Sunday, January 29, 2012

Special Dining in the Rainforest with Bertolli Roasted Chicken and Rotini Pasta Soup


Bertolli has a variety of new restaurant quality soups out. They are prepared on the stovetop in about 5 minutes.  Each one is individually flash frozen at the peak of freshness for maximum flavor.  I was excited to try the soups with my family and prepare a special meal for them - with less than one hour of prep time.  I decided to go with a rainforest theme - my boys just love animals.

First, I used my bread machine to make a dough.  I used a dough recipe for challah and added 10 drops of green food coloring.  This took about 5 minutes of prep time.  Then the bread machine took care of the rest.  Once the dough was ready, I took it out and stretched it and shaped it around some custard cups.  Then I transferred it to a greased baking sheet and let it rise an hour.  Total active prep time on this about another 5 minutes.  (If necessary, you could make the dough the day before, and place it in the fridge until ready to bring out for shaping and rising). 

I added raisins for eyes and pepperoni cut to a forked tongue shape before baking the bread at 375* for 25 minutes.  I left the custard cups nestled around the bread to help it hold shape.  I then tossed together a prepared Caesar salad and started pulling together the table.  I used blue cellophane and floral moss to create the Amazon river down the middle of our table.  I used family silver and blue laced napkins to add a little beauty.  Small, red votive candles were also a nice touch.  Then I started the soup.  Cort was impatient and got in his chair before dinner was ready.

The boys had monkey plates, bowls, and cups on bamboo placemats.  Small stuffed animals from the rainforest came to dinner too.

Paul and I had butterfly themed plates and bowls, with blue goblets for our drinks.  I had a frog eating beside me for the evening.  Can you see the slight green tinge to the snake bread?

Cort really approved of the soup!  Actually, we all did.  I'm not a huge fan of canned soups or microwave dinners, so I was a little skeptical at first.  But the soup tastes homemade.  The veggies are tender crisp with lots of flavor.  And the chicken isn't all rubbery without flavor like so many frozen meals - no, the chicken was tender and tasted as though it had just been baked fresh in the oven.  Overall, it was a delicious meal, and I think took me about 45 minutes total in prep time to pull together a fun themed meal for my family.  They loved the special settings and I think having more formal circumstances helped them to eat more enthusiastically.  Cort took his first bite and exclaimed, "YUMMY!"
For more fun and easy meal ideas, you can check out Bertolli on Facebook, twitter, and of course, the Bertolli website.  The website is very user-friendly, and I found it helpful in locating a nearby grocery store that carried their soups. 

How do you make meal time special at your house?

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Bertolli to participate in the Weeknight Meal Special Challenge.  All of the opinions stated above are entirely my own (and my family's). 

30 comments:

Jill said...

Wow, Lisa! This is fabulous!

cat said...

No wonder Cort got in his chair early. What a fun and inviting table setting. The monkey plates and animal companions are too cute! I am always on the lookout for fast dinners with minimal prep time. Can't wait to try this Bertolli soup! But I am going to buy a loaf of bread at Panera. Thanks for posting this. :-)

Close to Home said...

too cute, you really made it fun and different. I am sure your kids loved it! new follower here too, great blog!

Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

So cute! I love your creative meal ideas!

Jane said...

Lisa,you are such a good mother! What child wouldn't enjoy such a meal. Thanks for sharing. Blessings Jane

Michaele said...

Ya - I'm with Cort. Come early, stay late - eat well!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Yum. That looks good. And you are too cute and creative. Can I come over for dinner, too, please? :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I bet they had fun! What a great idea.

My Journey With Candida said...

Ha!! so that is why you were asking about the custard cups.

This turned out so great. You went to a lot of work.

Sally said...

Your creativity always amazes me, Lisa. I'm glad you introduce the boys to new foods in such a fun and loving way. :)

Jackie H. said...

Cute snake bread!!

Ginny said...

What a nice surprise post!!!! Because I have almost bought this exact same Chicken And Rotini Soup. Now I will the next time I go to the grocery store, I can't wait. We watch Top Chef, and they actually used the Bertolli frozen meals in one of their challenges once. They gave each chef a bag of a different Bertolli, and they had to replicate a frozen meal of their own while looking at the Bertolli and figuring out how they do it so well. Your bread and your table ROCK!!!! Some of the plates look like Target? I love their kids plates and bowls and have lots. I don't know how you think of all these things, while raising three small children!! the centerpiece is great ans I love the cellophane and moss idea!! You need to write a book with photos on kids meals, you could make a lot of money!

Kathleen said...

Nice to know kids like it. I watch my grandangels on the weekends... I liked the Tuscan Beef and Veggies... very tasty :)

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Awwww, you made it so fun for the kids! Love your rainforest theme.

I must admit that you make me want to try that variety next! :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This is really amazing! I love your snake and the table setting! The soup does sounds great!

Jen said...

That is so awesome!!! What a great idea with your rainforest theme.
Love it :)

Tracy said...

Lisa, we love Bertoli but I never knew they made soups...we eat soup most days in the winter and always have it available so now I have something new to try...you make dinner fun!

Debbie said...

making food fun for the kiddo's is so important!!

i am excited to try this soup, they make lasagna rolls that are wonderful as well!!

Michelle a.k.a. Farmchick said...

This look like fun and I can see that Cort liked it. When can we come over....

Inger said...

Your kids are blessed with a very creative and fun mom, that's for sure. What a great idea and I'm glad the soup was good too.

Navigating Northward said...

Very creative - love the bread.

Helene said...

Our mealtimes are nowhere as special and as fun as yours!! My kids would love to eat at your house!! I would never have thought to do that with bread!

We have those same monkey plates and bowls...Target? Love that place!!!

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

AW!! Great job for making the family involved. We love Bertollis!! They are great meals when you need something quick! I need to check out some you mentioned!

Rambling Redhead said...

Nice Lisa. Very creative. Looks like the kids loved it :)

Barbara said...

I love it all! Especially that bread, how creative!

Chatty Crone said...

Looks good Lisa. I forgot about it being February soon. I'm hoping he does not see his shadow here. sandie

A Quiet Corner said...

Baby Girl, all you had to do was put the boys' coats on, trek up your mountain with the garden hose, turn on the sprinkler and you would have been in a real RAIN FOREST!!!! Love what you did!!!...:)JP

Tina said...

Such an imaginative way to feed your family! I don't like snakes, but I loved the snake bread. I'm not a cook, but you made it sound so easy . . .

warren said...

You are so cool! I love the snake bread!

Kim said...

OH how fun! I should suggest this to Shaune. He loves making bread.