Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Fun With Velveeta

Ask and ye shall receive: I was wondering what I could quickly find to write about today, and in the mail I found a little “Simple Shortcuts” booklet from the Kraft Food & Family people. Most of the recipes were probably OK to eat and could only be faulted for their overreliance on processed foods (Kraft brands, of course), but this one seems pretty alarming. Oh, it looks harmless enough:

What could possibly go wrong?

Velveeta plus spaghetti sauce. Sure, uh, what? Inasmuch as Velveeta can be considered cheese—and I am not saying that it can, just to be perfectly clear—it does not seem like the kind of cheese that goes with spaghetti sauce. I can grudgingly see a role for it with salsa and tortilla chips, but with marinara and pasta? Uh, no.

Unless the spaghetti sauce doesn’t actually have any flavor beyond tomato, which is true of some commercial sauces. Maybe that’s what they’re going for. I was a little surprised to see no brand being touted here; surely Kraft owns a spaghetti sauce brand? There are other recipes in the booklet that call for similarly nameless sauce, which probably rules out the idea that the recipe creators just decided none of the house flavors really were suited to the recipe.

The nutrition information for all recipes is listed in the back of the booklet. This recipe has 520 calories per serving, 14 grams of fat (7 g saturated), 100 mg of cholesterol, 1,000 mg of sodium, 55 g of carbohydrate, 3 g of fiber, 11 g of sugars and 40 g of protein. Which to me looks like it has too much of everything but fiber. Not too surprising; I’m pretty sure the U.S. RDA of Velveeta is zero.

Cheesy Chicken Italiano
3 cups rotini pasta (1/2 lb.)
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 jar (14 oz.) spaghetti sauce
6 oz. Velveeta, cubed

COOK pasta. HEAT a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat. ADD chicken; cook for 2 min. on each side. ADD sauce; cover and simmer over low heat for 10 min. or until chicken is cooked [165° F]. ADD Velveeta; stir until melted. TOP pasta with chicken and sauce. SERVES 4.

Turn this dish into dinner just by adding cooked green beans.

From Kraft Food & Family Simple Shortcuts Fall 2008


Samatakah said...

As a Californian married to a Texan, I have come to realize that Velveeta does have a use after all: Queso. Velveeta + RoTel (tomatoes + hot peppers) = queso. Get the chips and get out of the way.

Otherwise, if it includes Velveeta, just get out.

sally said...

I'm sorry. When I was growing up, we used Velveeta for trout fishing. As bait. We made little bells of it around our hooks. Fish love it. Then again, fish eat various insects and also the eggs of other fish. If a fish likes it, chances are it shouldn't go into my mouth.

I'll give it a pass, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Once I was supposed to make little pumpkin treats for a class Halloween party. My mother and I were supposed to break pieces off of a block of Velveeta and roll them into balls in our hands, then stick celery crescents in the tops for stems. Sounds relatively wholesome, right? The recipe didn't mention that Velveeta turns green when handled.

Some of my old classmates still tell that story. And that was kindergarten.

And I still can't bear to eat Velveeta.

Jenny Islander

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot the best bit:

Velveeta doesn't turn green when handled. It turns green after you carefully cover the cookie sheets full of little Velveeta-and-celery pumpkins with foil and slide them into the fridge for safekeeping until tomorrow.

Jenny Islander