Frozen Food Test: Trader Joe’s “Reduced Guilt” Baked Ziti

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: frozen, review | Tags: , , , , |

It’s been quite some time since I’ve conducted a Frozen Food Test. I suppose that sometimes a bright idea falls by the wayside in the midst of trying to complete graduate school. Well, as Thesis Madness comes to a head, I figured it would be an opportune time to test a convenience food–hopefully the result would be a palatable and nutritious meal. Trader Joe’s has had a pretty solid track record in my previous tests, so off I went to try their baked ziti.

PROS:

  • The pasta has a surprisingly enjoyable texture; good mouthfeel, and cooked al dente. I was surprised a frozen pasta could reheat so nicely.
  • Chemical free–all of the ingredients listed were actual food!
  • Only 320 calories. 12g protein.

CONS:

  • Almost no cheese. What’s the point of baked ziti if there is no cheese? Also, if you microwave it, the cheese doesn’t get toasty. Fail.
  • Small serving size. This is more of a snack or side dish than a meal.
  • High in sodium.
  • Not an immense time saver if you cook it in the oven.

OVERALL:

This was OK. It wasn’t terrible for a microwaved side dish, but serving it as a side means I     have to either cook or reheat something else, so I doubt it would save a ton of time (I had mine with leftover grilled chicken). The flavor is decent, but it pales in comparison to my own baked ziti (that’s a link to me cooking the ziti–check it out!). Would I have it again? Doubtful, only because it’s a sin to call something “baked ziti” and not have a layer of golden, melty cheese on top. It’s a good thing cooking is my favorite form of procrastinating.

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