Blogging about food has some perks. First of all...you have to consume food in order to blog about it...perk! You also have to have an open mind(and mouth), which inevitably leads to fantastic discoveries and delicious experiences. But the thing that no one tells you about food blogging is sometimes.........you get free food!
Now, let me explain: I've never been given a free meal at a restaurant, sandwich shop, diner, or basically any restaurant-like establishment. I try to be incognito. I try to blend in. I even try to hide my picture taking(tough I tells ya!). I've been recognized as a blogger at some dining establishments...but not one free meal was had.
The free food I'm talking about comes to me in the mail and greets me at my doorstep like a wonderfully unexpected guest.
I work with Foodbuzz, a food blogging community to promote my site and advertise theirs. Foodbuzz also gives some of it's more established bloggers the opportunity to receive all sorts of food from participating manufacturers to cook, experiment with or just plain blog about. It's a great program...a great perk...and a fun way to try brands or goods that I typically wouldn't try.
Recently I was at a party discussing my latest influx of doorstep food and people seemed to be more interested I though they'd be. I'm not going to bore y'all with a long list of grub but I would like to recommend two items that I really was pleasantly surprised with.
Item #1: Buitoni Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli
I LOVE making my own pasta, but it's time consuming and let's face it...we don't always have the time. So I've been buying Buitoni's fresh pastas for years(honestly...like, forever). You can usually find them near the cheese case and they're delicious. They cook in no time and were always my go-to meal if I got home late from work.
I never, ever buy pre-made frozen meals, but Foodbuzz and Buitoni sent me a coupon for these puppies and after eating them I'm starting to believe that perhaps you CAN find a good pre-made frozen meal out there. Nick loved it. I loved it. I would keep a box of these babies in the freezer for a busy day's dinner anytime.
It came with a sauce packet and everything! You boil one pot...yes...1. You cook the pasta and the sauce packet in the water together...throw it on a plate and enjoy. The quality was fantastic. There was real lobster and shrimp(and plenty of it) in the ravioli. And there was enough in the package for two heaping servings.
Item #2: Pace Picante
Take a moment to think about the staples in your fridge and pantry. I have a few things I'm never without...and for good reason. Some versatile basics can a life saver when you've got unexpected guests, get home late from work or foolishly invite all your friends back to your place for "one last drink" and realize they're as hungry as a pack of wolves.
My #1 go-to meal of all time would be a tie between Mexican Pizzas and Quesadillas. That being said I ALWAYS have salsa in my pantry. Foodbuzz sent me a few jars of Pace Picante sauce recently and although I've pretty much always purchased the generic, store brand of salsa(I'm cheap) I found the Pace to be much more flavorful and I might just be a convert. Plus, because of smooth texture of the Picante I find it works better than traditional salsas on my Mexican Pizzas. Give it a shot!
>Cheese(cheddar and jack)
These four simple ingredients can feed an army. Here's how to make the best Mexican Pizzas of all time. I know it's not the most complex recipe you've ever seen, but if you've never thought to make one of these puppies you'll be hooked the first time you try it. I've converted many a Mexican-Pizza-Virgin and get calls and emails all the time about how it's a last minute life saver of a meal.
Take 2 large(burrito size) flour tortillas and place on a baking sheet. Put a thin layer of shredded cheese(cheddar...jack...whatever) on one tortilla then stack the other tortilla on top(this two layer system ensures a crispy and sturdy crust). Next spoon a thin layer of salsa onto the top tortilla, sprinkle more cheese over the salsa and pop into a pre-heated 375degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly on top and the tortilla is golden brown on the outside. Let it rest for 2 minutes before serving then cut it with a pizza cutter and serve on a tray with sour cream and extra salsa for dipping. How bad could that be???
P.S. Top with fresh chives or pickled jalapenos if you have them...or anything else you find hiding in your fridge!