As part of being a member of FoodBuzz, I sometimes get emails asking if I would like to participate in their Tastemaker Program where they send you free samples or coupons for a product to review. Your review and opinion can be positive or negative, but the item you’re trying is free–can’t go wrong with that!
When I saw the email asking if I would like to try a sample of Mrs. Paul’s and Van de Kamp’s ParchmentBake Fish, I figured–why not? I mean, I know I live by the ocean and all, and can get fresh fish whenever I want to, but I thought it might be fun to try something new and be a part of the broader blogger community. A few days later, I received an email saying I was chosen to participate–yay!–and a few weeks after that, I received my coupons in the mail along with this description of the product:
The secret to Mrs. Paul’s and Van de Kamp’s ParchmentBake is the unique parchment paper bag. It delicately bakes the pre-grilled, 100% tilapia in a sauce locking in the fish’s natural moisture and flavors. Cooking in parchment paper is a classic technique used in restaurants and by professional chefs. With four flavor options (Classic Grilled, Roasted Garlic, Garlic Butter, and Lemon Pepper) each ParchmentBake fillet has less than 80 calories and can be found in your grocer’s freezer.
I had heard that some bloggers were having trouble locating the product in their local grocery stores, but luckily for me, I was able to find the Lemon Pepper flavor at our local Von’s for $6.99, the amount of my coupon.
Now, I’m always a bit skeptical of frozen, pre-seasoned foods because the ingredient list can be ridiculously long and the sodium content outrageous. But, when I looked at the back, I was pleasantly surprised to find a decently-sized list of ingredients (minus the corn syrup solids!) and only 220mg per serving (one fillet). Plus, the tilapia was certified Best Aquaculture Practices by http://www.responsibleseafood.org/ and the Monterey Seafood Watch Guide says even farmed tilapia is a sustainable choice.
While Jeff was gone visiting more schools this past weekend, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to try out the fish for an easy, semi-homecooked meal. Each box has two fillets and as promised, they are sealed in parchment paper.
All you have to do is place the fish (still in the unopened parchment paper) in a baking pan and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the fish is entirely cooked through. I took mine out too early at first, but it was easy enough to place it back it the parchment paper for a few minutes.
The verdict? It was surprisingly pretty good! The fish was soft, flaky, and moist. The lemony flavor was a bit overpowering at first but that was easily remedied by scraping some of the excess sauce off. It may not have been the best fish I’ve ever had, but for frozen, pre-seasoned, out of the box fish, I would definitely eat it again.
If you’re interested in trying it yourself, you can get a Buy One Get One Free coupon here!
To complete my semi-homemade dinner, I made some Trader Joe’s microwavable Rice Medley–I love those things!
And not wanting to only eat things out of a box, I also roasted a few of our CSA carrots with just a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme–perfection!