I think most parents know the challenges of making a good and healthy dinner on a weeknight. When asked to take this Make a weeknight dinner special challenge, sponsored by Bertolli Meal Soups, I was up for it. We were only given one hour preparation time, which is about the most we have to prepare our families a meal, but this time making it a little more special than frozen nuggets and mac and cheese.
I have used Bertolli sauces and olive oil before but have never tried their frozen meals.
I was thrilled to find these soups come in 4 different flavors, Chicken Minestrone, Roasted Chicken and Rotini Pasta, Tomato Florentine and Tortellini with Chicken, and Tuscan-Style Beef and Vegetable. If you have not noticed the theme these are all robust and hearty for a busy day.
The package suggests it only serves 2 people, so I am a little worried about how I will feed my family on this little amount. Since my husband usually gets home late, I fed the kids something and made a special place setting just for us. My theme, european backpacking. If you went abroad you know what I am talking about, all you bought for meals was usually a bottle of wine, some cheese and bread. If you were lucky you bought something else of substance.
Bring back memories
The next challenge was making this meal special, more than opening a frozen meal option and throwing into the microwave.
Fortunately for me my family loves soups so I had a feeling this would help keeping everyone happy. I had no idea January was National Soup Month. I guess that makes sense with the cold weather. I know I have cooked several soups this month. Obviously this was by far the easiest!!
So how did I make this night special:
I toasted some bakery style bread for croutons. First rubbed with olive oil and a cut garlic clove. In the oven at 350 until golden brown. Then sprinkled with parmesan cheese and toast another minute. If you don't want to use the oven, just toast a few slices in the toaster. Once out spread it with butter and rub them with a cut piece of garlic. Surprising what a great and quick garlic bread taste you get.
With only an hour to prepare, I had my daughter and her friend find a recipe using boxed cake mix. They discovered Chocolate Chip Cookie cake. (I will post about this later) To make these even faster you could make cupcakes, they cook in half the time. Once the hour buzzer ended for food preparation, the cake was cooling and we were eating our soups.
Since I was making it for my husband and I, my daughter and I used some French themed placemats and napkins, added a tray of the bread and cut up fruits and cheese.
Added some candlesticks and a bottle of wine. This says special on the weeknight, even the weekend in our house!
Just plate the soup and add the crouton on top with a little extra cheese if you wish.
REVIEW OF SOUP: My husband and I were both impressed with the soup. This was not like a canned soup with overcooked veggies and pasta, but was just as easy. All you do is add 1 cup of water to the frozen mixture and bring to a boil. Worried about the sodium I added about 1 1/2/2 cups of water and it was still delicious.
It is pretty true to its serving size, my husband and I both had a large bowl and my husband went back for a little extra and my son snuck a smaller bowl.
Right out of bad
You could probably extend it to feed a family of four by adding some more chicken stock and a can of beans but don't mess with it too much.
Thanks Bortelli for giving me an excuse to dress up my table and enjoy some quiet time with my husband. Sometimes we feel we have to made an extravagant meal to impress, but a hearty soup and some bread, fruit and cheeses will do the trick!
Wanted to add there was a $1 off coupon in todays Sunday coupon section. Grab it and give it a try.
These soups can be found in the Frozen section at your grocers to find a retailer near you, check out Bertolli's Website. You can also find more about Bertolli and these Meal soups and other products on Facebook and Twitter.
I was fully compensated by Bertolli to participate in the Weeknight Meal Special Challenge but all the opinions are my own.