Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegetable Stew with Beef - Deal of the Day

It's two for two from frozen meal purveyors Contessa. I reviewed their Shrimp and Orzo meal a year and a half ago and gave it a perfect 9, and this latest Deal of the Day is just as delicious (click here to see that earlier review.) Swanson and Banquet TV dinner makers could learn a few things from Contessa.

First off, don't precook the veggies to mush, and secondly if you use a better quality of meat, you can still keep it cheap by serving a smaller portion -- it's okay by me if I don't stuff my face with turkey baloney and dreary mashed potatoes, masked as a Banquet Turkey Dinner (see my "Saddest Christmas Dinner" review here. ) 10 ounces is a typical frozen dinner serving size, but Contessa's frozen dinner portions are in the 6 to 7 ounce range -- small indeed, but a perfect portion for all you dieters out there.

Beware, photo makes portions look larger than they really are!

The vegetable stew part of this latest Deal of the Day carries nice crunchy carrots (but still cooked through) and reconizable chunks of celery and onion. Too often canned and frozen meals chop and over-cook the veggies into a mysterious hot mess. I guess the veggies pieces must be of uniform size to cook in a prescribed time frame.


As for the meat part of this stew, it is top notch. While you may only get two or three small chunks of beef brisket, they are large enough to feel the tender texture, and savor a real beefy flavor.

Usually the carbs come from rice, potatoes or pasta in my cheapie frozen dollar work-lunches, but this is the first time of dining on Spaetzle Dumplings. They are tasty and tender thumbnail-sized wheat-flour orbs. A nice change of pace.

I think Contessa is wrong to call this entree a stew -- not enough liquid. It's more like a pasta sauce, and a very flavorful one, at that. Reading the ingredient list I spied Burgandy wine, tomatoes, garlic, onion and paprika. All these flavors come through nicely.


So on a scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, it's a forgone conclusion: Contessa Vegetable Stew with Beef gets a perfect 9! For the last couple of months I've seen these frozen entrees at most of our local 99c only Stores -- so go out and get an basketful for many deliciously cheap (and light) lunchtime meals.

Note: the product photo at the top shows 2 packages for 99.99 cents, but I usually find them for 99.99 cents per frozen package.

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