Who's getting into the ready-made meal game now? Why, it's famed Italian-American restaurateur Lidia Bastianich. Mere months after Ina Garten unleashed Barefoot Contessa frozen meals on the world, Bastianich announced on her blog that she has partnered up with Whole Foods on a brand new line of "homestyle meals." Whole Foods will be stocking these ready-made — but not frozen — meals exclusively starting tomorrow. A press release notes, though, that Lidia's Homestyle Meals will only be available in their 25 locations in the Tri-State area. (Sorry, rest of America.)
Seeing as how Bastianich has long been considered a matriarch of Italian cooking, the six different meals are all takes on Italian classics: breaded chicken breast parmigiana, turkey meatballs, and manicotti among them. Asbury Park Press reporter Nina Rizzo was invited to a special tasting and reports back that the meals "were impressive, particularly the lasagna, with its delicate layers of spinach pasta and hearty chicken ragu." They're retailing for $7.99-$9.99, and apparently family-sized meals might be next? Hold onto your hats.