Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Bertolli Dinner For Two

Gay rights. TV show elections. Reality shows. Political conspiracy theories. Just give me something useful, you're screaming! Well, here you go.

The top link will tell you all about the twelve varieties of Bertolli's frozen "Dinner for Two" line. I can vouch personally for at least six of them, including the Chicken & Garden Vegetable Primavera, the Spicy Shrimp Fra Diavolo & Penne, the Chicken Alla Vodka & Farfalle, the Shrimp, Asparagus, & Penne, the Italian Sausage & Rigatoni, and the Chicken Parmigiana & Penne.

These are not ordinary frozen food; they're a cut above what you get from Stouffer's or those Contessa meals that sit next to them in the freezer at Jewel. The sauces are frozen in small cubes, and the vegetables, meat, and pasta are all individually frozen. And they cook in about twelve minutes on the stove with little attention (you can watch Idol and check in at the commercial); with a non-stick skillet, they demand almost no cleanup afterward. They all pair well with wine--we prefer a dry riesling, as neither of us enjoy the oakey tones that seem to dominate most other inexpensive whites--and most include at least a full serving of vegetables. The sauces are all interesting, with the cream sauces that accompany the Chicken Alla Vodka & Farfalle and the Shrimp, Asparagus, & Penne particularly noteworthy for how well they replicate restaurant flavors that no jar of sauce has ever done justice.

Best of all, they're a relative deal. Yes, they list for $7.99 at Jewel, which is a bit steep, but every few weeks they're marked down to $5.99--which is only $3 a person for dinner. (If you can stomach going into Meijer despite their terrible record on gay rights, they have them for $5 this week.) And if you decide you really like them, you can always cough up a couple bucks in exchange for a few dozen $1.50 off coupons from TheCouponClippers.com, lowering your meal costs even further.

I'm not saying these should replace your home cooking, and I prepare plenty of meals that are cheaper, or healthier, or sometimes both. But they're quick, easy, cheap, they taste great, and they feel a lot more elegant than Wendy's or pizza. (And if you're not the chef in the house but dinner is left in your hands, or if you are the chef and you're tired, aren't those five important qualities?) Enjoy!

No comments: