I've got a foodie tip that's going to make meal prep SUPER easy for you! And what's even better is that the quality of ingredients is superior, making this prepared line of meals as delicious as going out!
I will also preface this post by saying that is done as gesture of goodwill, as I was not compensated in any way. I was simply told the information and decided to try it out on my own–I even bought my own groceries!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Italian Centre Shop's south side location. I was given a tour of every department with the most notable being Massimo's–the Italian Centre Shop's own brand of heat & eat meals, sauces, fresco-to-go salads, dips, and soups. If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because it used to be the restaurant located next door to the Italian Centre Shop. Now that name lives on as their prepared food line. Having witnessed their kitchen and the little lady who stands on a stool to prepare your Bolognese sauce, I can tell that every effort is made to ensure you have a good experience. Many pastas were tested to ensure that the pasta you take home lives up to its expectations (read, firmness and making sure that your cooked pasta doesn't end up soggy).
What can you expect with Massimo's?
Being that the Italian Centre is a quality centric establishment, you can expect the same of their prepared food line. Massimo's is designed for those who are on-the-go and short on time, which is pretty much 90% of us! They offer a variety of prepared meals to help make your weekday (and weekend) dinners as effortless as possible. They do the hard work for you, so that you can spend more time doing what you love, whether that be time spent with your children, going for a walk, or simply a Netflix binge.
What can you purchase for dinner?
The short answer is many things! Here's a quick list:
Pasta Meals & Meatballs
Pasta Sauces (Rosé, Tomato, Bolognese, Béchamel Cream Sauce)
Salads and Fresco (fresh)-to-go
Antipasto (example: meat & cheese)
The day I stopped in, I purchased meatballs, both the rosé and tomato sauce, gnocchi (non-Massimo's brand), and a loaf of multigrain bread.
Ease of use:
Dinner was easy to prepare as all I had to do was panfry the meat balls, boil the gnocchi, and heat up the pasta sauce.
Total cooking time:
About 30 minutes.
10/10. From the first bite, I thought I was eating at an Italian restaurant. I guess that's to be expected when you purchase your food from a well-known Italian grocer!
I would say that the price point is ever so slightly higher, but the quality and taste make it worth it. Here's a bit of a comparison that I noticed:
Safeway: A pack of 48 small frozen meatballs is about 680g and is priced around $13.99
Massimo's: A pack of 20 medium sized fresh meatballs is about 615g and is priced around $12.27
The difference? Quality. I would much rather have large meatballs that are fresh, than small frozen ones that just don't add anything extra to my meal.
The pasta sauce ranges from about $6 for a rosé to $10 for the Bolognese, which is also in a larger size.
Having tried Massimo's twice on two separate occasions, I would highly recommend stopping by the Italian Centre Shop for those times when you're in a bind. Even if you're not, Massimo's can make entertaining simpler and less stressful (and I am all about reducing stress in my life). All you have to do is look for that shiny well-designed Massimo's sticker and you'll know that it's prepared just for you!
To find an Italian Centre Shop location nearest to you, click here.