Pros: Quick and easy, a meal in 30 minutes from start to finish
Cons: Bland, and very thin sauce doesn't taste like real alfredo.
I grew up on Hamburger Helper, and my husband fixes it quite often. Betty Crocker had a huge hit with their Hamburger Helper prepared box meals, and soon they came out with two more varieties - Tuna Helper and Chicken Helper.
We've tried them all, and we especially like pasta, so the last Chicken Helper we cooked was their Fettuccini Alfredo.
Description and Directions
This comes in a 6.8 ounce box, and is described as a Fettuccini Pasta with Alfredo Sauce Mix. You will need to add 2 tablespoons of margarine, 1 cup hot water, 1 3/4 cups milk and 1 pound uncooked boneless chicken breasts.
Like most Helper meals, this one is also a skillet dinner. Most of the work is already done for you, all you need to do is cut up the chicken into 1 inch pieces.
Cook the chicken pieces in melted margarine in a large skillet, add the water, milk, sauce mix and uncooked pasta noodles. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender and chicken is done.
Enriched Pasta (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin and Folic Acid), Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Dried Corn Syrup, Dried Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Dried Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Buttermilk, Maltodextrin, Whey, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Monosodium Glutamate, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sodium Caseinate, Dried Parsley Flakes, Mono and Diglycerides, Dried Garlic, Sodium Citrate, Spices, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Soy Flour, Egg.
(One serving equals 1 cup)
Calories from fat: 80
Total fat: 1g
Saturated fat: 0g
Vitamin A: 6%
Folic Acid: 15%
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty, how does this meal taste? Honestly, Chicken Helper Fettuccini Alfredo was not our favorite Chicken Helper dinner.
Although there is parmesan cheese, milk products and garlic in the sauce mix, we were not very satisfied with the overall alfredo flavor. It was a little bit bland, and needed something - I just didn't know what. So of course we added salt and pepper, but this is already pretty high in sodium so that really wasn't a healthy thing to do.
The sauce was also pretty thin, and cooking the skillet dinner a bit longer didn't thicken it up, and only made the noodles too mushy.
The back of the box gives some suggestions for making this meal "your own", and recommend mixing in vegetables such as 1 cup peas, 1 box spinach, or 1 jar of sliced mushrooms.
For toppings they recommend 1 chopped tomato, 4 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, or 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.
When my grocer had their Helper meals on sale for 99 cents, I purchased two of these boxed dinners. They do make a very quick and easy meal, but the next one I cook I will definitely make some changes. Here's what I would try:
* Add peas and mushrooms to the skillet
* Top with freshly grated parmesan and romano cheese
* Use butter instead of margarine
* Substitute whole milk or half & half for the milk
Those changes might give it more of a rich and authentic alfredo taste.
For 99 cents I certainly can't complain. However, if I end up adding all of those ingredients to make it an enjoyable meal, and considering I have to add my own chicken anyway, I might as well make it from scratch.
Sorry, Betty Crocker, but I can't recommend this one. I think I'll call your toll free number and take you up on your "Red Spoon Promise" that I'll enjoy this meal. They'll probably mail me a coupon to try another variety.
Two thumbs down.