I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut lately. I’ve dubbed it the “4 out of 10” rut. It seems like everything I review is either spectacularly underwhelming or just plain blech. Which is why I was so glad to see Stouffer’s new Stuffed Melt and Soup. It’s an ingenious idea with three available combinations that all sound like they could be really tasty. I chose the Steak & Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar Soup over the Three Cheese & Ham Stuffed Melt with Creamy Tomato Bisque because I can’t seem to find a tomato soup I like, so I wanted to give Stouffer’s the best chance possible to succeed in making my taste buds give them a round of applause.
Apparently there’s also a Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Melt with Baked Potato Soup available, but they didn’t have it at my store. If it had been there, I would have had some tough decisions to make. Actually, I probably would have just bought them both, after standing in front of the frozen food section for 15 minutes, paralyzed by my inability to make a quick trip to the grocery store last less than half an hour. I really shouldn’t be left unsupervised.
As a brief side note, food manufacturers really need to start cutting down on their product names. Seriously, “Stouffer’s Corner Bistro Stuffed Melt and Soup Steak & Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar Soup?” Is the Stouffer’s marketing team working on the Dickensian pay scale? Can’t we trim it down a little? Also, who uses the term “stuffed melt?” It’s a fucking sandwich. Treat it as such. Or at least be less fucking redundant.
The entire description of the SCBSMSSSSMBCS on the front of the box is as follows: “Herb-topped focaccia bread filled with beef steak, onions and mushrooms in a swiss cheese sauce paired with creamy broccoli and cheddar cheese soup.”
Whew! Thank God they specified beef steaks. I thought I was in for some crazy fish steak and swiss cheese adventure.
There are no conventional oven cooking instructions, only microwave. That’s how fucking serious Stouffer’s is about giving you a bakery fresh taste in minutes. You are strictly not allowed to take your time. The top of the box tears away, leaving you with a handy little tray to hold your soup and sandwi…stuffed melt. You pop the soup in by itself for a minute thirty, then you add the melt with its convenient crisping sleeve for another three and a quarter minutes. Voila!
And yes, I spilled some of the soup into the tray by accident. Don’t worry, I scraped most of it off the cardboard with my spoon and ate it. No stone left unturned for you TIB readers! And also, no dignity for me.
I’m really sad to say that the finished product fell well short of my expectations. Let’s start with the soup. The broccoli bits were small but actually had a nice, crunchy texture, whereas you might expect them to be soggy, so that was nice. There wasn’t a whole lot of them, but then again, the soup was pretty small to begin with, so I guess ratio-wise they were on target. The cheese part of the soup was really disappointing.
The flavor was pretty much on par with Campbell’s broccoli and cheese soup, which I actually enjoy, but it was just so watery. It was like cheese water, which is a phrase that actually makes me a little nauseous. The little orange things as pictured on the box were also present. I guess they were supposed to be carrots? They were minuscule and tasted like nothing, but their shape did make me wish I was eating some sort of awesome Tetris soup, except all the pieces were the long, straight pieces that never dropped when I had that giant, gaping, straight chasm that was just begging for that piece. Now I’m mad at Stouffer’s AND Tetris. And I’m still thinking about cheese water, which is just…ugh.
I knew going into this that the “stuffed melt” portion of the meal was probably going to be nothing more than a glorified Hot Pocket, especially after I saw the crisping sleeve. And I was generally right, except Hot Pockets have about 50 percent more filling than this stuffed melt had. It was woefully under-stuffed.
The molten lava cheese, when you could actually find some, was pretty tasty, but the “steak” consisted of largely flavorless tiny pieces, and while I could taste a hint of onion, good luck finding any mushrooms. Who knows, I could have been eating mushrooms that I thought were steak the whole time. I wouldn’t be surprised. Also, they can call the shell herb-topped foccacia bread until they’re blue in the face, but seriously, once again…Hot Pockets. The bread was nicely chewy and texturally acceptable, but it was no artisanal masterpiece.
It’s pretty sad when what seems to be a really great concept fails so badly at execution. It’s also pretty sad when I can tell Stouffer’s that Campbell’s makes a concentrated broccoli and cheese soup that costs 99 cents per can and tastes better than their soup, and that a Hot Pocket has more plentiful and flavorful filling than their stuffed melt. Furthermore, I have a pretty dainty appetite, and after finishing off the Stouffer’s Corner Bistro Stuffed Melt and Soup Steak & Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar Soup, I was actually still a little hungry. This could have been a great five-minute, stomach-warming lunch to take to work on a rainy day, but instead it just makes you wish you’d rushed to the bakery down the street and ordered their half-sandwich and soup lunch special.
Looking back on this review, I’m making it sound like Stouffer’s killed my whole family, when what they really did was just offer up a mediocre frozen meal. I guess I just really wanted them to win with such a great concept, which made my disappointment all the more tangible. In all fairness, it’s edible, it’s convenient and probably tastes better than whatever horror show sits in your break area’s vending machine. It just wasn’t the comfort-food-in-a-box that I was hoping it would be.
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 1 stuffed melt and soup (283 grams) — 400 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of total fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 880 milligrams of sodium, , 41 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugars, 17 grams of protein, 15% vitamin A, 40% calcium, 15% vitamin C and 10% iron.)
