Quickly Gluten Free

A blog about convenience foods that are gluten free

Category: Sides

Side dishes

Macaroni and Cheese

mac and cheese

Name: Macaroni and Cheese

Package Description: Gluten free corn pasta in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce microwave meal.

Brand: Live G Free

Grocer: Aldi

Price point: $0.99

Why I picked it up: Had to see if this freezer meal lived up to its’ cousin in the stovetop preparation method.

Summary of Preparation: Microwave the tray for 3:30, stir, sit for 2 minutes.

pre-microwavestirred food

Initial impression: Seasoned well, but chalky texture in the sauce.

Lasting impression: Let’s talk prep first. I’ve not seen such a quickly microwaved entree since I had Michelina’s brands of similar foods. I think that the timing method is fine and gets the job done. My husband said the pasta was a little chewy, but I think he was expecting rice pasta instead of corn (corn is denser of the two in my experience). And I was very pleased to see that there was real shredded cheddar on the top of the meal, right out of the box.

The seasoning for the entree is very good. Not too much salt, and it is creamy to a certain degree. There is an underlying texture problem with the cheese sauce. It seemed a little chalky throughout the meal. I’m not sure if it is the cheese sauce alone, or the combination of the sauce and the shredded cheese that just doesn’t work for me.

Recommended Accompaniments: I ate this as a side with chili and tortilla chips.

Kid friendly: Nope. Both my 3.5 year old and my 2 year old turned their nose up at it on first glance and refused to even taste it. Which is weird–they LOVE mac and cheese.

Repurchase point: Nope. Texture is not what I was hoping for.

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Deluxe Rice Shells and Cheese (and Rice Pasta and Cheese)

It’s a double post! Two for the price of one today, Happy Fourth of July!

Deluxe Rice Shells and CheeseMac and cheese

Name: Deluxe Rice Shells & Cheese / Deluxe Rice Pasta & Cheese

Package Description: Whole grain brown rice shells (White & brown rice pasta) with a creamy real cheddar cheese sauce

Brand: live G free

Grocer: Aldi (www.aldi.us)

Price point: $1.29 on sale, $1.99 regular price.

Why I picked it up: Looking for a stovetop Mac and Cheese option, I was astonished to see a GF option at this price point. I wanted to see if it lived up to a taste test.

Summary of Preparation: Similar to others–boil water, add mac, cook for 12 minutes (see below), then drain and add contents of cheese sauce packet.

Shells: Prepared dish

 

Pasta: rice pastaimageimage

Initial impression: Has a mild cheese taste.

Lasting impression: First, just a note about preparation. Be sure that you boil the shells (and the pasta noodle version) for the full 12 minutes. You could even turn off the eye and go to 13 or 14 minutes if you are busy at the sink or something. I tried doing the 10 minutes the first time, and they were chewy. I didn’t want to overook the noodles, but these things are a little thicker than other rice noodles you can get in bulk.

Second, you will love the taste of the sauce. On repeated bites, I found that it was sufficiently cheesy to satisfy my craving for store-brand cheesy mac that I used to get for $1.79/box. Sure, there are other brands (Annie’s comes to mind at $1.99/box at Target) that do a great job, but this selection will not break your grocery budget upon repeated purchase. So, if you have gluten-sensitive kids under the age of 8 or are pregnant… this selection at Aldi will help you stick to your budget. Especially if you get it on a flash sale.

Recommended Accompaniments: I most recently used this as a side dish with dinner of fish sticks and tater tots. We also served salad.

Kid friendly: Yes. If your kids already like shells and cheese from the regular box, then they will like this. Mine ask for seconds all the time.

Repurchase point: Budget-friendly and tasty. Absolutely yes with no reservations.

Shells: life G Free Deluxe Mac and Cheese (back)

Pasta: image

 

 

Rice Mac and Cheese

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Name: Rice Mac and Cheese

Package Description: Tender gluten free rice noodles in a rich and creamy cheddar cheese sauce

Brand: Full Circle

Grocer: Food City

Price point: $2.50 on sale, $3.99 regular price.

Why I picked it up: I have tried other GF options under this label, and I liked them well enough. I figured that this would be an acceptable staple to add to my repertoire of quick lunch meals.

Summary of Preparation: Microwave for 5 minutes, stir, then microwave another minute.

Rice Mac and Cheese

Initial impression: Wow, that is creamy and bland.

Lasting impression: It’s not so bad if you are looking for something that is simply going to fill you up. However, at 640mg of sodium per box serving, I have no idea how it tastes so bland. Where is the salt hiding? I don’t get it. The texture is nice, and the serving size is fine for one person to eat as a main dish for a meal.

Recommended Accompaniments: A vegetable and a fruit would go nicely with it to round out your meal.

Kid friendly: Nope. I shared a portion with my four-year-old for a quick snack. She apparently didn’t like it very much because she only ate about two bites then found another activity. She should have gobbled it down–she loves mac and cheese.

Repurchase point: Yes, for people that just need bland food every once in awhile. And only if it is on sale.

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