Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wendy's Favorite Things for September #WendyFaveThings

It's time for another Wendy's Favorite Things monthly roundup of my favorite new-to-me food products. I've got some great new finds to share with you this month -- including a quick-cook pasta, some great lunchbox treats, and a smooth-drinking red wine. Let's get started!

(1) Barilla® Pronto™. If you're like me, pasta is a regular part of your dinner menu rotation. What if I told you that you could cook delicious pasta in 10 short minutes...with no boiling or draining? It's true...thanks to Barilla! Their new Pronto™ line comes in several varieties, and it cooks in a skillet in 10 minutes. This pasta allows me to make a one-pan pasta skillet in less than 30 minutes...perfect for those busy weeknights. I made a simple chicken pasta dish using the penne variety. I sauteed onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Then, I browned some chicken breast strips. I added chicken stock, canned tomatoes, and Pronto™ penne pasta. The pasta cooked up perfectly al dente in my skillet, and I had a complete pasta dinner on the table in right at 30 minutes! This pasta is a busy cook's best friend. Barilla Pronto™ can be found in the pasta aisle of most major grocery retailers in the U.S.

(2) Menage a Trois Silk Soft Red Blend.True to its name, Menage a Trois' latest wine is silky smooth -- and so easy to drink! Soft Red Blend is comprised of 76% Pinot Noir, 12% Malbec, 8% Petite Sirah, and 4% Syrah. This combination of wines gives the wine a lush mouth feel and a deep flavor. The first thing we noticed was that Silk is a gorgeous deep red color. Then, you take a sip and notice flavors of cherry and ripe raspberry -- with subtle notes of rose petals and toasty spice. These flavors combine for a glass of wine that is indeed silky smooth! It pairs well with extra sharp white cheddar cheese and salty crackers for a quick, sophisticated appetizer. It also pairs nicely with a grilled steak and roasted vegetables. The best part? This fabulous wine is very affordable -- under $15!

(3) Mah-Ze-Dahr Bars. I recently discovered a fabulous bakery treat from Mah Ze Dahr Bakery in New York. Lucky for me, the bakery ships their amazing signature namesake bars across the country! Comforting Mah-Ze-Dahr Bars combine an oatmeal and brown sugar base with layers of toasted pecans and chocolate chips. Then, a generous amount of brown butter salted caramel sauce is poured on top...swoon! These bars are basically all of my favorite cookie flavors in one handy bar. One bite, and I was hooked. These are hide-them-from-the-family good, people! Even if you live far from New York, these decadent bars can be shipped direct to you. A box of 6 large Mah-Ze-Dahr Bars can be ordered online for $18 + shipping -- much cheaper than a flight to visit the bakery in New York!

(4) Rold Gold Fudge Brownie Pretzel Dippers. The combination of salty and sweet flavors in one bite is one of my favorite. I was dancing a jig when I recently tried Rold Gold's delicious Fudge Brownie Pretzel Dippers snack packs! This portable treat contains salty Rold Gold dipping sticks and a generous serving of fudgy brownie-flavored dip. This on-the-go treat is perfect for lunch boxes, chocolate cravings, an after-lunch treat -- or even an afternoon pick-me-up. Each single-serving package is 240 calories, which is pretty good for something that successfully gets rid of a major chocolate craving. These fun Pretzel Dippers also come in a fun Cookies & Cream version! To find Rold Gold Pretzel Dippers near you, visit Frito Lay's handy Store Locator.

(5) Sir Kensington's Special Sauce. If you're a condiment lover, you have to try Sir Kensington's Special Sauce! Its tangy flavor is perfect on burgers and sandwiches, and you can feel good about eating it. Special Sauce starts with a mayonaise base, then its flavored with paprika, a dash of mustard, and the crunch of pickles. The flavor profile is creamy, with a bit of tang and a bit of mild sweetness. Like all Sir Kensington products, it contains no artificial ingredients -- and their mayo products are lower in saturated fat than other similar items. I just know this sauce tastes AMAZING! This and other Sir Kensington products can be found at select retailers in the U.S. -- including Whole Foods and Sur la Table.

(6) Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars. I'm always on the lookout for new bars to take to work for a grab-and-go breakfast or keep in my bag for when I'm out running errands. One of my current favorites is Brookside's line of Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars. These bars are tasty and full of healthy ingredients. They're gluten free, made with pieces of real dried fruit, and contain no artificial flavors. They also provide a good source of fiber, only 9 grams of fat, and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. These bars come in three great flavors: Blueberry with Acai, Cranberry with Blackberry, and Cherry with Pomegranate -- all have a light coating of decadent dark chocolate along the back. I love that I can see large pieces of nut and dried fruits -- and that they taste fantastic!

(7) Reginald's Homemade Peanut Butter. If you're bored with ordinary peanut butter, let me introduce you to Reginald's Homemade Peanut Butter! Reginald's Homemade Peanut Butter starts with peanuts and select natural ingredients -- including a wee bit of oil. I particularly love their Lite Crunch All-Natural Double Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter. It's lightly sweet, so the natural flavors of the peanuts and chocolate really come through. I love it on graham crackers or with a crisp, chilled apple. Other fun flavors in Reginald's peanut butter line include Apple Sin and Bourbon Pecan. If you don't like -- or are unable to eat -- peanuts, the company also makes a line of non-peanut nut butters. Reginald's nut butters can be found at select retailers nationwide. My Texas readers can locate these delicious nut butters at their nearest Central Market location.

(8) Lark Fine Foods Cookies. I was recently introduced to Lark Fine Food's line of cookies. Lark's line of baked goods contain no preservatives and use all natural ingredients. Some of their flavors are unique, including the rustic Polenta Pennies with Lemon and Golden Raisins. All of the Lark Fine Foods cookie flavors that we sampled were fantastic, but our personal favorite are the Whole Grain Lady Birds. These oatmeal-based cookies are are 100% whole wheat and flavored with tart dried cranberries and chunks of chocolate. The combination of earthy oats, tangy-chewy cranberries, and sweet bits of dark chocolate are pretty much perfection. Add a glass of ice-cold milk, and you have a perfect evening snack. Lark Fine Foods can be purchased online directly, and they can also be found at select locations in the U.S.

Disclosure: The brands featured in this article provided me with complimentary samples to facilitate inclusion. All opinions expressed are solely mine, and I never recommend a product that I have not tried myself and loved!

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