Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making Dinner Time Special

On a typical night, dinner is a pretty casual affair. I make something. We eat it. The mess gets cleaned up (eventually). And it is typically over in about fifteen to twenty minutes. About as long as it takes me prep and make dinner most nights.

Sometimes, I like to make dinner time more special by making fancy food. You know, things that require sauteing and deglazing and stuff. But I don't always have time for all that. Other times, it is easier to make a simple meal, and dress it up. That is what I did for a recent dinner.

In this case, I took a simple meal of soup, salad, and warm bread and treated it like a restaurant meal. When the family came home I immediately welcomed them to the "Sabin Restaurant" and led them to their seats. I used a cheery, over the top greeter voice to set the tone. I also let the girls use my Fiestaware and cups without lids (BIG deal in my house!). I busted out my Crate & Barrel cloth napkins and my favorite Pandora jazz channel was playing quietly in the background to establish some ambiance.

I also thought of some conversation topics more interesting than, "tell me about your day." The best part of the conversation was between Mary and I.
Me: If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Mary: (without hesitation) Mon-ee (monkey)
Me: Why would you want to be a monkey?
Mary: Ing (swing, which she also signed)
She really is the most hilarious 2 year old I know!

Now, back to the food... The soup was chosen for me. It is a newer product called Bertolli Meal Soup that is purchased from the frozen food section. I chose the Roasted Chicken with Rotini Pasta flavor. It was easy to make on the stove top and honestly had the taste of homemade soup. But don't lie and say you made it yourself. Because if you do that, your next bite will be too hot and you'll burn your tongue. Or something like that.

Bertolli gave me a challenge to "make dinner special" in 60 minutes or less. Ha! I did it in less than 30 minutes. This is what I started with, a messy table covered with stuff that belonged some where else.

And this is what my family came home to.

Charlotte really got into the idea that we were dining at the "Sabin Restaurant," and insisted on being referred to as a guest. She also kept referring to me as "owner."

As for the soup... it was really good and more filling than I expected it to be. Flavor wise, this is definitely comparable to some of the best soups I've been served in restaurants. I even caught Bruce spooning the broth left in his bowl (no, not that kind of spooning!). This is highly unusual for him because the broth is often his least favorite part of the soup. (Yes, he's odd like that.) The only drawback for me is that it cost almost $7 for a bag, which serves 2 people. They are generous servings and more than you'd find from a canned soup, but this is still a pricey convenience item if you ask me.

In case you are interested in trying this yourself, I am giving away a coupon for a free bag of Bertolli Meal soup as part of the 5-part Husband Project. You can enter to win by participating in the challenge at least one day.

How do you make dinner time special?

Also, you can learn more about the Bertolli Meal Soups via the Bertolli websiteFacebook or Twitter.

FTC Disclosure: I did receive free soup and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own (or Bruce's) and I really did burn my tongue on my soup.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! This reminds me of the time I fixed a "formal" dinner for our boys, ages 12 and 9. They were given invitations on Saturday morning and told that they had to wear a tie to dinner. They got to make their ties out of paper and crayons. The table was set with all the plates, cups and silverware of a "formal" restaurant, and we had 4 courses including soup, salad, dinner and dessert. My goal was to teach them how to eat with the proper silver, how to use their napkins, etc. I played "Mom" and then excused myself and came back with an apron to play "waiter". We had a blast, and they still remember that dinner. They're now 23 and 20 years old!

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