Monday, July 18, 2011

Zatarain's Frozen Entrees


Most of you know that I do my share of cooking around here, and that while I do occasionally use some convenience products, my primary focus is on scratch cooking with fresh ingredients. Just like the rest of you though, I have days where I am too hot, too busy or just plain too tired to want to spend any time in the kitchen. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens.

Lots of folks are cutting way back on eating out in this economy and are often so busy that frozen dinners can help to fill in occasionally.  They are handy for busy workdays when you can't break away from the office, weeknights when life is a rush to begin with, and especially right now when the thought of cooking in this heat make you want to just skip eating altogether. I also know that many of you are already familiar with, love and use Zatarain's products – from boxed mixes, to pouches, to seasonings. I only recently learned, however, that they were carrying a new line of frozen dinner entrées so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give them a taste test. There are currently eleven meals to choose from.

The first time I went to the store, I picked out Sausage and Chicken Gumbo and Jambalaya Pasta with Chicken and Sausage. I tried the gumbo first.


My husband had gone shrimping, I had literally been putting away shrimp for the freezer all weekend, and was on my own for supper one night, when I remembered this was waiting in my freezer for me to try. Perfect - because I was tired!


First bite I was a bit skeptical. The roux was thinner and less rich than I usually like for a gumbo and the smoked sausage was softer than the kind that I use, but honestly, every bite grew on me and I finished it before I knew it. Rotisserie seasoned chicken and sausage, with rice, okra, red and green bell peppers, onion, garlic and spicy seasonings is the flavor profile for this one.

The next time we went shopping, I asked my husband to pick out two that he thought he might like - and I actually remembered to use the coupons this time, unlike the first time. Thanks Zatarain's! He picked out the Red Beans & Rice with Sausage and the Blackened Chicken with Yellow Rice.


This past Thursday, it was so hot and I was tired, so I was more than happy to let Zatarain's do the cooking for me. I tried the Jambalaya Pasta with Chicken and Sausage I still had in the freezer from the first trip.



This one was made with a penne rigate pasta featuring both rotisserie seasoned chicken and smoked sausage, in a tomato sauce base with onion, green peppers and seasonings. I'm iffy with frozen pastas sometimes, but the pasta was still firm and not mushy.  Again, the dish had a healthy spicy bite to it, but not overpowering. I thought it was delicious.

My husband had the Red Beans & Rice with Sausage.



Now, I'll be the first to tell you that he absolutely loves my red beans and rice, so I told him not to rate the flavor against my homemade beans. The Cajun said "tastes like New Orleans!" so I'm guessing that he approved. Truthfully I stole a little bite out of it to try before I gave it to him, ssshh don't tell! I thought that there was a nice ratio of beans to sauce to rice, the rice was firm and not mushy, you could both see and taste the veggies, and the beans were nice and tender. The smoked sausage was the same as that in the gumbo and pasta jambalaya, and I thought the dish overall had a nice flavor and a spicy kick, but not so much to burn your mouth. Yes, it's different from my homemade red beans, but I thought it was quite good!

Now, of course, these are frozen dinners, so you can’t really compare them against a home cooked meal, but I do have to say, for a meal that was ready in about 5 to 6 minutes or so, we enjoyed all of the entrees we've tried. They each had the expected Zatarain's flavor spicy kick to them, but none of them were overpowering. Add some kind of bread from your pantry and a vegetable or side salad from your fridge and you’ve got a nice, quick meal, faster than you can change into your pjs.

As with any packaged product, be mindful of the nutritional information if you are having to regulate your sodium intake. Suggested retail price is around $3.50 per entrée but appear to run anywhere from around $2.50 and up, depending on where you live. I think most of us can manage that in our budgets for a good lunch or speedy supper on those busy nights. Be sure to like Zatarain’s Facebook page and sign up for their email newsletter to get in on coupons when they are available too!

All in all, I'd rate Zatarain's new frozen dinner entrees a winner. Zatarain's - a New Orleans tradition since 1889!

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GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! SIX winners will each receive ONE coupon good for one FREE Zatarain's Frozen Entree.


Update: Giveaway is closed!!

Congratulations to mary rs56 (#1) Karen S (#12), Nan (#19) Christina l (#26), Karol Ann (#33), LaRonda L (#49). Please verify you are the winner by your comment number listed, then contact me by email within 48 hours at mary@deepsouthdish.com with your mailing address, to claim your coupon for a free Zatarain’s frozen entrée (Current Date/Time: 7/21/11, 12:34 PM) I am not responsible for misdirected mail, so please double check and make sure that your address is correct before you send the email - enjoy!!

The Rules:

Giveaway closes on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 12:00 noon CST. 
Open to residents of the United States, ages 18 and over only please
Anonymous entries are okay, however, please leave your name or a way to contact you so that I can identify you should you win!
Winners will be announced at the site and will be responsible for checking back and responding with mailing information within 48 hours of the announcement, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good luck!


