We are a family who loves to cook together, eat and experience a myriad of different foods. During the summertime, we tend to spend a lot more time together, which gives us the opportunity to get into the kitchen and get cooking, or get outside and get grilling. Now that the new school year has started, so has the busyness that we call 'normal life' for our family. There will only be two weeknights that we're all home together, and will eat together during the week, so we have to make them count. Of course, this doesn't mean that we won't be eating in a hurry and dashing off to do something after dinner, so meals have to be quick, easy to prepare and they have to be appealing to my picky husband and son,
We were recently given the opportunity to try some yummy new Meal Helpers from Betty Crocker: Ultimate Hamburger Helper, Three Cheese Marinara, and Ultimate Mashed Potatoes. I figured I would have no problem getting my hubby to try the potatoes, but the Hamburger Helper would be more of a challenge.
Here's what we received for review...
1 box of Ultimate Hamburger Helper
1 box of Betty Crocker Ultimate Potatoes
3-piece bamboo serving bowls
I quickly fell in love with the serving goodies! I actually had zero Melamine plates in my house, and the black and white design fit right in with our black and green kitchen. These are great to have on hand for quick meals, and they're dishwasher safe. I was also happy to receive the bamboo mixing bowls. I have some mixing bowls, but it's always great to have more of them on hand, and this is a very nice set. The serving spoon is wonderful, as well- it's pretty deep, and it's not going to scratch any of our pots or pans, since it's not metal.
We enjoyed a yummy grilled pork dinner with sauteed zucchini and the Ultimate Mashed Potatoes from Betty Crocker. The Cheddar Mashed Potatoes were very easy to make (my husband prepared them), and they were quite cheesy and delicious! They have quickly become my husband's favorite, and since there were two packs of the mashed potatoes in one box, we're scheduled to have them again this week with baked chicken and steamed broccoli.
The Ultimate Hamburger Helper Three Cheese Marinara looked super yummy to me. I had actually never prepared a Hamburger Helper meal before in my entire life, so I was sort of excited to try one. My husband, on the other hand, was pretty displeased that I wanted to make one of these meals for dinner. I heard, 'You know I don't eat that sort of stuff,' and 'but the pasta has meat in it!' from him. After a little coaxing, he finally agreed to let me make it, and to try it, for the sake of our review.
Prep was really easy!
Start with ground beef...
I added 1 pound of ground beef to a skillet and browned it, per the directions on the box. I drained any excess fat from the pan.
Add milk, water, seasoning...
Next, I added milk, hot water and the seasoning package to the beef in the skillet. I stirred them all together, and let it come to a low boil on the stove.
Next, add the pasta...
I then added the package of pasta noodles (penne), and actually added a handful of ziti noodles that we needed to use up. Hey- why not? I let this come to a boil, and then covered it with a lid and let it simmer on low for 18 - 20 minutes.
Mmm... creamy Caesar salad!
While I waited for the pasta to cook, I went ahead and prepared a Caesar salad, and threw some garlic toast into the oven. I used one of our new serving bowls for the salad, and it turned out to be the perfect size!
I stirred the pasta occasionally while it cooked on the stove...
Add the tomato sauce package...
When the stove timer went off, I checked the pasta, which was cooked through and al dente, just the way we like it. I added the pre packaged pasta sauce, and stirred it in, allowing it to warm through in the pan. As it all melded together, it smelled really good. It reminded me of my homemade baked ziti, but this is a truly simplified version of it!
Add some cheese...
At my husband's request, I added some Mozzarella Cheese to the dish, and let it melt into the pasta. You can add any variations to this dish that you like... spinach, roasted red peppers, onions. Whatever makes your boat float and tummy happy!
The finished product...
In the end, this dish turned out quite well, and was super yummy! My husband practically licked his plate clean, and said, 'You could make this again,' which is always a good sign, coming from him. I don't think that any of my Italian ancestors were rolling over in their graves when I made this- they would have been pleased. From start to finish, this was a quick and easy one dish dinner that was delicious! This made quite a lot of food (we have enough left over for another meal!), and we'll definitely be adding this into our dinner mix, especially for those rushed evenings, or the nights we just want something easy to make, so we can relax.
Of course, we're going to check out the other flavors of these Betty Crocker Ultimate Helpers, like Ultimate Chicken Helper Cheddar Broccoli and Betty Crocker Ultimate Au Gratin Potatoes. Look for these in a store near you! Trust me, you'll be glad you picked a couple of these up. Just keep a couple of them on hand in the pantry for those hectic evenings, and you'll have a delicious go to meal that your whole family will love!
We've been enjoying our new serving ware all week!
We've been using the plates and bowls for anything and everything...
...and for baking...
...and simple breakfasts!
Want It? Buy It!
If you're ready to simplify your meal planning and time spent slaving over the stove to prepare something everyone in the family will love, you'll definitely want to try Betty Crocker's Ultimate Potatoes and Hamburger Helper's Ultimate Helper Meals! I can;t wait to try the Chicken and Broccoli meal for dinner! Head to Betty Crocker for more meal ideas, and don't forget to like Betty Crocker on Facebook, and follow Betty Crocker on Twitter!
Want It? Win It!
One lucky MBP reader will win their very own Ultimate Helper Prize Pack, just like the one I received for review! This gift pack includes 1 box of Ultimate Potatoes, 1 box of Ultimate Hamburger Helper, 4 Plates, Set of Bamboo Mixing Bowls, and 1 Serving Spoon- package retails for around $55.00!
Just use the handy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older!
Special thanks to MyBlogSpark for sending along the opportunity for us to try this amazing coupling of meal Helpers, and for offering this fabulous giveaway to our readers!