Posts Tagged ‘ garlic ’

Private Selection Holiday

Two reviews in one day! Woohoo! (Ok, well, a review and a half, but who’s counting?)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a big fan of Private Selection products in general. I usually find that they are at least comparable in quality to name brand items, with a much better price. And in fact, I’d like to start this post off by mentioning two PS products I enjoyed this holiday season that were not part of this bzzCampaign – their premium hot cocoa mixes, and the spiral sliced glazed ham. The cocoa mixes come in four flavors – double chocolate, mint, caramel sea salt, and cherry cordial -and they are all delicious. I recommend the variety pack, though if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with mint. I will be drinking a lot more of this winter staple in the next few months. As for the ham, I enjoyed it at my Mom’s house on Thanksgiving. It was juicy and delicious, and didn’t feel cheap or fatty like a lot of hams do. My Mom commented that it was one of the best hams she’s prepared, and was even better than the Honeyglazed she usually gets.

On to the bzzCampaign.

As a part of this campaign, I received a bag of Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee and a box of Water Crackers in the mail, as well as coupons for a free jar of olives, a free package of sliced deli cheese, and a free jar of pasta sauce. I also got a coupon for $0.75 off three greek yogurt containers. The coffee was okay. It was a little darker than what I usually get and was pre-ground (I usually grind my own) but I do regularly buy and enjoy other PS coffee flavors. They have a very good selection. I don’t eat olives, but my husband does, so I picked up a jar of garlic-stuffed olives (mostly for my own amusement.) I can’t comment on them in detail, but he mentioned that they were generally good, but the garlic was a little powerful. I saw him use them in an omelet with picked green tomatoes this morning. The crackers were fine. That’s all you can really ask for from a cracker that’s meant to play second fiddle to whatever topping you’re using as an appetizer, so I guess it served its purpose. I had some at a Christmas party with a variety of toppings and it went well with all of them.

I picked up the Herb and Garlic cheese slices. I was hoping to try the Buffalo Monterrey Jack, but my store didn’t carry that variety. The cheese was good, but the herb flavor might have been just a smidge overpowering. I used it on some turkey burgers to help kick the flavor up a bit, and it was excellent. I also picked up the Roasted Garlic pasta sauce variety (can you tell I like garlic? So much so that I want everyone else to eat it, too!) but oddly enough, I found that it tasted and smelled kind of vinegary, even though that’s not listed as an ingredient. It is a thinner pasta sauce, so if you like your sauce chunky (like I do) you may find it a bit lacking.

I also picked up some of the yogurt while I was in the store – and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they package it the way they do, with the fruit partitioned off they way they do with crunchy toppings. It makes sense with crunchy things that you don’t want to get soggy, but it’s just annoying when you have to scrape the fruit into your yogurt, and then stir it in. Why not just put it on the bottom like everyone else? The flavor was fine, I tried Cranberry-Pomegranate and it was not too sweet or tart, but I just can’t get past that mind-boggling packaging.

All in all, I was mostly impressed with the offerings and will definitely be buying some of them again in the future.

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Progresso™ Recipe Starters™

When it rains it pours – I had no campaigns for a few months, and then BAM! three at once. So here’s the first, Progresso Recipe Starters. Not much came in the bzzKit, just some coupons and a free can of Creamy Roasted Garlic Sauce (my choice – I’m a sucker for anything garlic!) But boy was I glad I had that can a few nights ago when dinnertime came around and I realized I didn’t have a plan! The recipe on the back of the can looked good (Easy Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie) but I decided to scan the QR code on the can to see what their other ideas for the sauce included. The one that caught my attention was for Chicken Enchiladas – and since I had everything on hand, I decided to go for it.

When I opened the can, the first thing I noticed was the sauce was much more liquid than I expected – not like a condensed cream soup. The second thing I noticed was that it smelled exactly like chicken pot pie! I started to second guess my dinner choice, but went ahead with enchiladas anyway. I reduced the amount of cheese (tip: don’t look at the nutritional info for these – yikes!) and used fresh chiles instead of canned.

My family loved the enchiladas, including the two-year-old. I’m not certain if I’ll make this recipe, but I do think I’ll be trying Progresso Recipe Starters again – next time, I’d like to try another flavor. It was really great to have on hand when I needed it and so convenient. I do wish they had a lower sodium version – especially when I’m already cooking, I like to have more control over the salt level of the foods I prepare.

Filippo Berio Olive Oil

I generally try to feed my family healthy foods, so I use olive oil for most of my cooking oil needs. (Curious about the health benefits of olive oil? Check out http://www.filippoberio.com/yourhealth to be informed.) I was excited to get into this campaign because I usually buy the store brand olive oil, and I was curious to try it back-to-back with a pricier name brand, to see if I could tell the difference. The kit came with a bottle of EVOO, a handy little jar opener (my previous jar opener – the one I’m married to – seemed equal parts hurt and relieved), a fat substitution magnet chart, some coupons, and a number of recipes.

Usually I use olive oil pretty traditionally – I use it to saute, grease bakeware, and make salad dressings and the like. Occasionally I’ll use it for non-food purposes, like on my son’s cradle cap when he was an infant, or to soften my feet at the beach. (Really! Put a little olive oil on your feet, and the sand will smooth the rough and dry skin!) One thing I have never tried, though, is using it in place of butter in baking. I didn’t even know you could do that reliably! Plus, olive oil isn’t really a flavor I associate with sweet treats (although I have heard good things about Lemon Olive Oil Cookies.)

That changed last week when I was making a batch of breakfast cookies (from the fantastic bulk cooking/freezing cookbook Fix, Freeze, Feast) and realized I only had half the butter I needed. As I closed the refrigerator door, I noticed the magnet with the substitution chart right there, so I decided to go for it. The cookies came out great, and no one even noticed the difference!

I’ve also been dying to try the Caramelized Garlic/Garlic Oil recipe I found in Better Homes & Gardens February 2012 issue, which can be found here. Since this oil is cooked, you don’t need to use EVOO, which is better suited for drizzling and finishing dishes. I am a huge garlic lover and I can think of ten thousand uses for this recipe. I’ll post an update to let you know how it is!