These three gourmet seafood stews for two from Orca Bay are ready in minutes, and deliciously perfect with practically zero effort. This post is sponsored by Orca Bay, but as always, all opinions are my own.
I adore soup. All winter long, I want soup as often as possible, in as many flavors as possible. As much as I love homemade soup– sometimes I’m short on time, sometimes I’ve run out of the ingredients I need for made-from-scratch soup, and sometimes I’m just looking for a quick and easy dinner solution. What then?
It’s tempting to reach for canned or boxed soup (and sometimes I do), but I’m always a little worried with how much salt is in pre-made soup. Orca Bay has another, much tastier, less salty solution. What is it? Frozen soup. That’s right– soup that you buy in the freezer aisle. These tasty concoctions have all the flavor, all the freshness, and all the deliciousness of a homemade soup.
I tried their three seafood stews, and loved that they’re all ready in about 10 minutes. Another selling point? The sodium levels– unlike some canned and boxed soups that have well over 700 milligrams of sodium per serving– are all 550 mg per serving or less. These stews are perfect for both busy weeknight dinners and for ‘fancy-schmancy’ date nights.
The stews include Jjamppong– a Korean noodle stew, Albondigas– a spicy Mexican soup, and Cioppino– traditional fisherman’s stew. The stews are each packaged to feed two, and are the perfect starters for a flavorful dinner.
Stew 1: Jjamppong – Korean Seafood Noodles
When I saw these Orca Bay stews, I was the most excited about the jjamppong. I LOVE Korean food, and I rarely get to eat it. There’s a little Korean restaurant a few hours away that has a vegetarian soondubu that I DREAM about, but haven’t devoured in at least a year. When I got my hands on this jjamppong, I ripped it open, and started cooking.
The jjamppong came in a package containing two bags of frozen sauce, a bag of frozen noodles, and a bag of frozen cod, shrimp, mussels & squid. The sauce cooked down first, then I stirred in the noodles, and finally the seafood. Everything was ready to eat in about 10 minutes– and that was kind of amazing.
This Asian soup was flavorful, and just a tad spicy. How spicy? Honestly, I always order my food as spicy as possible. I’m the one at the Indian restaurant who asks for “Indian hot” (and then I spend the next few minutes trying to convince the server that I’m serious). The husband’s heat tolerance is even higher. This soup wasn’t “intensely” hot– it was more like a mildly spicy surprise at the end of a bite. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you’d probably still be completely fine.
I served my soup with rice and bean sprouts. If you’ve got some kimchi, it would be amazing with this too! This soup was my favorite– if I was going to pick one of these soups for a date night– it would be this one. (Although I might add a little more cayenne pepper, because I’m crazy like that!)
Stew 2: Albondigas – Mexican Seafood Soup
The second soup I tried was Orca Bay’s seafood version of the Mexican soup Albondigas. I’ve never tried traditional Albondigas before, because it’s normally made with very beefy meatballs (which I won’t eat). Orca Bay’s Albondigas is made with shrimp and cod seafood ‘meatballs’ in a tomato broth. Just like with the first soup, the sauce cooked first, and then I added in the seafood balls and let them simmer until they were hot.
For some reason, I was expecting this to taste like the only other Mexican soup I’ve eaten– tortilla soup. It doesn’t. Instead, this soup was earthy and smoky. The husband loved this one– after the jjamppong, this was his favorite. I paired this soup with a cheese and jalapeno quesadilla, but it would be an amazing starter with my other favorite Mexican food– tacos.
Stew 3: Cioppino – Fisherman’s Stew
The last soup we tried was Cioppino— a seafood stew made famous in San Francisco. I haven’t made it to San Francisco yet (it’s on my list), and I’ve never tried cioppino before. This soup was prepared just like the Albondigas– you just let the sauce cook, and then add the frozen seafood and stir until it’s cooked through.
What did I think? I loved it! This was less earthy than the Albondigas, and more like a traditional tomato soup filled with fantastical sea creatures. I paired it with garlic bread, and then finished dinner with a bowl of pasta. This was right next to the jjamppong on my favorites list, but while I’d probably save jjamppong for a date night– this comforting soup made me want to curl up with a blanket and listen to the rain.
Buying Orca Bay Stews
Orca Bay’s frozen stews will be– you guessed it– in the freezer aisle! Need help finding their products? Check out their store finder, order online (using the promo code: champagnetastes for 15% off!), or try these vendors: Ingles, Giant Eagle, Dierbergs, and Natural Grocers / Vitamin Cottage. (If you don’t have one of these stores in your local area, but do have a health food store, check there! That’s where I find my Orca Bay products.)
Have you tried frozen soups before? Have you tried Orca Bay’s soups? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Note: These soups serve two, but the soup on its own would make a pretty light dinner (especially if your other half is a big eater). Use these soups as a starter to your meal, or as half of a main course.