Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bertolli Meal Soup

Obviously, I like to cook, right? And you might know that I work from home. Which means that lunch can be whatever I want it to be. Anything at all.

But my dirty little secret is that I don't always want to eat what I made.

It's not that I dislike my own cooking, but if I made something for dinner the night before and I know we're having leftovers for dinner later, I might not want that same thing for lunch. No matter how good it is, something different is often much more appealing.

Sometimes that means I'll be eating a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Or something else simple. Because, really, as much as I like to cook, I don't want to make a fuss for lunch. On the other hand, there are times when I want something that's a little more ... substantial. More like a meal.

As much as that's true for lunch, it's also true for the times when I happen to be eating dinner alone.So when I got an offer from Bertolli to sample on of their new Meal Soups, I figured it was worth a try.

I like soup. I make a lot of soup. But remember that part about me wanting something that I didn't cook? Yep, that's where this soup comes in. It's fast, it's easy, and it's a heck of a lot better than canned soup.

I bought the Tomato Florentine and Tortellini with Chicken. Kind of a long name, but it gets all the main points covered. In case you don't know it, "florentine" is code for "has spinach in it."

When I opened the package, I was pleased to see that all of the components were frozen separately - the chunks of chicken,pieces of spinach, and tortellini were frozen individually rather than in a big brick, and there were chucks of the frozen liquid, as well. IQF (individually quick frozen) foods fare much better than those that are frozen in blocks, whether we're talking about a bag of broccoli, a box of hot wings ... or soup.

All I needed to add was a cup of water, then bring it to a boil, cover it and simmer it for a while. Not complicated at all. The bag also had microwave cooking instructions, but I went with the stovetop method. Bertolli asked us to creating a dining experience using this soup in under an hour for all the prep. Including opening the package and picking out a bowl and plate that would look nice with the soup, this was ready to eat in under 15 minutes.

All it took to make a meal out of this was a few breadsticks that I had on hand. Okay, the breadsticks were made already, but there's nothing wrong with that, right? A perfectly filling meal, nicely presented. For those with larger appetites, salad would have been a nice addition to the meal, or perhaps some buns instead of breadsticks. But for me, that bowl of soup was all I needed. Well, and the breadsticks.

This isn't going to stop me from making my own soups, but I have to say that I wouldn't mind having a few bags of this on hand in the freezer for a quick meal. Since it was frozen instead of canned, it tasted a lot fresher, which is a plus.

These soups come in four varieties: Chicken Minestrone, Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta, Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken, and Tuscan-Style Beef with Vegetables.

Wanna know more? Bertolli is on Facebook and Twitter. Or check the website.

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Bertolli to participate in this Weeknight Meal Special Challenge. But of course my opinions are my own.