Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Velveeta Trilogy- Part One

One year in my Christmas stocking I got a small, paperback cookbook (2000, according to the publishing info inside). It's one of those "brand name food item" cookbooks that you find at the grocery store checkout with the National Enquirer and People magazine. It's called "Velveeta: Recipes for People Who Eat Food."
I think Santa gave it as a joke, because while everyone needs more Velveeta recipes, this is one strange little cookbook. The recipes are exactly what you'd expect, but the actual copy in the book is a little... quirky. I don't know who wrote it (no author is credited), but the chapter intros are so weird that I have to assume they locked the guy in a windowless room and told him he couldn't see his wife or kids until he wrote about "Quick Fixin' Dinners". I'll provide an example in a moment.

Recently, the little book resurfaced, and I realized I never really gave it a chance as a cookbook. I try to avoid overly processed foods, but I decided, in the spirit of fairness, to give this book a shot. Over the next couple weeks, I'll feature three recipes, along with reviews from three different chapters (to give a taste of diversity!) For all my recipes, I bought Velveeta made with 2% milk (I guess they no longer call it Velveeta Light). I was going to be super-faithful to the book and buy Minute rice, Taco Bell salsa (odd that they sell Taco Bell salsa, given that they don't have salsa at Taco Bell...), Breakstone sour cream, but bottom line, those brands all ran about 50-75 cents more expensive than my beloved Publix-brand equivalents. (I did shell out for real Velveeta, though.)

Our first recipe comes from the "Super Duper Soups and Sandwiches" chapter. From the book:
"Since achieving the title 'Super Duper', our soups and sandwiches have not been acting quite the same way as they once did. Unfortunately, the title of 'Super Duper' has gone to their heads. They have alienated all other soups and sandwiches, refusing to associate with lesser forms of nourishment. We do, however, feel somewhat responsible since we were the ones who made these recipes so good."
I can't make this stuff up, people.

Cheesy Baked Potato Soup
from Velveeta: Recipes for People Who Like Food
Makes 4 servings

3/4cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp butter (I used canola oil)
2cups water
1can chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
2-3 large baked potatoes, cut into cubes
3/4lb (12 oz) Velveeta, cubed
*I also added one box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

In a large saucepan, cook onion in butter (or oil) until soft. Stir in broth and water potatoes and broccoli, if using, heat thoroughly. Add Velveeta, stir on low heat until melted. Serve with sour cream and bacon bits.

It was really a pretty good soup. As I said, I added broccoli to boost the nutrition. If I made it again, I might replace one cup of water with milk for added richness, and I would probably use red potatoes. The baked potatoes are a good way to use leftovers (which I had), but baked potatoes are kind of grainy, which made the soup less smooth. This would be easily remedied with a waxy potato (such as reds.)


acookinthemaking said...

Wow...that intro is priceless. I'm so glad you posted it! haha

Can't wait to see your next Velveeta adventure!

Tom Aarons said...

I love a little weirdness with my cooking. It livens things up! :)