Disclosure: Zatarain's provided me with coupons for the products described, both for me to try and to giveaway to readers. I was not required to write a positive review, and I received no compensation for posting this.  All opinions stated are my own honest review of the product.
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55 comments:

  1. I would love to win this because I love anything from Zatarains.My favorite is shrimp cerole.

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  2. Okay, I guess I am the FIRST...which should carry some heavy weight in this thing... LOL! Anyway, I love Zatarain's products and look forward to trying their new frozen entrees...would LOVE a coupon...who wouldn't... and I mean, me being FIRST and all... :)
    Jonni Webb
    adexec1@aol.com

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  3. I LOVE Zatarain's products. I have always used the boxed Zatarain's but have recently bought the frozen entree's. My favorite's are the Chicken & Sausage gumbo and the Red Beans and Rice. Soooo easy to pull out of the freezer and nuke for a fast delicious meal!

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  4. I would like to win a coupon good for a free Zatarain's Frozen Entree. Thank you for having such a great website.

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  5. Oh, I'd love a coupon because these are so delicious! I love to take them in my lunch to work. :)

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  6. I would like to win a coupon for the free Zatarain's frozen entrees since i'm such a fan of creole food. please enter me in the give-away, thanks!

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  7. Mary,
    I love your cooking site, always great recipes and tips! I have tried the boxed shelf brands of Zatarain's. I usually am getting the red beans & rice, which are really good as a side dish, and I'll either add some smoked sausage, black beans, and peppers to the pan. Another dish I make alot is the dirty rice, or spanish rice, and put my own spin on it. I would absolutely luv, luv, luv to try the frozen packages, didn't know they had them until now! Thanks so much for treating us to your southern hospitality every day!! SheilaLynn

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  8. oh i love Zatarain's! by far my favorite for side dishes and even a meal when i'm too busy to slave over the stove all day. if i win or not i'm still looking forward to trying the frozen entrees! :D

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  9. I think Zatarrans noddles and sausage are Fantabulous! Just the right blend of seasonings to add to it. We absolutely love the Zatarain's Jambalaya. That is our ultimate favorite. Add a batch of hot, buttery cornbread and green beans sauteen in garlic and onion and you have the ultimate meal! The Gumbo is pretty good so any Frozen Product from Zatarains is Yummy. I am a huge fan... My name is Becky Springfield

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  10. Please add me!!! Pick me!!!! I have a trip to NOLA coming up and can hardly wait.. I LOVE to eat in NOLA.. Rovarchy44

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  11. I would love to win some coupons for zatarain"s frozen entrees,I miss living by in good ole New Orleans and I cook with zatarain's products any chance I get, so I can have a little bit of cajun cusine here in tx.

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  12. I love Zatarain's products. I have a couple of boxes in my pantry at the moment. I also like their seasoning packages. Would love to win the coupon but in any case am going to buy the Zatarain's frozen entries. Thanks Mary for bringing this give away to us.

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  13. I would Love to win one of the Zatarain's coupons - since I am now on disability I don't get to cook as much as I once did so I am always on the lookout for something to help make a great meal for myself and my husband.....P.S. I LOVE Deep South Dish - always some great, easy to make, ideas for meals. Wonderful help for folks like me.

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  14. In the South, the breeze blows softer... neighbors are friendlier, nosier, and more talkative. (By contrast with the Yankee, the Southerner never uses one word when ten or twenty will do.)...This is a different place. Our way of thinking is different, as are our ways of seeing, laughing, singing, eating, meeting, and parting. Our walk is different, as the old song goes, our talk and our names. Nothing about us is quite the same as in the country to the north and west. What we carry in our memories is different too, and that may explain everything else. –Charles Kuralt in "Southerners: Portrait of a People"

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  15. Nothing but Zatarains :) YUM Cynthia Cockroft

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  16. Oh i so love all there products!! I hope i am one of the lucky ones. Its good cooking with zatarain's.

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  17. I looooovvvee Zatarain's. I buy them every 2 weeks and keep them on hand for the munchies or to take to work for lunch when I don't have leftovers. [And I usually end up taking one at least twice a week, since my family is hogs and we rarely have leftovers:)] A coupon would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Perri
    perri.childree@gmail.com

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  18. I love Zatarains products. Their rice is the best on the market! 33eliza@att.net

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  19. We LOVE Zatarain's and this time of year with the garden and canning it would be nice sometimes to grab something quick from the freezer to serve.

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  20. Would love to win! I'm always looking for quick dinners or a good lunch for work!

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  21. I like Zatarain's and would love to try these dishes. Thanks for the chance to enter.

    Andrea D.
    short74717@msn.com

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  22. My grandmother was full-blood Cajun! I miss her food/cooking...and this is the closest I can get to her recipes. This is my type of comfort food!!!

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  23. Love Zatarains. We've been making their Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage added. My husband loves it. Would like to try the new frozen varieties.

