Dinner is really important around these parts. My husband and I both feel that eating together is one of the best ways to make sure our family connects with one another each day. As our family has grown, meal time is getting more and more tricky. Our kids are starting to have activities that get them home later, we have a baby at the dinner table who requires extra attention and care, and we are juggling more schedules than ever before.
The hour right before dinner is always hectic. Picking up kids, starting homework, and getting dinner on the table can be a big challenge. I am always looking for dinners that are quick, easy, and delicious.
Although family dinner is always a work in progress at our house, here are three tips that can help us all make the most of meal time.
1. Be Intentional: Create a dinner ritual by eating dinner at the same time each day. Explain expectations so family members know they are expected to be at the dinner table. Try not to let activities or responsibilities interfere with this time. Get everyone involved in the prep and clean up, and start and end meal time the same way. In our house, we always start with a blessing on the food. We end with everyone (who is old enough), carrying their plates to the sink.
2. Plan Ahead: Starting to think about dinner at 5:00pm is always too late for me. Planning ahead makes dinner time less stressful and more fun for everyone. I used to be skeptical of meal plans, until I started using one. Planning ahead means I spend much less time standing in front of the fridge, with the doors open, wondering what to fix.
3. Keep Dinner Happy: Dinner is not the time to bring up all the things the kids have done wrong, or talk about how you are going to pay upcoming bills. It is a time to be together, communicate, laugh, share and eat. Save the discipline and financial stress for another time. Otherwise, our kids will never want to come home for dinner.
The Challenge: Try a new Bertolli Meal Soup, make our meal into a stand-out special dinner, and do it all in an hour or less.
You can find the soup in the frozen section of your favorite grocery store. I picked ours up at our local SuperTarget. :)
Our family choose the Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta. Feeding my husband and I, and three young children, I knew we would need two bags. I also prepared a basic green salad and garlic bread to go with the soup.
The instructions claimed it would only take about 10 minutes to have a delicious soup ready to eat.
I emptied the contents of the bag into a saucepan and then added 1 cup of water. That was it.
After bringing it all to a boil, and letting it simmer, covered for 5 minutes, I lifted the lid and this is what I found. A delicious soup ready to eat. It was full of veggies (my favorite part of any soup), pasta, and chicken. It looked and smelled great.
While it was cooking, I cut up some veggies for our salad, and broiled some Garlic Bread.
I pulled out our fancy chargers, and set the table while our son got the camera and tripod. I had all the kids pick their favorite props and put them next to their plates as decorations. The extra's were put in the middle as a centerpiece. Then the fun began.
We sat down to eat, and it was delicious. I couldn't believe that I was eating a frozen soup. I was worried about the noodles being mushy, and the chicken being "iffy".
I couldn't have been more wrong. The noodles were a perfect al-dente, and the chicken and veggies were fresh. The broth was perfectly seasoned. Rave reviews came from everyone at the table. Even our three year old loved it. She said the veggies were "just her size".
After we cleared the plates, everyone grabbed their props and headed to the front room. We had a lot of fun posing and taking pictures.
When we were done, as I was tucking our daughter into bed she said, "Mom, that was the most fun dinner ever. Can we do that every night?"
In one hour I made a delicious dinner, our family ate it, and we were able to spend some quality time having fun together. Not bad for a busy weeknight.
I really needed to open my eyes in this picture. Or else get more sleep. :)
About Bertolli Meal Soups.
- Bertolli Frozen Meal Soups are hearty and fresh-tasting with vegetables, meats, pasta and herbs that are individually flash frozen at the peak of freshness.
- Bertolli Frozen Meal Soups are available in the frozen aisle, and can be prepared on your stove top in minutes. There is even a store locator on their website, so you can check out exactly what stores in your area carry the product.
- Bertolli Frozen Meal Soups are available in four varieties: Tuscan-Style Beef with Vegetables, Chicken Minestrone, Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta, and Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken.
You can connect with Bertolli in a number of different ways.
Bertolli on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter and follow along with hashtag #BertolliMealSoup.
Check out the Bertolli website to see all their products, find a store near you, and even get meal planning suggestions.
I was compensated by Bertolli to participate in the Weeknight Meal Special Challenge. All opinions and statements are my own.