Have I mentioned lately that my September and October are a little insane? Between birthdays (the boys and 3 of their 4 Godparents), the start of school, soccer season, various school activities, Back to School night, a professional conference for me, a few out of town trips, a few races, and just regular life, I generally spend September and October trying to keep my head above water. (And because all of the above isn’t enough, this year we added a leopard gecko and Martial Arts to our lives. Yes, I am insane.)
So, when I was offered the chance to try the new Barilla Microwaveable Meals, I jumped at it. On a good night, I barely manage to remember to start the pasta on time. On a busy night, well, a tortilla with some cheese was becoming a staple.
I was sent 5 flavors to try.
- Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce
- Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara Sauce
- Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce
- Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce
- Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce
I was pretty excited that I could read all of the ingredients and there were no preservatives. Each package is a serving, with 320 calories and between 9 and 11 grams of protein. So, ok, they sounded good, but how did they taste?
I put them to a serious test: I fed them to two picky boys (Beer Geek pretty much eats whatever I feed him.)
Success! My boys won’t eat tomato sauce, so I used split two packages between the four of us. I loved the Spicy Marinara sauce over my stuffed chicken breast and the boys loved the Mezze Penne with cheese on it.
Unfortunately, the whole grain versions did not go over well. This really surprised me as most of the time I cook whole wheat noodles. Jones complained that the noodles were too chewy and Shoo just didn’t really like the taste. I thought they were fine and I like the Vegetable Marinara sauce. Beer Geek was quite happy with his combined with grilled sausages.
What I liked:
- How quick they can be prepared
- The flavor of the sauces
- That my boys liked the regular noodles
- That they are shelf stable
What I didn’t like:
- That the boys were not fond of the whole grain
- Microwaving in plastic (I NEVER do this.)
- The mess I made when I didn’t follow the directions exactly
Would I buy them? Yes. Not for all the time consumption, but I do keep a few “ready to go” meals in the freezer and the pantry for those times when a busy night sneaks up on me. I’m just bummed that my favorite sauce came with a pasta my boys didn’t like. Hmm, maybe they should come out with “Mix and Match”…
Disclaimer: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.