I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Kraft First Taste or not, but basically it’s a website for fans of Kraft food (can you say cheese?) to try out free samples and get coupons for their products. Over the last couple of years I’ve probably gotten at least 20 free items and had large coupons for ‘money off’ of additional items to share with friends. Right now in fact, I have some for packages of lunchmeat, adult type lunchables, shredded cheese with PHILLY cream cheese added, and cottage cheese products in my drawer, waiting for me to find them at the store. Sometimes it’s hard to find them in our area, but some of the products are actually already in stores before I get the coupons. If you’re interested, signing up is free and you basically take a couple of online surveys to say how you liked the experience. Free food, what could be better, right?
The First Taste website has recently been partnering with the House Party site. In fact, that’s where I learned about House Parties. They are a bit like the first taste thing, except they partner with a lot of different companies, and the booty is bigger. Right now they are partnering with Ball Canning, Redbook magazine, and Expo markers, just to name a few. I signed up to host a Dinnertime Delimma House Party, figuring we could do a ‘break the news’ about the baby party and fix everyone some good food to celebrate. Turns out EVERYONE was busy in March, so we put it off. Nevertheless, the prize pack came and I was able to hold onto it until Memorial Day, when everyone had a day off. Score! So here’s what went down: I took my FOUR (yes, FOUR) free cream cheese coupons for the Cooking Creme (it’s like cream cheese on steroids with flavors, ya’ll)…and picked those up from the store. There were the original flavor, Santa Fe, and Italian Herb and Cheese (there’s also a garlic flavor but our store sucks and didn’t have it). I look through the included recipe book and online for ideas. This is what I came up with:
Tortellini pasta with the Italian Herb and Cheese Cooking Creme– boil water, cook pasta, stir in the cooking creme, done.
Mashed potatoes with Origiinal Cooking Creme ( I wanted to use the garlic here, but couldn’t)– boiled potatoes with minced garlic, drained, mashed with milk and the cooking creme, done.
Sante Fe Nachos- I used the recipe book on this one, but basically we added some taco type cheese to the Santa Fe creme, cooked it together, and dumped it and some canned chili over some chips and sprinkled cheese on top. Next time, I’d just put the combo on individual plates, because the chili seemed to soak up the chips and make them soggy, but the taste was REALLY good. I highly recommend this.
My mom served bbq pork sandwiches to go along with this and I baked up some mix cookies before we left, so that was the main course and dessert.
As you can see, using the product is not hard, I basically just added it to, or used it in place of, something else. I asked everyone how they liked it. I don’t think the kids were all that impressed, but they did seem to eat their stuff okay. Considering I went in not having done ANY of this before, I thought it turned out pretty well. I would have added some chicken broth to the mashed potatoes if I did it all over again, they seemed a little bit sticky without some extra liquid. The pasta was in the same boat, it was a little thick, but we were trying to stretch to feed more than 10 people, so we had to just go with the flow and hope that it worked out okay. Matthew and I have used the Santa Fe blend to make chicken enchiladas, just adding it to the mix. We found that in doing that, we were able to fill all our tortillas and have a bunch left over, so we ate the leftover with chips a la nachos, and it was REALLY good, even cold. The blend isn’t too spicy, anyone would be able to eat it, and it’s not loaded with pepper flavor either, like you sometimes get with salsas. I know my mom has used some of her coupons to make different chicken recipes from the website to feed guests, and made homemade pizza dough and used the Italian herb and cheese creme to make calzones. She said they were great, and I look forward to doing that myself.
I think the cooking creme is great in place of regular cream cheese that always seems to take so long to melt into recipes. We have one particular recipe I can’t wait to try the creme in, because we always ended up with chunks of cream cheese because it only bakes 10 minutes, and I think this will solve that problem. The next time we have guests, I think we’ll serve the nachos, too, probably with homemade chili instead of canned. These would be great for a football party.
For attending, my guests were provided with Cooking creme coupons (each family got several), recipe booklets, notepads, magnets, coupons to the home shopping network (that I don’t get, but they were in there), and wooden spoons, all the items were embossed with the cooking creme theme of course. We all proceeded to threaten the children with paddlings if they didn’t eat their dinner, and so on. No children were harmed during the party. 🙂 All in all, I think this was a great success. I would happily host a house party again, and I’ve attempted to sign up for several, but slots are hard to come by, it’s basically the quickest hand I think that gets them!
As a host, I was given 4 coupons for PHILLY Cooking Creme, a GreenPan stainless steel skillet, and an oven mitt to use to cook the food. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are truly my own. Cause I am like that, you know?!?