Without fail, every weeknight right around 5:00 pm my husband's phone rings. I try his office number first and, on the chance that he doesn't answer there, his cell phone is next.
He always says that he can tell what kind of day it has been for the kids and I by precisely what time the call happens. 4:56? Things must be going poorly. 5:27? We must be having too much fun playing.
Along with that part of our daily routine, the ensuing conversation typically follows the same predictable pattern of neither of us having any new or interesting suggestions of what to have for dinner. "What do you want?" "I don't know. What do you want?" That sort of thing.
Therefore, when Bertolli challenged me to make a weeknight meal time extra special, I was looking forward to attempting to add a little creativity into our same old, same old and come up with an out of the ordinary experience for my family. Given the restriction of only spending a maximum one hour of prep time, it was time to see what Bertolli Meal Soups could do to make things special.
Billed as restaurant-quality, fresh tasting, hearty meal soups that are available in the freezer aisle, Bertolli Meal Soups are easily prepared on the stove and ready to enjoy at home in minutes.
Each of the four varieties (Chicken Minestrone, Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta, Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken, and Tuscan-Style Beef with Vegetables) contain only the best vegetables, meats, pasta and herbs individually flash frozen at the peak of freshness.
With the main portion of the meal taken care of, all I needed to do was add some decorations and a little ambiance and we would have our own nice evening out... even though we were staying in.
First up, I prepared my ingredients.
Next, I was happy to discover that preparing Bertolli Meal Soup really is as easy as they claim. Simply pour the frozen contents from the bag into a pot, add one cup of water, bring it to a boil, and simmer. That's it! There is even an option to heat it in the microwave if you prefer that route.
While the soup was on, I quickly chopped up my salad and turned to tackle our main issue: the table.
At most points throughout the day, our table serves as the central point in the house. As well as meals, it doubles as my desk, a shelf, an arts & crafts station, a library, a play area, and much more... meaning that when it comes time for dinner, it's just not pretty. We usually shove things to the side enough that there's room for our plates and glasses, but that's about the extent of "setting the table." Not exactly reminiscent of a restaurant, right?
Although I wasn't planning on pulling out anything ultra-fancy (we were, after all, dining with a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old), I knew that the act of clearing off the table completely would make a big difference to the feel of the meal.
It didn't take all that long before I had turned our haphazard piles into something much more inviting and all that was left to do was add the family and the food and we were ready!
Although my husband and I are both longtime fans of soup, there was some initial hesitancy from both kids when they realized that soup and salad was what was on the menu for the night. However, once they took a look and realized that this wasn't the thin soup that they're used to, they were willing to give it a try.
And another after that.
Yum! This is definitely not your average soup and the Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken flavor was a hit. The combination of the cheese-filled tortellini, white meat chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a rich tomato bisque with a hint of basil... it's definitely more of a meal than just a simple bowl of soup.
My husband commented on how much he enjoyed having Bertolli Meal Soup for dinner and, as the 24oz package (which resulted in 32oz of soup) retailed for over $8 at our local grocery store (it is typically supposed to be around $6.40), I was glad to hear it!
This new line of hearty, fresh-tasting meal soups from Bertolli is available in the frozen aisle of grocery retailers nationwide, including Walmart and Target. You can also connect with Bertolli on Facebook and Twitter.
I was compensated by Bertolli to participate in the Weeknight Meal Special Challenge but all ideas and opinions shared are honest and my own.