Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: Atkins Italian-Style Pasta Bake

I've touched on several Atkins products on the blog before and that includes nutrition bars, drinks and also frozen foods.  Today, I'll be dabbling once again in frozen food territory as I was able to pick up this Atkins Italian-Style Pasta Bake at Kroger for $3.99 (I had a coupon to knock that price down to $2.99 thankfully).  This one came in at a solid 9.0 ounces and had 360 calories with a pounding 33 grams of protein.

I could describe this myself obviously, but I'll let Atkins do all the heavy lifting for me with this description from their blog: "Custom Italian sausage and premium beef with penne pasta, classic tomato sauce and topped with Mozzarella Cheese."  There are just so many interesting things about that description that I'm not sure where to start.  First of all, what the heck is custom Italian sausage?  I'm not sure I'll ever know.  Also, if by classic tomato sauce, they mean runny tomato sauce, then yes, that is an accurate description.  As for everything else, I can confirm there was mozzarella cheese, penne pasta and also some unmentioned ingredients such as garlic, "spices" (based on the smell, I'd identify those as oregano or garlic), mushrooms and chunks of tomatoes (technically those could be part of the sauce, I suppose).

So with a slightly less than appealing curb appeal to this one, I took my first spoonful and all I could really think was "blah."  It had semi-decent Italian flavor from the spices within the sauce and the sausage (it did have some kick), but it was just incredibly boring.  Combine that with the fact that the texture of the meats and pasta was chewy and the sauce was runny and this was an interesting product and I don't really mean that in a good way.  The only thing this really had going for it was that the mozzarella cheese melted in such a way that it made it kind of gooey, which was a nice contrast to the runny characteristics of the sauce and the chewy characteristics of the pasta and meat.  Outside of those very brief observances, I'm not sure there's much to add to this because it was just so boring.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Boring is not typically a word that garners a positive review, so I'll give this a FLY BY IT rating in its intended state.  Now, if you doctor this up with some additional spices, this might work.  But, since I need to review things in their intended state, I'm kind of stuck with my boring review and at this price, I don't think it's really worth it to buy something that you have to completely to doctor to make interesting.


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