Monday, January 30, 2012

Bertolli "Make a Weeknight Meal Special" Challenge

Mealtimes at my house can be pretty chaotic, mostly because I'm not a great cook. Coming up with interesting meal ideas that everyone likes can be pretty challenging. Part of that challenge comes from the fact that I only cook 5 or 6 things really well, so when we try to work a new recipe into the rotation, I kind of panic. Why? Because I'm one of those people that can follow a recipe to the letter and still not have the dish turn out right. It's true. I once messed up Hamburger Helper. HAMBURGER HELPER, people!!!   Weeknight meals are even tougher to pull off because there is much less time to get things organized after a busy day at work and school, then get everyone fed before we have to take off for Scouts or other evening activities. So I often look for easy meals that don't take a lot of prep time, but that still taste yummy.

I had the opportunity tonight to  try out new Bertolli Meal Soups.  The challenge was to "Make a Weeknight Meal Special" using Bertolli Meal Soup and my own creativity.   The catch is that I had to have it ready to go in just an hour.  For some people that would be a walk in the park.  For me?  I was a little worried about meeting the 60 minute deadline.  However, my fears quickly dissipated once I found the Bertolli Soup Meals in the supermarket and got them home.  I grabbed two bags so the boys could have a choice: 

Tuscan Style Beef and Vegetables 

 and Tomato Florentine and Tortellini with Chicken.

All I had to do was pour the contents of each bag in a pot and add a cup of water.  NO WAY in heck I could mess this one up.

While the soups heated, I cleaned off the table which was filled with lots and lots of papers, mail and various handouts and homework assignments.  I wanted to set it with the nice dishes and a pretty centerpiece, but all my good stuff is still packed in the garage from our recent (is 5 months still considered recent?) move.  So I settled for a clutter free table, which I considered to be a decent size accomplishment all by itself!  And given ther fact that Big Man works at night, having a meal at the table as a family was pretty special too.  We don't get to do that too often because he usually leaves for work before dinnertime.

Tuscan Style Beef and Vegetables           Tomato Florentine and Tortellini with Chicken

By the time the table was set, the soup was done.  I added some crusty french bread rolls that I'd snagged when I was checking out of the grocery store and we all sat down to a yummy, easy to make meal that was ready in less than an hour.  

I started the meal at 6:50 pm and we finished eating at 7:33. No stress, no mess and everybody left the table satisfied. SUCCESS!

Things we loved about the soups:
  • Fresh ingredients...the vegetables were not all mushy and wilted, the pasta was not overcooked and the meat chunks are real meat.
  • Hearty...the soups are not all broth. The pasta and veggies give them substance to make them filling enough that they satisfied all 3 of my hungry fellows!
  • Super fast to prepare! I'm not kidding...the soups heat up in 10-15 minutes!

The only negative comment about the taste of the soup came from my husband, who loved the Tuscan Style Beef, but thought the Tomato Florentine with Tortellini was a little sweet for his taste.  I liked them both and found the Tomato Florentine to be perfectly lovely.

So tonight it was Bertolli Meal Soups for the win.  Will I buy Bertolli Meal Soups again?!  Yep, but to be honest, at $8.99 per bag at my local supermarket, I will definitely wait until I have coupons and couple those with a sale to make it a more affordable meal.  I love Bertolli products because the quality and taste of the food is always outstanding and I have no problem paying a bit more for quality ingredients.  But for a family on a really tight budget, this is not a meal we could do often without some help from sales and coupons.

Bertolli Meal Soups can be found in the freezer section of your local grocery store.  You can find out which of your local grocers carries the soups at the Bertolli website.  You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook, where you can ask questions and leave comments about the Bertolli Meal Soups product line.

**Disclosure: I was compensated by Bertolli to participate in the Weeknight Meal Special Challenge.  However, the opinions in my reviews are my own.** 


Mariana @ The Domestic Buzz said...

I picked up those same 2 varieties as well! Only tried the tomato thus far, though, and loved it. Your boys are cute!

The Digital Latina said...

I had to do the same to my table! I gave that job to the hubster lol! Great post. I also had the Tuscan Beef Veggie soup and absolutely adored it! Can't wait to have it again! Great post :)

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