
1 can Chef Boyardee ravioli
1 carton cottage cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 Green pepper, diced
1 Onion, diced
Shredded cheese – whatever kind you like

Mix cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and garlic.  Spread tortillas with cottage cheese mixture.  Fill with 3 ravioli, 3 pepperoni, green pepper, and onion.  Roll and place in baking dish.  Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Chicken Alfredo
1 can Chef Boyardee Alfredo Sauce
1 roasted chicken breast, diced
1 package fettuccine, cooked according to directions and drained
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 small chopped mushrooms

Melt butter, saute onions, garlic and chopped mushrooms.  Add alfredo sauce and heat through.  Add cream cheese and stir until melted.  Add chicken.  Poor over fettuccine.

Chef Boyardee Pizza Sauce
3 packages crescent rolls
1 onion - chopped
1 clove garlic - chopped
3 tablespoons butter
6 portabella mushrooms - chopped
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1 fresh tomato chopped
4 large fresh Basil leaves chopped

Spread crescent rolls to line a 12 x 17 baking sheet – bake til slightly golden.  While rolls are baking, sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms in butter until almost soft.  Remove from rolls oven and spread with pizza sauce.  Distribute onion, garlic, mushroom mixture evenly over pizza.  Distribute mozzarella by the tablespoon along with the basil and pepperoni.  (Can also put a tablespoon of Mrs. Dash over the top.)

Recipes Posted On the HouseParty Forum By Other HouseParty Guests:

Simple Pasta Fagioli Soup:
2 cans of Chef Boyardee Mini Pasta Shells and Meatballs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 cups chicken stock
1 15oz. can cannellini beans
1 15oz. can kidney beans
1 15oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
freshly grated Parmesan (as desired)

Saute onion, celery and carrot in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. In a stock pot, combine sauted vegetables, chicken stock, cannellini beans, kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, and spices. Bring to a boil before turning it to low. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. Remove thyme and rosemary springs, as well as the bay leaf. Add Chef Boyardee and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve soup with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

Chef Boyardee ABC’s 123’s Minestrone:
3 cans ABC's & 123's with meatballs
3 cups mixed veggies – frozen, canned or fresh
1 can chicken stock

Add all to a saucepan and simmer until hot.  For a zippy version add red pepper flake and oregano.

Beefaroni Mini Pies
Wanton wrappers
Ricotta cheese
Grated mozzarella cheese

Layer in muffin tin in this order - Wonton wrapper, Beefaroni, Wanton wrapper, Ricotta cheese, Wanton wrapper, Beefaroni, Wanton wrapper, Mozzarella cheese.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve hot and enjoy!


Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

That looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for visiting my blog this morning and leaving such a nice comment and joining in the fun. I tried to respond, but you are a coming up as a no-reply blogger. You'll get more response from other bloggers if you fix that in your settings. (Unless it's intentional of course.) If you need help, let me know. Otherwise, I'm happy to be following you via GFC and looking forward to more!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Danni! I had that fixed at one point but somehow got switched back to by Google+ profile. I think I've got it fixed now. :) Thanks for following!

Sonja said...

Found you on the Aloha blog hop - I'm a new follower! Would love a follow back at

Jenn said...

Sounds like fun! The simple pasta fagioli soup sounds great!

Rosilind Jukic said...

What fun!!! I wonder how I might be able to use this as inspiration to something similar here. Thanks for linking up this wonderful idea!!