I was raised in a home with 4 big boys, my little sister, and a mom and dad who really knew their way around the kitchen. 

My mom used to work for a kitchen supplies company hosted parties, sold products, and has made lots of good food over the years. She’s catered weddings and all kinds of things. 

With 4 boys, my poor mom was always making food for an army.  But it was never just a pile of food. It was an art form. Her love language is food. Still is, and she’s known for her food-type-products. {In fact, she’s helped me develop some awesome recipes for posts.} She can really come up with recipes on a whim.  My dad learned to keep up, too. Lots of moms joke that if they were gone, their husbands would be eating burritos. My dad would grab steaks and veggies, and come home to make a dad-like feast. To say we struggle with weight at our house would be putting things lightly

We used to watch A LOT of Food Network, and when I saw Semi Homemade, I always thought of my mom, whose greatest talent {still} is the classic “buy n lie.” She’d whip up things that looked and tasted completely homemade and from scratch, but really, at least half of it was “pre-fab” and made it go so much faster.

In fact, since we are such home-cooked snobs and she was adamant about sitting to eat as a family, there were many nights when mom would swing by this great little drive-thru Italian place by our house {that no longer exists}, grab loads of pasta and come home to throw it in glass with cheese on top to look like she’d slaved over it. She always got caught on the bread sticks… cause her homemade ones can’t be beat… and when she did, no one complained.

my mom and me in the kitchen

Now, I enjoy calling my mom at 4pm, or even from the store, to ask, “What am I making tonight?” Cause not only does it tell her I still need her and that I know she knows what SHE’s making already, but she gets the satisfaction of knowing that I am finally in that same “buy n lie” phase of life and it has got to put a grin on her face. Some nights are just too dang hard to think it up on top of it all, and she, more than most, knows that best.

I feel like my little mom-brain is fried by 4 or 5pm, and all I want to do is whip up a dirty diet coke and crawl into a ball and cry and have my mom make me dinner. 

The other night was just such a night. I fell down the concrete stairs in the morning and was out for the count all day. I was about to send CC out for something when I remembered we had a Bertolli coupon to try out a yummy freezer meal. Yes. Exactly what we needed! {the coupon was for a meal for one, but our store didn’t have one – they must be popular, so we grabbed a meal for two instead.}  We threw it in the skillet, and we had time to sit as a family and eat it. I have to admit, I was surprised at how home-cooked it tasted. 
The Bertolli meal was leaps and bounds better than our little restaurant that my mom used to frequent, and I can keep them in my freezer for anytime I want? I’m in.  The recipe we tried was filled with sausage and lots of real cheese. Definitely not something I would even attempt to make on my own unless I had planned ahead. {Rare. Very rare.} I was thinking this would totally work as a “buy-n-lie” to take to someone for dinner. I had a few friends I thought up immediately that could use some comfort food, and I could totally whip these up and take them. No one would be the wiser!
This is the one we tried…. so #numnum
image from kevin & amanda
Since they shared their secret with me, I should share with you, the Bertolli Single Serve Bertolli Single Serve Rustico Bakes Frozen meals are available in 6 recipes and can be made in the microwave:
–  Chicken Parmigiana & Penne
–  Italian Sausage & Meatball Rigatoni
–  Chicken Portabella Ravioli
–  Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni
–  Stuffed Shells Alla Vodka
–  Creamy Spinach Rollatini
Bertolli’s single serve Al Dente are available in 4 recipes and include a steaming tray to cook the veggies without getting soggy so it feels freshly made in a restaurant. Genius!: 
–  Chicken Florentine Alfredo
–  Tortellini Margherita
–  Asiago Ravioli Primavera 
–  Chicken Chardonnay & Penne
Don’t they sound amazing?! I was so glad they let me try it because I really am going to stock my freezer with them! It was life-saving to have a real meal on a whim, just like my mom would do. 

Check our Bertolli’s website or the Facebook page to see all the new flavors and varieties. 
Visit your local freezer aisle to bring home restaurant-worthy meals today.

So, which one is your favorite? 
Or which one do you want to try??
{comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!} 

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