Tags: macaroni and cheese

I’m not a pasta person – I’ll take rice, bread and pretty much any carb over pasta. However, an exception to the rule is macaroni and cheese. How can anyone possibly turn it down? Gooey, cheesy and super comforting – what’s not to love?

Ian’s Natural Foods is a brand that I happen to like, so I figured I would try the Ian’s Wheat Free/Gluten Free Mac & NO Cheese that I saw at the store. According to the sticker on the box, I paid $5.19 for it, which is a bit steep, but I also know from experience that gluten free foods tend to be expensive.

So I cooked this by the recommended method, via the microwave. Which, let’s be honest, even if it WASN’T the recommended method and the oven was suggested instead, I’d probably still pick the lazy route and use the microwave. So it was convenient for me the microwave WAS the preferred method =)

As it was cooking, it smelled like chicken noodle soup. Huh? I mean I knew this was called “Mac & NO Cheese”, but I was still hoping for a cheesy smell! After the cook time, here’s how it looked straight from the oven

I wont lie and say it was the most attractive looking entree. It looked kind of...mushy.

Now, finally onto the flavor. What happened to me is the sort of thing that I hope has happened to more people other than myself. When there are 2 cups on the table, say one with water and one with soda, and you go to drink the soda cup but accidentally grab the water cup, take a sip, and then are completely taken aback it’s not soda.

That’s what it was like with this mac and cheese. Or, rather, “Mac & NO Cheese”.

I was expecting at least somewhat of a cheesy flavor. However, I got nothing. It tasted like chicken noodle soup. Weird, I know. But honestly, it had the flavor of chicken noodle soup, but with a creamy sauce and noodles like macaroni and cheese.

I’m not saying it was bad, it was just unexpected. The noodles were pretty good, but had spots of funky-ness going on. Like some noodles on the edges were over cooked, and some on the bottom fell apart and were “piecy” almost.

The rest of/majority of the noodles were soft and had that baked, home-made mac & cheese consistency. The sauce surrounding the noodles was creamy, and not too salty, and there as a good quantity. So overall? I’ll give it a 3 star rating. I might eat it again, but it won’t satisfy a macaroni and cheese void for me.

If you had to choose only one to eat….would it be pasta/noodles, rice, or bread? I’d pick bread, hands down. =)

Nothing quite like some mac & cheese! Last night, I was craving some of the cheesy goodness, so I decided to boil up some water and give this mac & cheese a try.

As directed on the package of Annie’s Homegrown Shells & Real Aged Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese, I put the cheese powder packet in 1/4 cup of milk in a measuring cup and stirred. Normally I just add the milk and powder to the pot, but wanted to follow the directions. It came out to be a slightly bumpy cheesy “sauce”, that I then added to the shells once they were cooked and drained. Here’s how it looked

As you can see, there were kind of “cheese puddles” in the shells. The milk/cheese powder mixture really didnt thicken up, so it was a bit runny on the noodles. I found a lot of the sauce on the bottom of my pan. I also found it kind of hard to get all the cheese sauce from my measuring cup out and in the pan of noodles without the help of those flexible spatula things (why yes, I do believe they are called “flexible spatula things” ;P )

Anyway, the taste was acutally pretty good. Not too salty, and a mild cheddar flavor. The noodles turned out to be tender and slightly chewy. I ate this with some green beans and some Smart Bacon.

I'd be totally lying If I said I DIDNT have seconds on the Mac & Cheese and Green Beans. =)

Overall, 3 stars. I love that the ingredients are good, but wish the cheese flavor was more prominent and a thicker sauce. Perhaps I will use less milk next time.

2.5 ounces ( mix not prepared) is 270 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated dat, 46 grams of carbohydrates,2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar and 10 grams of protein.

What is your FAVORITE boxed mac & cheese?

Mac & Cheese! Normally I’m not a pasta person. Spaghetti? Ravioli? Nah, I’ll have rice or bread instead. But, Mac & Cheese has always really been my one exception. Something about the cheesy sauce and the tender noodles that I love!

Well, to add to my Mac & Cheese enjoyment, I had the opportunity to try Annie’s Homegrown Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Extra Cheesy Cheddar Sauce. Annie’s Homegrown generously sent me 2 boxes of this stuff, and I couldn’t have been happier. I especially like mac & cheese when it has the creamy cheese sauce rather than the cheese powder when I have to add milk & butter as well, I find the cheese sauce varieties to always be more tasty!

Some things to point out is that this pasta is gluten free, and is rice pasta. I never had a gluten free mac & cheese before, so this was certainly new for me. According to the front of the box, this product has “No Artificial Anything, 0g Trans Fat, A Naturally Good Source of Calcium & Protein”. Sounds good to me!