Item: Stouffer’s Corner Bistro Stuffed Melt and Soup Steak & Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar Soupâ€¨
Price: $2.99 (on sale; original $3.89)
â€¨Size: 1 stuffed melt and soup (283 grams)â€¨
Purchased at: Safewayâ€¨
Rating: 5 out of 10â€¨
Pros: Broccoli bits were crisp and tasty. No fish steaks involved. Easy to prepare. Fun carrying tray. Swiss cheese was tasty. Stouffer’s did not kill my whole family.
â€¨Cons: Under-stuffed stuffed melt. Cheese water. Good concept, bad execution. Incredibly long food product names. Steak bits too small. Made me want Tetris soup, which does not exist.
16 thoughts to “REVIEW: Stouffer’s Corner Bistro Stuffed Melt and Soup Steak & Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar Soup”
Awww that sucks…I really wanted to try this because it did really look like a nice pairing meal. Damn you Stouffer’s!!!! I guess next time it will be the 99 cent can of soup with your own toasted melt sandwich. Btw, there is nothing wrong with licking up spilled soup or licking the bowl 🙂
Thanks for doing this review. I saw these at the grocery store the other day and I was tempted but now, thanks to you, I won’t have to waste my money.
cheese water… ugh… i’ll be queasy thinking about that for a few days, I’m pretty sure.
Nice vivid review as usual. Thanks!
You really do sound as if you’re going to don a silly costume and take to the night, bringing vigilante justice to food manufacturers under the moniker “The Snack Attack”.
I had never heard of these before opening up TIB today. My first thought was that is was a weird idea..I’ve never had frozen soup. I then decided it was a great idea, I love soup and sandwich on rainy days but hate having to leave the office to get it.
Then reading the review made me sad. Guess I’ll still have to walk two blocks for tasty soup and sandwich.
The picture makes it look so appetizing. Thanks for saving me 3 bucks. I also had a “Stouffers” “box lunch” joke after seeing your picture…but my wife didn’t find it funny…so we’ll let it slide.
wow…the nutrition information is very weight watchers friendly! Hmm I might have to try this one.
Dunno about this one, but the Ham and Cheese with Tomato soup is pretty darned awesome. That one certainly isn’t a belly buster, but makes a nice little meal.
I wrote a review of it that can be found on Viewpoints.
‘poor execution’ indeed..SCBSMSSSSMBCS (the acronym says it all) wooo
soup and sandwich combo from the frozen section…too good to be true
WOW! Back in the 80’s this was a TV Dinner option. It was called Soup & Combo. And I still remember the commercial jingle. It went to the same tune from the Married with Children TV show theme song.
What I really remember is the fact that it was impossible to not have an overcooked sandwich, or a frozen bowl of soup. Always one of the other!
I just tried the Corner Bistro tomomato soup & grilled ham and 3 cheese for lunch.
Let me start by saying I’m a tomato soup/grilled cheese fanatic, so when I saw this in my frozen food aisle I immediatley thought: “Oooh!” Then thought “Hmm, I dont know.” Then thought “Must at least try.”
The soup: Blech. Not creamy at all. Metallic taste. I even tried adding some salt & pepper, didnt help. But dipping the sandwich into it helps it taste a better. After I finished my sandwich I threw what remained out. Couldnt eat it by itself.
The sandwich: Not amazing, but not bad for something that was frozen. Good ratio of little chunks of ham to cheese. The cheese was creamy and the sandwich was pefectly cooked. The temp was perfect when I pulled it out of the micro.
Dipping it into the soup made it taste better.
Overall I’ll give it a C+ (soup merits a D, sandwich C+). Would buy it again for the sandwich.
I just bought this on impulse for my lunch today, and generally I agree with Kelley. It could have been done a LOT better. My soup was the right consistency, but there wasn’t enough broccoli or carrots for my taste. The sandwich was small and cheesy, but beef and mushrooms were minimal. In short, I’d buy this again for a quick, convenient lunch, but when I have the time, I’d rather make my own. It would have better seasoning and be more satisfying than a Hot Pocket.
I agree totally with your review. I read it as I ate the same exact meal, and you were on target. I can’t say anything you didn’t except the soup was full of salt (I assume to make of for the otherwise lack of flavor) and I found very little meat in the “Mini Hot Pocket”.
I am still hungry after I ate this. I won’t buy it again, not that it tasted that bad, but its too expensive for the meager portion. I would pay more if it actually might fill up someone over 3 years old. This might be good as a toddler meal.
Wow! You guys all hate it? I love them!!!
Well, only the two with the cheese soups. The ham and cheese with tomato soup is okay but I’m not a fan of tomato soup. It not a bad soup and I’d have it over something like Campbell’s condensed tomato with is crap and tastes like sugar, ketchup, and vinager. Stouffer’s actually tastes kinda like a pasta sauce. And it’s about as thick, too.
As for the other two yeah they could put a bit more filling in the melts but it is smaller then a hot pocket so why anyone would expect it to be the exact same is crazy. The soup is very good-you let it cool for a few seconds, so it’s warm but has thickend back up a bit. When it first comes out the reason it’s so thin is because it’s cheese afterall. You cook cheese and it gets thinner in consitency, it’s just what happens.
I do agree it is a small meal, but it is very tasty!
By the way, Campbell’s Condensed broccoli and cheese soup is for COOKING, not eating!!! Yuck!!!
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