Saturday, April 30, 2011

Critique: Banquet’s Chicken Pasta Marinara

OK, maybe critique is too big a word for me to be using. A critique actually refers to an article that criticizes something, as in fault finding and that’s not always the case with the way I write my ‘critiques’. Why I remember only a few weeks back where I actually gave a TV dinner pretty good marks! I think that was the Charbroiled Patty Meal. It got a six rating. Not very stellar, I’ll admit, but still better than most of the other meals I’ve tried from the folks at Banquet. My principal objection to these ‘dollar meals’ is their salt content. Most, if not all, are very high in sodium (as much as 20-30% of a person’s recommended daily requirements). The manufacturer’s use salt to make up for lack of taste in almost all cases. (So, you might say that the folks at facilities like ConAgra lack very much taste)!

That said, what about this one? Well, you do get 280 calories for your money which is not bad. Then, things go downhill a bit with a high fat content of 14 grams and a sodium reading of 550 milligrams (23% of the recommended daily allowance). So not good, not bad, just so so.

The other nice thing about these meals are how easy the preparation is assuming you have a microwave, of course. Just a couple minutes on high, a quick stir and then another minute on high to eliminate any cold spots. Voila, you’re ready to chow down on yet another meal that didn't cost very much and it quick to make!

First, as to quantity. This meal went down very fast, so it’s definitely not of the ‘Hungry Man’ lineage.  Just a couple of mouthfuls and it was time to zip up your fly and say goodbye. In the area of taste, I noticed that the chicken portion was breaded (disguised?) and just a teensy bit mushy-ushy texture-wise, while the pasta in contrast was actually quite good. (The marinara sauce helped out big time). Overall then, a good meal to dig into if you’ve been working late, doing chores or looking for ways to get rid of pesky relatives (just kidding). I gave this deal a stripped down 6 on a scale of 10. As in the earlier Charbroiled Patty rating, this is a meal that works for those times when speed is of the essence.

In closing, I do wish I could figure out what to do with the plastic tray when you get done eating. I hate throwing them out, but have never figured out a use for one after it has fulfilled its primary function. Any suggestions out there?

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