Kraft Updated Shepherd's Pie - © 2020 KraftHeinz

COVID-19 Lock Down Cooking Fun: Kraft/Heinz Cookbook

Yesterday, we posted about Kraft/Heinz’s latest goofy PR stunt: Offering limited edition KD Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese Dinner kits to celebrate Fall. While researching that nutty story, we ran across a reference to a special K/H downloadable Essential Quarantine Cookbook…

5-Minute Layered Salad Page - © 2020 Kraft Heinz

As you might imagine, the thinnish cookbook – which, by the way, is beautifully designed and laid out with downloading and print-out in mind – leverages Kraft/Heinz products wherever possible in some really easy, minimum-ingredient, fast recipes. But don’t despair: You don’t have to use K/H ingredients specifically: key substitutions are footnoted where appropriate.

The photography is a highlight and, as usual in Kraft/Heinz ads and promos, makes you want to sit right down and hog-off two portions at once of whatever dish you’re looking at.

And the warm, comforting selection of weekday/weekend mains is specially curated for lock down cooks who might not have as much cooking experience as most faithful followers of this blog. Nevertheless, for the faithful, it’s refreshing to find some simple, flavourful meals that don’t require a lot of fussing or, for that matter thinking, after what may have been a long, frustrating (or boring) day.

‘Why we made this’

“We’ve curated 20 of our favourite recipes to help you through this time of social distancing and isolation,” the preface to the book begins. “Inside you’ll find easy recipes for kids, some freezer-friendly ideas to make use of pantry essentials, some recipes that are kind to the bank balance and a few quick fixes for when you’re low on time. With a focus on simplicity and comfort, we hope you’ll find this cookbook an essential guide to creating some easy meal options while staying home.”

Focus for a moment on that last sentence. I love the idea that K/H is on the same planet I am about letting your imagination out to play. There is lots of room to enhance or customize these basic recipes to suit your family’s particular preferences.

Some pertinent examples…

The book is separated into 4 sections containing 5 recipes each:

01 KIDS AT HOME
02 PANTRY & FREEZER FRIENDLY
03 WALLET WATCHERS
04 TIME SAVERS

No surprise that the Kids section is heavy, ingredients-wise, on Peanut Butter and Bananas. And the recipes aren’t exactly ‘family mains. The closest you get are Velveeta Ultimate Mac & Cheese, and Banana Peanut Butter Pancakes. But there’s no question that even the youngest kids can get involved in prepping and mixing these mainly-sweet treats if you help with the stove/oven.

Perhaps the most complex concoctions with the most ingredients are found in the Pantry & Freezer Friendly section. But they’re still relative lightweights, with no more than 9 ingredients apiece – and one truly minimalist dish (Oven BBQ Chicken Breasts) that calls for only 2!

Among my faves…

As an admittedly old-fashioned gal with a deep Scottish roots, I’m particularly interested to try the Updated Shepherd’s Pie, which is topped off with Garlic Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes.

I giggled when I saw the ingredients list for the One-Pot Salsa Beef Skillet, requiring one 8 ox. / 228 ml jar of prepared Salsa and one box of Kraft Extra Creamy Mac & Cheese Dinner. A quick, genius idea, really!

The Cheeseburger Joes call for only 4 ingredients, take only 5 minutes to mix up (max.) and 15 min. to simmer. Relying flavour-wise on Kraft BarBQ Sauce, kids will settle for nothing less after they’ve tried this version of the sloppy, slurpy classic!

Finally, I envision the 5-Minute Layered Southwest Salad more as Knife and Fork Nachos, with the primary ingredients tossed together as indicated but topped with additional Shredded Cheese, heated under the broiler until the Cheese on top bubbles, and then garnished with more Cheese and the Shredded Lettuce. Also, as a non-finger-food version of Nachos, I’d prefer the Corn Chip fragments to be nice and small, convenient for Soup Spoon Scooping…

Anyway, scoot over…

… To the download page for The Essential Quarantine Cookbook and download it for free. And spend half an hour or so with a nice, hot cup of Coffee assessing it’s possibilities for yourself…

~ Maggie J.

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