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!"
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).