Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Bertolli Shrimp Scampi & Linguine Skillet Meal

We rarely buy frozen meals around here, since Foodgoat can, well, cook.  (The only exception?  Frozen pizzas on draft day.  Which, given the changed draft schedule, was rendered unnecessary this year.)

So I was all prepared to hate on the Bertolli Skillet Meal.  Surely this would be a travesty. 

The instructions were so simple I was doubtful it would work.  You put the contents of the bag into a skillet.  Put a lid on and turn it on high for 3 minutes.  Turn it down to medium high for 6 minutes, until the sauce is boiling, stirring occasionally. 
That's it.  Nothing else to add.  Nothing else to do.  And it really does only take 9 minutes total.  It's ridiculously simple. 
As for taste ... surprise!  It wasn't a horrible, inedible wreck of a dish at all.  It's about on par, maybe even better, than something I might have at the Olive Garden.  Nothing fabulous, but more than edible.  Not bad at all.

As it happens, we had this meal at the end of a long week of sickness for GoatSpawn during which it was a cause of major celebration when she ate more than a bite of anything.  So little did she consume that I had given up on giving her her own plate for food and frequently just fed her from my plate. 

But in this case, she ate almost an entire bowl of the pasta, eating Ladygoat's entire bowl and leaving me with just the shrimp and the peppers. 

The meal served 2 people, and cost $7.99 at my grocery store - a bit more, I thought, compared to other frozen meals. It's probably cheaper to make from scratch of course (depending on how much you spend on the shrimp), but about the same or cheaper than a fast food place.

 Like all frozen foods, though, it's not the healthiest option out there - the sodium levels were particularly bad. 

All in all, I was surprised that we enjoyed it so much.  Will we buy it routinely?  Probably not.  Foodgoat can whip up a good pasta dish with a creamy sauce in his sleep.  But it's great for people who don't know how to cook or don't want to, who don't have time to cook, who don't feel like fast food or takeout, or like to have something on hand for super-quick, no think, meal ... well, they could do worse than this.

Per FTC disclosure guidelines, I did get a gift card in order to purchase the Bertolli meal, though I didn't actually use the gift card, and I'm not even exactly sure where the gift card is.  I also got a wine aerator, which GoatSpawn is now using as a bath toy.   

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

That's Our Girl!

GoatSpawn enjoying a steak:

GoatSpawn, if you ever become a vegan, you will BREAK YOUR FATHER'S HEART.

Unless, of course, it is a very brief phase you go through when you're a teenager, which we'll forgive because teenagers do get these crazy ideas sometimes.  One of your parents , for example, may have had a tap dancing phase, a vampire phase, and a David Bowie phase.     All in the same year.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Oil Spill Hits Home

After our experience grilling a whole fish was so successful, Foodgoat was really looking forward to doing it again. As we drove to the West Side Market on Saturday, we had visions of a warm and sunny day, a hot grill, and a great big red snapper.

But when we got to the fish stand at the market, there was not one red snapper.  Not one!  Not even a fillet in sight.

Was this the result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?  While Louisiana produces only about 1% of the seafood Americans eat, it does account for nearly 72% of the catch of the Gulf of Mexico, including red snapper.  And just recently, red snapper stocks were just showing signs of rebounding after decades of overfishing, which had left red snapper populations at 2% of their historic levels.
 So as if massive environmental disaster were not enough, add to the awful consequences of "drill, baby, drill" the fact that Foodgoat and I were not able to have any red snapper this weekend.  

The Deepwater explosion occurred nearly a month ago, and is still spilling, which led Foodgoat to wonder why the following obvious solution to the problem has not yet been attempted:  drop a small thermonuclear bomb down the pipe. 

Here are Foodgoat 's technical illustrations:

Here is the before situation - leaking pipe, unhappy fishes.

Next, drop a thermonuclear bomb down the broken pipe.


And here is the after: tons of rubble has sealed the broken pipe.  Fishes are happy again.  Problem solved.

Note, there are some small risks to this method.  For one thing, there's the potential for radioactive contamination of the Gulf waters.  There is also the chance that detonating the nuclear device will alter time somehow, creating a sideways universe in which lives are quite different yet kind of better if you were on Oceanic 815.  And possibly uncorking evil into the world.