I looked at the nutrition information, and saw that this product was relatively low in fat, only 4 grams per serving prepared. I also noticed the sodium was a bit high, 680 mg per serving prepared, and this product also had 63 carbohydrates per 1 cup prepared! I know pasta has carbohydrates, but I felt this was higher than what I was used to.

So, I boiled the water and then added the pasta. I cooked it for about 10-11 minutes, but I prefer my pasta tender. After draining I noticed how long and tubular the noodles were! I liked how long they were- it was fun! 🙂

I stirred the cheese sauce in, and noticed how nicely it adhered to the noodles- a good sign. I don’t like when the noodles and cheese sauce to mix well, but that wasn’t the case here! The noodles & cheese sauce thickened up quite nicely as well. I put some on my plate and gave it a taste- not bad! It has a mild cheddar cheese taste, not too salty, either. The noodles were perfect, just the right amount of tenderness, and not chewy at all. My brother tried some, and he said it was “cheesy”, and seemed to enjoy it as well.

Overall, I give this pasta 4 stars. I do wish it tasted a bit more saltier, as I feel as if that would have brought out a stronger cheese flavor. I do like, however, how the pasta and cheese sauce thickened up so nicely, and how it was low in fat. I think this is a GREAT option for those who cannot have gluten, or for anyone, really! I couldn’t tell the difference between having rice pasta as compared to what I normally have, which is wheat/ whole wheat.

1 serving, about 1 cup prepared, is 320 calories, 4 grams of fat, 63 carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and 8 grams of protein.

Rice Pasta (white and brown rice flour), Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, non-animal enzymes), Cream, Whey, Skim Milk, Natural Butter and Cheese Flavor, Natural Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Lactic Acid, Sodium Alginate, Annatto Extract for Natural Color, Xanthan Gum.

25 Oct 2009, Comments (5)

Mom Made Foods- Cheesy Mac Meal

Author: healthnuttxo

mom

Ahhh, Mac & cheese. A traditional comfort food. What’s better than some ooey gooey cheesy macaroni on a cold winter day or after a stressful day at work/school?
Exactly.
But, we all know how Velveeta and Kraft’s nutritional stats hold up. And after preparing Kraft’s boxed version with butter and milk, I sure  got the blues (of regret for eating it!). So, Mom Made Foods makes a healthier alternative to macaroni & cheese. “Mom Made” makes it seem like it’s geared toward children, but trust me, all ages can enjoy this dish.
Mom Made Cheesy Mac Meal has some extra health  benefits in their yogurt. They sneak in butternut squash and sweet potatoes in their cheese sauce- but you would never tell. After heating up this individual tray (yay portion control!), you don’t see any chunks of squash or potatoes, just a bunch of elbow macaroni and cute little peas as well.
After heating it up, the macaroni cooked nicely. It wasn’t too chewy or overdone either. Just the way I like my macaroni- has a bite but doesn’t fall to pieces in my mouth.
The peas were nice and crisp too, not mushy blobs. I personally love peas, and i hate when frozen dinners ruin them by making them all soggy and nasty. Not the case here!
Moving on to the cheese sauce, it was thicker than I expected. It wasn’t a runny cheese sauce, and it really stuck on the macaroni. It was more of a milder cheese taste than I would expected, and it wasn’t as salty tasting as Velveeta or other boxed brands (there’s only 340mg of sodium per serving as compared to 720mg+ in other varieties!). It was good though. An enjoyable mac & cheese entree 🙂

Overall, i liked it. 4 stars for me  for excellent nutrition stats and sneaky veggies. There are a lot of noodles in this entree, especially considering it’s geared toward kids. However, I would say it’s a tad too small for an adult or those of us with raging appetites (especially after going to the gym), so i paired it some strawberry organic milk and some  extra veggies and had it for lunch. My only complaint is that it’s not made with whole wheat macaroni, but it still packs in some fiber 🙂 I would love love love to try the other things Mom Made Foods has to offer, like fiesta rice and bean burritos!

1 entree is 200 calories, 3 grams of fat, 36 carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.

Organic macaroni (organic durum semolina), Organic skim milk (organic pasteurized skim milk, vitamin d), Organic green peas, Organic sweet potato, Organic butternut squash, Organic cheese powder (Organic cheddar cheese [organic pasteurized milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes], Organic whey, Salt, Lactic acid, Citric acid, Annatto [for color], Natural mixed tocopherols); Organic butter (organic sweet cream, salt).

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