Name: Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets
Package Description: Breaded Nugget Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat
Brand: Live G Free
Price point: $4.99
Why I picked it up: It was the first time I saw GF chicken nuggets on the shelf for less than $6.00 a package.
Summary of Preparation: Cook in microwave for 50-60 seconds, more time as needed.
Initial impression: They are tiny.
Lasting impression: They are tiny. Seriously, a little bigger than a quarter, about a half-inch thick. Calling it a “patty” is being very generous. Maybe they are cut from chicken patties, but these are like chicken “bites.” The breading is decently seasoned (they claim paprika and tumeric specifically), and the chicken inside tastes like minced chicken from your typical fast food place.
Recommended Accompaniments: I eat mine with Chick-fil-a Honey Roasted BBQ sauce or Marie’s Blue Cheese salad dressing. It works as a small snack or you can prepare ten of them as a main dish with a salad/veggie/fruit combo.
Kid friendly: Not mine, but maybe yours? The kids like their regular Chicken McNuggets or CFA grilled nuggets but refuse to eat these Aldi ones in any quantity. If I slice it in half, they will try a bite, but I think that’s more of a courtesy than because they want any…
Repurchase point: Yes. I’ve bought three bags in the last month, but remember I’m also pregnant and need the protein.
Name: Macaroni and Cheese
Package Description: Gluten free corn pasta in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce microwave meal.
Brand: Live G Free
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.
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.
In this blog review, I learned how to properly spell “mozzarella,” hooray for learning new things!
Name: Mozzarella Sticks
Package Description: Gluten Free, all natural, breaded strips of creamy mozzarella.
Brand: Health is Wealth
Grocer: Food City
Price point: $6.23, but $4.40 on close-out special.
Why I picked it up: It was finally marked down, I figured I could take a chance. Especially since it was being removed from inventory–I might not get another chance.
Summary of Preparation: Bake in oven for 8 minutes, turning once.
Initial impression: Wow, that has some taste! I’m impressed!
Lasting impression: Wow, these are very tasty! I haven’t had a mozzarella stick in about 4 months now, and I am so very glad I picked them up! The breading gets crunchy if you let it cool a little bit. I tried mine while it was still hot, and the breading was a little mushy for my first stick. The mozzarella is very tasty. And there is a short lingering aftertaste of oregano that is quite pleasant. I was very pleased with the quality of the product.
Let’s talk about serving size first. Yes, they are shorter than your typical mozzarella stick. They are also a little wider, so it evens out if you are comparing them to others. There were 15 in the box, though I was expecting only 12 due to the Nutritional Facts label. That is a good thing–more servings for later! Yay for extra food.
A point of contention: there is a photo of marinara dipping sauce on the front of the package, but it is NOT included in the box. Supply your own marinara if you desire it, but the sticks are so tasty, you might not want any.
Recommended Accompaniments: This is an appetizer, so stick them in while you are making the other aspects of your meal and you can nosh on them while making the main course. Yum!
Kid friendly: No idea. I didn’t want to share!
Repurchase point: Yes, if you can get them on sale. $6.50 for a package of 15 sticks works out to a per unit price of $0.44 each, which really hurts. It’s cheaper than a restaurant’s wheat-battered editions, yes, but still makes me cringe to spend that much on a frivolity.
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.
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.