Monday, September 17, 2012

Progresso Recipe Starters

I've been in a major cooking rut for awhile. I'm frazzled, unfocused, and uninspired when it comes to meal planning and execution. Every day I have this general idea that I'm going to need to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the troops, but each meal is successively more traumatic*. Breakfast is pretty easy. Lunch is a little more complicated. Dinner is a nightmare. Since I turned vegetarian, and Chris drastically cut his meat consumption, the situation has become all the more dire. Chris and I often end up eating our meals after the kids have been fed, and it's very disjointed. My goal is to find more meals our whole family can enjoy together, even if they involve simple tweaks so that Chris and I can modify our plates to fit the vegetarian bill.

Tonight, like every other night, I was rummaging through the cupboard looking for inspiration when I spotted a can of Creamy Parmesan Basil Progresso Recipe Starters that I had recently received from BzzAgent. Thinking quickly, I took out a box of pasta, then a large carrot, a pepper, Parmesan cheese, and some frozen broccoli. And voila! Dinner came together in a snap. Here's what I did, easy peasy:

  1. Put a large pot of water on high heat to boil
  2. Chopped up 1 large carrot and 1 green pepper while the water was boiling
  3. When the water was boiling, I added about half a box of spaghetti and cooked as directed on the box
  4. I poured a bit of olive oil into a skillet (enough to thinly coat the pan) and added the carrot, green pepper and some frozen broccoli. Then I covered it and cooked on low/medium heat while the spaghetti was cooking.
  5. Drained the pasta and returned to the pot
  6. Added about half a can of Creamy Parmesan Basil Recipe Starters to the cooked and drained pasta
  7. Mixed the vegetables and some Parmesan cheese to the pasta and sauce mixture, and heated it all on low heat
And the verdict is...

The Good  Chris, Connor, and I loved it. We cleaned our plates, and Chris and I both had seconds. The Creamy Parmesan Basil flavoring was really good, and complemented the vegetables quite well. Other vegetables could be used in place of the carrots, pepper, and broccoli; making this a versatile recipe. Plus it was easy, which makes it a big fat winner in my book. No special ingredients were required. Simply. Easy. Tasty. I will be making this again.

The Bad  Lucy was in a "mood". In this case, being in a "mood" meant a blatant refusal to so much as try her dinner. As parents know, these moods are contagious. So as soon as Lucy started carrying on about how disgusting her food was; before she took a single bite, mind you, Mathilda caught the mood and pushed her plate aside before taking a single bite. So two girls were sent to bed without supper. I was really annoyed, because I'm pretty positive they would have liked it if they had tried it. Bethany was at a friend's house, so she's off the hook this time.

Despite the reaction from Lucy and Mathilda, I stand firm: I'm making this again. It was too easy and too good not to make it again. It's vegetarian, so we can all eat the same meal together. It's inexpensive and versatile. Most importantly, it's simple and requires no special trips to the grocery store to pick up weird ingredients that I don't keep on hand. And now I'm intrigued to try the other flavors of Progresso Recipe Starters, which include: Creamy Portabella Mushroom, Creamy Roasted Garlic, Creamy Three Cheese, and Fire Roasted Tomato.

Have you tried Progresso Recipe Starters yet? If so, which one did you try, how did you incorporate it into your meal, and did you like it? For more meal ideas, additional recipes can be found on the Progresso website.

Thank you BzzAgent and Progresso for providing me with a free can of Recipe Starters. All opinions are my own.

* Traumatic might be a bit of a dramatic over-statement.

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