So many times our lives are busy and we take advantage of the fact that our kids are there. We don’t realize that they grow too fast and with our busy lives, we tend to miss a lot. I know that I get busy with cleaning and cooking, running the kids to here and there. My husband is the same way, except he is busy with work. It gets depressing if you stop to think about it.
I have discovered if we actually sit down, face to face, at a dinner table, we are forced to talk to each other each day. It’s not always easy to do this, especially during the busy holiday season. But, Michael Angelo’s Italian-Style meals have made it much easier. Micheal Angelo’s meals are free of additives and there are so many to choose from. As an added bonus, they are super easy to prepare! With this in mind, I decided to plan a special holiday Italian dinner party for the family! It would be a fun night with great food and good conversation where we could connect in the midst of the busy holiday season.
To make our Italian night easier, I headed to the frozen section of the store to choose a couple of the meals. By choosing two of the meals we would have a little variety and be assured of enough to go around.
I chose their Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Piccata. The Chicken Parmesan was a ready to eat meal, just heat and serve. The Chicken Piccata was a meal starter. You add your own pasta, rice, or quinoa.
Micheal Angelo’s meals are super easy to prepare. Just throw in the microwave or you can bake them in an oven. They come in their own trays, no preparation needed. When they come out of the oven (or microwave), peal the top off and serve right from the container. No need for TONS of dishes. Of course, you can plate them up too for a little extra flare!
Michael Angelo’s Chicken Parmesan
The chicken in the Michael Angelo’s Chicken Parmesan was all white meat, tender and we were able to cut it with our forks. The noodles were soft and soaked in the red sauce. It wasn’t hard like some oven baked, pre-made meals.
Michael Angelo’s Chicken Piccata Meal Starters
I made spaghetti noodles to go with the Chicken Piccata meal starter and since there was already spaghetti with the Chicken Parmesan, it went with it perfectly.
I made both of them together because my kids are getting bigger and my husband likes to take his lunch to work. I needed to make sure we had enough to eat and have some leftovers for his lunch.
Add a couple of sides for well rounded meal!
Along with the meals, I made a couple of vegetable dishes. Even though you could serve them without the sides, the side dishes rounded out the meal quite well. I made stuffed mushrooms and asparagus.
Now, I don’t personally eat either side dishes, however, my husband (a classically trained chef) was amazed that I made these things and they “TASTED GREAT!” (His words, not mine.)
Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms with Sausage
I made Sauted and Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms with Sausage. These are so easy to make and for someone who doesn’t cook anything ‘out of the norm’, that’s saying a lot.
To start these mushrooms, I took a package of mushrooms and trimmed the stems off. I also wiped them off (and anyone who watches the cooking network knows that you don’t submerge mushrooms in water).
I then took four (4) cloves of garlic and chopped it as fine as I could. I melted four (4) tablespoons of butter and in the microwave. Combined the butter and garlic and set aside.
Add the butter and garlic into a large non-stick pan. Add in the mushrooms in and saute about about 3-5 minutes. Allow them to cool, so you don’t burn your fingers. You’re going to place them in the oven after stuffing, so don’t worry about them being cold.
Brown 3/4 of a roll of sausage. It doesn’t matter what flavor you use. I like the country mild sausage, but whatever you like, works.
Mix the sausage with 4 oz of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of mozzarella, and a 1/4 cup of (shredded) parmesan cheese. I used a stand mixer because it mixes it thoroughly, but if you want to do it by hand, go ahead.
Stuff the mushrooms with the mixture. I ended up having left over mixture. What better way to use than as an appetizer with pita chips?! My kids loved the stuffing and wanted me to make more!
The oven was on 400 degrees because of the Michael Angelo’s meals, so all I had to do was pop in the mushrooms! They browned up fairly fast (about 5 minutes) so you may want to wait until the meals are closer to being finished before putting them in.
- 1 pkg mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 T butter
- ¾ roll sausage
- 4 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Trim stems from mushrooms and wipe the mushrooms.
- Chop the garlic as fine as you can. Melt the butter in microwave. Combine and set aside.
- Using a large non-stick pan, saute the mushrooms in the butter and garlic mixture for approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- Brown ¾ of a roll of sausage.
- Mix the sausage with 4 oz of cream cheese, ¼ cup of mozzarella, and a ¼ cup of (shredded) parmesan cheese. I used a stand mixer because it mixes it thoroughly, but if you want to do it by hand, go ahead.
- Stuffed the mushrooms with the mixture.
- Bake in 400 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes.
Garlic Buttered Asparagus with Parmesan
I also made Garlic Buttered Asparagus with Parmesan. This too, is simple. Take a pot of boiling water, seasoned with salt, and boil your asparagus. Don’t forget to trim the bottoms so they aren’t tough.
Here’s the thing about asparagus: you can’t boil it too long or it will get mushy. It turns this bright green color and that is when you know its ready to be taken out of it’s hot tub of salty water. Immediately take the asparagus and put it in a pool of ice water. This stops the cooking.
In another non-stick pan, melt four (4) tablespoons of butter and add three (3) cloves of minced garlic. To mince the garlic, I used a garlic press. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! Cook the garlic about five (5) minutes on medium heat. Don’t let the garlic burn.
Toss in the asparagus and saute it for (5) minutes. When you remove the asparagus from the pan, pour the remaining butter garlic mixture over the asparagus. Then, (yes there’s more!), sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top. It’s delicious! Even the pup was hoping for a bite to fall!
- 4 T butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- shredded parmesan cheese
- Trim asparagus ends and boil in salty water until bright green in color. Remove and immediately place in pool of ice water.
- Using a non-stick pan, melt four (4) tablespoons of butter and add three (3) cloves of minced garlic.To mince the garlic, I used a garlic press.
- Cook the garlic about five (5) minutes on medium heat. Don’t let the garlic burn.
- Toss in the asparagus and saute it (5) minutes.
- Remove the asparagus from the pan and pour the remaining butter garlic mixture over the asparagus.
- Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.
I plated everything up just as my husband walked in the door from work. He was amazed that I was trying something new. (I’m not big on experimenting.) He sniffed all the pots and watched our kids set the table. He tried to grab food off the plates, but mama stopped him fast!
We sat down and between the kids being kids and all talking at once, we enjoyed the Micheal Angelo’s Italian Style dishes. They were so good and it amazes me that they are pre-made, “easy” meals.
The side dishes were a hit as well. My kids were telling their daddy about how I let them have the filling before dinner with pita chips. I told them that was their appetizer. He was sorry he missed it!
Not only was dinner easy, fun and a nice way to catch up with my family’s day, clean up was simple. No staying in the kitchen all night cleaning after a large, Italian meal. Just throw the containers away and wash the plates.
I recommend Micheal Angelo’s meals and meal starters. They taste great and are simple to prepare. You will also love the extra time you can spend with your family as a result of shorter time in the kitchen. And, during the busy holiday season who doesn’t want simple, easy – and most especially, more time with family?!
You can find Michael Angelo’s Italian Style meals in the freezer section of your local store. To find a location near you, use their handy store locator tool. They even have cooking tips and recipes on their website!
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