There isn’t much in my freezer.  Sure, I have a few trays of ice, and some individually frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts.  There’s also a bag with celery sticks (to be used for mashed potatoes) and some frozen bananas (that are more likely to be thrown away than being put to use in a banana bread).  I also keep nuts in the freezer, so there are a few bags of almonds and pecans – the pecans are from one of my students whose father has a pecan tree in his yard in Texas.

What you would never find in my freezer is a frozen entree meal.  Afterall, I cook, I eat, I microwave only to reheat.  But, when I received a coupon for a free Bertolli frozen meal, I decided to give it a try.  And this brings us to an evening when I was too tired to cook, and too hungry to wait for Thai take out.  So instead, I reached inside of my freezer and grabbed a bag of Bertolli’s Mediterranean Steak, Rigatoni & Portobello Mushrooms.

According to the bag, all you need is a skillet with a lid and 10 minutes.  I had it all, and was ready to get “cooking”.  I opened up the bag, to find its contents looking pretty good for something frozen.  Inside were pasta, slices of steak, cherry tomatoes, slices of mushrooms, yellow pepper, and frozen chunks of herb butter (according to the website, this was olive oil, I’m not so sure about it).

It was off to the skillet, to be cooked, covered for 4 minutes.  Disclaimer: I decided not to use all of the noodles, so the photo below is representative of mostly steak and vegetables.  
At the end of 4 minutes, I gave the pasta a stir, added sliced onions, a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes, and continued to cook for 6 more minutes.
It smelled quite delicious.  Upon immediate inspection, I think there was too much sauce for the amount of food.  But perhaps, this was because I didn’t cook all of the pasta.  
I was surprised how tender the steak was and how well the pasta came out.  The overall taste of the sauce, unfortunately was a bit bland and needed some tweaking.  I added fresh Parmesan cheese, julienne of basil, and freshly ground pepper.  This seemed to help a bit.  
Will I buy more Bertolli frozen meals in the future?  I think unlikely – I do enjoy cooking, and usually have the means, the know-how, and the time to do it.  But, if you are short on time, and have to go frozen, this might be a good option for you.  Bertolli really does beat a compartmental frozen TV tray meal.  Let me know if you have tried this before or if you plan on trying it in the future!
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