Last week we hosted a ConAgra Backyard Bash and it ended up being a Backyard Bash Washout! Don’t the kids look delighted with the turn of events! The day started out being iffy but then it seemed to clear up a bit so I was hopeful that it would be a nice evening. As we got closer and closer to the time our guests were to arrive, the darker the sky got until it was a complete downpour which lasted the whole evening!
Here is a map of the recent rainfall amounts in MN! The western suburbs have received between 4-8 inches of rain in less and a week. But the rain didn’t slow us down. We did our activities in the house and the kids played in the rain!
ConAgra sent us some party supplies: a lock box, a chef’s hat, 2 aprons and some seeds to plant. I went shopping and purchased Egg Beaters® 100% Liquid Egg Whites, Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano and Chef Boyardee® Spaghetti & Meatballs. I also picked up the ingredients to make 3 different recipes using these products.
The first dish I made is called a braided spaghetti loaf. I love how easy it was to make. The crust is a loaf of frozen bread dough that had been thawed. I spread it out in a greased pan and topped it with the spaghetti and meatballs. Then, sprinkled mozzarella cheese over it.
I made small cuts in the edges of the dough using a kitchen shears. Then, I grabbed the strips of dough and brought them together giving them a small twist to hold them in place. Then, I sprinkled the top with parmesan and seasoning.
•PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
•1 loaf (1 lb each) frozen bread dough, thawed
•2 cans (14.5 oz each) Chef Boyardee® Spaghetti & Meatballs
•1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
•1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1.Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Roll dough into 14×11-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Place dough on baking sheet. Spread Spaghetti & Meatballs lengthwise down center third of dough to within 1/2 inch of each short edge; top spaghetti with mozzarella cheese.
2.Cut sides of dough into 12 equal strips, almost to filling. To enclose filling, take strip from each side, overlap in center and pinch together. Continue with remaining strips. Press each end of loaf together and fold under. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dough is browned and spaghetti is hot. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into strips.
I made a Greek pasta salad to go along with the baked spaghetti loaf.
•12 ounces dry rotini pasta, uncooked (12 oz = 4-1/2 cups)
•2 tablespoons Pure Wesson® Canola Oil
•2 tablespoons Gulden’s® Spicy Brown Mustard
•1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
•2 cups diced unpeeled, seeded cucumber
•1 can (2.25 oz each) ripe olives, drained
•1 pkg (3.5 oz each) crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
•Coarse ground black pepper
1.Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
2.Meanwhile, mix together oil and mustard in large bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients, except pepper, until combined. Toss in cooled pasta. Sprinkle with pepper, as desired.
For dessert, we had chocolate chips cookies.
•2-1/2 cups Ultragrain® All Purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•3/4 cup Fleischmann’s® Original-stick, softened
•3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
•3/4 cup granulated sugar
•1/4 cup Egg Beaters® 100% Liquid Egg Whites
•1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1.Preheat oven 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt until well blended; set aside.
2.Beat Fleischmann’s and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add Egg Beaters and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips.
3.Drop by rounded tablespoons of dough, 3 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
4.Bake 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
I saved the cans from the tomatoes and spaghetti along with a few extra cans for planting our seeds. Before the party (while the sun was still out) I gathered together the cans, washi tape, seeds, craft sticks, markers and planting soil so that it would be ready to go. While planting the seeds, we talked about where our food comes from. The kids are excited to watch their seeds grow and hopefully, in time, they will be able to try what they grew!
• Egg Beaters are real eggs, minus the yolk. Egg Beaters are a heart healthy
option to shell eggs and provide the energy and nutrients
your body needs without all the fat, calories and cholesterol of
• Hunt’s tomatoes are grown in sunny Oakdale, California and have
been naturally steam peeled and contain no artificial
preservatives or ingredients.
• Chef Boyardee (Hector Boiardi) was a real person who wanted to
make the best sauce and pasta dinner, like he served at his
restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, more accessible for every family.
More than 85 years later, Chef Boyardee continues the tradition
of sharing quick and easy meals made with quality ingredients, no
preservatives and authentic recipes.
Each one of the kids decorated their can, planted seeds and added a craft stick plant marker. This 5 year old boy planted tomato seeds. The smaller sized apron we received was the perfect size for him so he took it home.
Vanessa planted lemon balm with her fingers that were stained blue while tie dying a t-shirt at school! She said she loves planting things and really hopes her lemon balm grows because it is so cool to be able to pick something from a garden that someone grew and then eat it!
Zack planted lemon balm too. He did not want to add a marker. He was more interested in playing with the other kids than he was in planting but was impressed with how tiny the lemon balm seeds were.
Our 13 year old friend planted lemon balm. She has been taking ecology in school. This year they planted hundreds of trees in class and once they grew the kids could take them home to plant or give them to people they know.
This young lady planted tomato seeds. Her mom said she has been waiting and waiting to plant something this spring but hasn’t had the opportunity to do so yet. So, she was really excited to get her first seeds planted!
Next, we assembled a time capsule. Each guest was asked to contribute something that represented a real family moment. Vanessa used some of my old magazines to find a picture of a tent. The tent reminds her of our family camping trips.
We were unable to bury our time capsule during the backyard bash due to the rain but here are the items that we put in our time capsule:
Tent Photo ~ camping trips
Dog Photo ~ puppy that one family has
Family Photos ~ husband & wife, siblings, family
Last Name Painting ~ love of art & family
Game Piece ~ family game night
Photo CD ~ pictures of family
We had such a nice evening and believe it or not the rain added a special element! The kids had a blast playing in the rain! It was one backyard bash they will not easily forget.