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  24. I would love to win it because my Zatarains supply is getting low. I moved from South Louisiana to South Colorado a few years ago and I have to spend a ton of money getting Zatarains up here to feed these poor folks who have never tasted "real food."

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  25. I love Zatarains Jambalaya mix and Spanish Rice mix. I didn't know they were making frozen entrees! I would love to try them! I'm sure they are delicious! Please put my name in!

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  26. I love the Blackened Chicken Alfredo! I would love to get coupons they are so good and quick for lunch!!

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  27. I would love to win a Zatarain's dinner! I am very much a fan of all Zatarain's products. They are very tasty and easy to beef up when need be!

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  28. Zatarain's Dirty Rice and Yellow Rice mixes are regular staples in my home. We love them! I have never tried the frozen dinners, but we would love to try them.

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  29. Okay,
    Here's a good reason for me to win. I live in Midland,Tx. (west Texas) and it's hotter and dryer than Haties around here this year. It's been at least 100 or better for over 120 days and hasn't rained since last September , yep I'm talking 2010 September. Lord help us. Now I have a spoiled husband who thinks that if I didn't cook it "It ain't no good" and with 100 and above temps every dang day that sort of takes the joy out of cooking somdays, if ya know what I mean.
    I'll try them on him if I have a coupon and let you know the reaction.
    Thank, Sindy Magee

    "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History"

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  30. If you say it's good--then I know it's good and would love to try them-- B Lawford

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  31. My husband and I both work and are famished immediately after. A Zatarain's meal would make an early dinner easy, delicious, and most of all fast!

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  32. Here's my reason: It's just still too hot to spend any more time in the kitchen than necessary! And, if the brand is Zatarain's, I KNOW it's good!

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  33. I want to win because I LOVE their blackened chicken alfredo. It is so good and I love it! The hubby loves the gumbo type one too.

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  34. I adore Zatarain's and have had at least one box in the cupboard for the last few years. My little grandson can't get enough of the yellow rice :) bless his little growing belly! ltlwavridr@yahoo.com

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  35. I just recently noticed Zatarain's in the freezer section and wondered how they tasted. You do a great job giving descriptions of all of them...making me hungry to try them. Was fortunate to go to New Orleans a few years back and really am craving that food! Would love to win!Bonnie from Iowa.....bjo2298@yahoo.com

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  36. I want one because it's too hot to cook and a good, delicious meal is needed.

    tamwash at yahoo.com
    tammy

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  37. I would love to win one because I have two small children under the age of three as well as a hungry, hard-working husband, and MAMA NEEDS A BREAK from cooking once in a while. :)

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  38. Looks delicious and it would be a great bonus for supper when it's too hot and I'm too tired and can't think of ANYTHING to cook!

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  39. I would love to win because I love Zatarain's products! I've had my eye on the frozen entrees for a while and this would be the perfect opportunity to try them!

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  40. I have not had one in a while and the coupon would be wonderful now after several unexpected expenses this year.

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  41. I like Zatarain's, and my kids are on a Cajun kick nowadays -- this would be a treat.

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  42. I would love to give this a try since I'm always looking for something good and fast, anne

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  43. I would love to win! Zatarain's is soo good and I want to try these! Thanks for hosting!

    kortneyewing@gmail.com

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  44. Zatarain's! Who doesn't love something free!?

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  45. I want one because I LOVE these entrees! Thank you!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  46. I love the others Zatarain's products I tried, so I'm sure I'll love this one also.



    Cindy B.
    cindyskitchen@yahoo.com

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  47. I love Zatarain's, & doctoring it up to make it my own specialty dish!

    Chris - dedoite@hotmail.com

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  48. I am a busy Mom. I have two boys in school, guitar lessons, drum lessons, & dance. I am always running. When it is over I have homework to supervise. I would love to try these, would be easy to grab a quick bite on a hectic night. Thanks for the chance! deanawood@centurytel.net

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  49. I have made so many of your recipes, my family and co-workers are grateful for the wonderful dishes you provide.

    LaRonda L.
    Lrondiz@hotmail.com

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  50. I want one because I love Zatarain's tasty and delicious dishes :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
    theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

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  51. I love Zatarain products and would like to try one of these frozen entrees. The pasta one looks soooo good!!

    roxannewv@yahoo.com

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  52. I would love to try Zatarains product frozen, I love their boxes items, it is not hot where I live and if I would win one I would dress it up with some creole spices and feel like summer had finally arrived, the weather people say it won't happen this summer, love your blog and recipes they look and I have tried them and they are might tasty, thanks for the blog and contest..yummy from mjs at momanddad00@clear.net !!!!!!!!!!!!!Keep cool...

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  53. I've never tried this, but I would love to. Can't wait for them to get this in Oklahoma. I love shrimp and seafood (I'm from California) and miss it sooo much. Thanks for this chance.

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  54. I've loved the Zatarains boxed rice for years, and would love to try the frozen entrees! Thanks for the offer!

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  55. GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Winners will be announced on the site soon so be sure to check back.

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