We try Marketside from Walmart for Fresh, Fast Meals

Whoa!  Last week was little more than a blurry memory, but I do remember how nice it was to sample some of the Marketside offerings available at Walmart stores nationwide.  We have had the pizzas in the past, and had an awesome experience, so I was completely on board for this taste test.

Monday, we were able to sample 4 varieties of pizza (the small ones) which are available at your store for $5.  They had amazing flavor, the freshest toppings, and I was impressed by how large the pieces of meat and veggies were.  The cheese pizza was my fave, even though I usually don't eat cheese pizza.  It was a very mild tasting cheese with lots of stringy goodness.  It also had a light sauce and lots of herbs.  Very delicious!

In addition to the pizzas were several bags of salad.  I couldn't believe how large the Family Size bags were.  They could feed our entire family of 2 adults and 3 kids (the baby doesn't eat yet), easily.  There was enough left over for half of a second meal, although the yummy buttery croutons didn't make it to the second serving (my 3 year old kept stealing the packages of croutons and eating them under the table.)

The toppings that came with the salad were substantial.  In addition to croutons or crumblies, there were salad varieties with real bacon bits, various cheeses, and one kind with cherry tomatoes (the tomatoes were not that flavorful, in my opinion.) Each salad kit also came with a custom dressing, which was good, but we skipped in lieu of our own dressings.  The lettuce stayed really fresh for days, even if you opened the bag!

Day two offered us soup and salad!  This was my favorite sampling day because I am a huge fan of Panera, but hate the price tag associated with taking the entire family there.  The breads that we tried were as good, and much less costly ($1.50 for a mini-loaf, and $3 for a large loaf.)  We ate on the breads all week long.  They tasted great after being warmed in the oven and were perfect dipped in the soups.

See some of the tasty soup and bread goodness below:

The soups I loved best were the cream based ones:  Broccoli cheese with large chunks of broccoli, Loaded Baked potato with chunky potatoes (skins still on) and bacon bits, and a delicious Tomato Bisque.  My husband despises cream soups and preferred the tangy zip of the Chicken Tortilla (which had a thinner consistency but large shreds of chicken breast throughout.)  We both liked the Corn Chowder!

The rest of the week brought more Marketside sampling opportunities, including pasta night!  We almost never buy fresh refrigerated pasta, because it is so expensive, but this is an indulgence I think we'll start implementing into our meal plan.  The pastas were so innovative:  some with cremini mushrooms, others with sausage, and yet others with chicken and spinach!  Tortellini, ravioli and the freshest marinara (loaded with chunks of tomatoes) filled our plates!  We also enjoyed steamed butternut squash cubes that we cooked right in the packaging via the microwave.  This was SUPER easy and delicious.

Friday, we headed out on our first vacation roadtrip, where I was a speaker at the I_Blog conference in Perry, Iowa.  Luckily, we were sent some Marketside dips to try, which went right into our cooler for some great on-the-road snacking.  We sampled guacamole, fruit dips (made with rich cream cheese and vanilla bean), ranch veggie dips, and some zesty hummus.  This was paired with our own apples and some of the veggies leftover from the day before.  Our kids were quiet the entire trip as they dipped their fresh produce into the single-serving containers of dips avaialble from Marketside.  (We don't pack school lunches, because we homeschool -- so this was a fun way for the kids to experience their "own" packages of food.)

We spend a good amount of our budget on food each month, but loathe the bill associated with taking everyone out to a restaurant.  The Marketside line is strikingly as good as restaurant (if not better, in some cases) and easily trumps most eateries in terms of affordability.  While most families can't afford deli-fresh for every meal, it's an awesome way to give working Moms and Dads a break from cooking and can make the whole family feel like they are enjoying a night out -- at home!  Dollar for dollar, we found it more affordable than the cheapest fast-food restaurant.. and it's much more healthy and delicious!

Find out which of your Walmart stores carry the Marketside products by using the store locator.

*Compensation and product has been provided by Walmart for my time and efforts to review the Marketside products. Opinions are 100% my own.