After a long holiday break with an open schedule it's been kind of rough getting back into the swing of things! I'd forgotten how busy we are during a normal week with all the after school activities we have like dance, Daisy Scouts, and Religious Ed. Getting dinner on the table afterward can take some planning and to be perfectly honest, more often than not, it's not until we're on the way home that I remember to think about it.
The Contessa World Cuisine’s frozen skillet meals for two that we've been reviewing have really come in handy. They're ready in about 10 minutes, easy to prepare, and really quite delicious. My six year old likes them a lot, especially the Orange Chicken. I was a little skeptical that a frozen dinner would taste very good and was pleasantly surprised by how happy I've been with each variety we've tasted. They are a great time saver!
Contessa World Cuisine Beef Mongolian
I was especially pleased to learn some of the details about the meals, since convenience foods can include a lot of things I'm not interested in ingesting or giving to my child. Contessa World Cuisine Meals:
- 18 unique, world cuisine-inspired flavors
- Simple to prepare in ten minutes at home
- No MSG
- No trans-fat
- No artificial colors or flavors
- No preservatives
- Minimally processed
- Multiple gluten-free options
- Individually packaged sauce packets to allow for freshness, recipe variation and special dietary needs
You get quite a bit of sauce so it's possible to add extra vegetables and extend the meal a bit too. There are even recipes to help you jazz up the Contessa meals on their website, like this one for Sesame Braised Beef with Snow Peas that starts with Beef Mongolian.
The sponsor was generous and sent us several coupons we could redeem for complimentary meal packages and we've enjoyed trying several varieties, purely in the interest of an in depth review of course ☺ I really like you all, see the lengths I'm willing to give my readers a full write up, eating all this delicious food just for you!
I thought the Orange Chicken was the most kid friendly as it has "fried" chicken style meat with a breading that you could sell to picky eaters as being like nuggets. There's a nice variety of vegetables including mini corn which my daughter really liked. The sauce is mild, perfect for most kids and adults. We've had it three times already.
My husband I ate the Beef Mongolian for lunch. He works close enough to come home for his mid day meal and the preparation is fast enough to make and enjoy during his lunch hour. The drawback to the beef is that you don't get a lot of protein, which is noticeable because you stir fry the meat alone in the first step. However, once it was plated with the vegetables and rice it did look like a full serving, (see the above photo). I think Americans in general are used to overly sized portions anyway, so this was kind of a reminder of how much we should be eating!
Each of the rice dishes required stir frying the meat first, then adding the vegetables, and heating up the rice in a microwave. It's a simple to do and everything really is done in 10 minutes or less, still quicker than a drive through. If you really want easy, the Chicken Chow Mein is the way to go. You literally throw it all in a pan, cover, and just wait for it to be done. This was my favorite variety, it's made up of all the veggies I like best in a stir fry and I always choose noodles over rice.
The last meal we tried was the Sesame Chicken. Of the varieties we tried that came with rice, it was the only one that included brown rice. The slightly nutty flavor of the rice paired nicely with the sesame flavor. My daughter doesn't usually like brown rice but this one was mild enough for her to gobble up. I liked that it's a nice step toward eating rice that is more nutritious than the normal white rice she eats. I think it's because of the brown rice and the beans but it also seemed heartier and more filling than some of the others.
It's very nice to have everything you need including a side all in one. I also liked that the meals we tried were pretty balanced too with a protein, vegetables, and carb. We've tried frozen meals before, I even reviewed another brand previously, but this is the first kind we've been happy enough with to eat more than once. Overall the flavors are lot more natural and fresh tasting to me, and I thought much better than your average frozen meal.
My family's preference is Asian inspired flavors and stir-fry but there are many other varieties to try such as Chicken Florentine and even several versions with shrimp, if you're seafood fans.
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Disclosure: Complimentary meal coupons were provided to facilitate the review. The experiences and opinions related within are both personal and unbiased. The sponsor will be sending the coupons directly to the winners and is responsible for fulfilling this giveaway.