Archive for the ‘Heat and Eat’ Category
Used to be if you wanted to take advantage of a “home meal delivery” service, the companies that were available in the genre were focused on weight loss; or you could try and put together your own plan with a company like Schwans.
But lately we been presented with a gaggle of choices from different companies, catering to all types of diets and tastes, as well as subscriptions that send portion control ingredients for you to cook at home, or fully prepared fresh “heat and eat” meals from companies like IONutrition. These guys are focused on fresh, organic, wholesome meals, and you can subscribe to a pure vegetable diet or one that includes animal protein.
They comped me some samples, and first off I went for the Butternut Portobello French Lentils with Salmon, which is ready to go after only two minutes in the microwave.
The ingredients are so straightforward it’s a breath of fresh air: Salmon, lentils, onion, carrots, mushroom, sweet potato, squash, eggplant
almond, tumeric, cumin, parsley, garlic, sea salt, filtered water. What, seriously? None of those ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are? Wow. Outstanding, folks.
Another significant difference with IoNutrition is they don’t have freezers chock-a-block full of frozen meals; they prepare your order right when you place it, and ship it out in a gently refrigerated box.
Watching calories, carbs or fats? You’ll dig this nutritional information. 15 ounce serving = 537 calories, fat 2, carbs 55, fiber 16, protein 46. Meals are gluten and dairy free,organically sources elements. Eat them at home or amp up your daily office lunch.
The big question? How was it? Fantastic. Seriously. As good or better than anything I could fix at home, and possibly the best salmon I’ve had in years. Additionally, the creative blending of spices and flavors in the sides is a real nice change.
If I haven’t given you enough reasons to try them out, know that IONutrition is a ’caused-based’ business and supports several charity partners.
Ionutrition Meal Home Delivery Review
Seattle based Trident Seafood is America’s largest seafood processor, with plants across the lower 48 and Alaska. They create seafood offerings for the retail and commercial markets. Consumer products are available under eight different brand names. I picked up Trident brand’s “Alaska Fish & Chips” a heat and eat product of fried pollock and french fries.
This is an oven baked product, about 20 minutes at 450. Usually my “complaint” if I have one, is failure of the fried food to get crispy, but such is not the case with this product.
The fish and fries come packaged separately (not sure why there is a difference in color of the cello), but can be baked together, same pan, same amount of time. At my store, this was on sale for a little over five bucks, and the package claims it feeds two. Four small fillets are included, along with an ample serving for the thick fries.
I am usually prepared to not like “heat and eat” fish, because budget fish sticks were regularly in appearance at my mother’s dinner table. Along with mayo with chopped chives for a ‘tartar’ sauce. They weren’t very enjoyable.
Fortunately, there is nothing about Trident’s Fish & Chips that reminds me of those old fish sticks. This is great. Fish and fries are crispy, with great flavor. Easy to fix, and at full retail, about $3,00 per plate, which is a bargain these days. There are other varieties, as well.
Trident and their sister brands are available in grocers about everywhere, and some of their products are available at their own online store.
Trident Fish & Chips Review
I keep hoping that a single one of these restaurant branded foods you find in the grocery is worth buying a second time; unfortunately, in my opinion, that hasn’t happened. This is my second Red Robin product, I tried their fries previously, which didn’t wow me. They are an extruded potato product, something I am never crazy about.
The rings called for baking at 400 for 20 minutes with a flip mid stream. I pulled them out and they weren’t crispy at all, but “crisped up” as the time passed that they were removed from the oven. Downside? By the time they are crisp, they are cold.
For my personal palate, these had not enough onion compared to the breading. I’m ok with substantial breading, as long as their is substantial onion within! At least they are better than those frozen rings that use onion bits. But they are also “seasoned,” something I don’t care for. Their frozen fries were seasoned “hot,” and these have some kind of seasoned salt.
All in all, it was a valiant experiment on my part, but I wouldn’t buy them again. Like any product I write about, you may find them ideal.
Red Robin Frozen Onion Rings Review
Bagel Bites were invented by Stanley Garczynski and Bob Mosher of Florida, and sold out to a larger food company early on. Today they are in the hands of Ore-Ida (Heinz), not sure why, the company doesn’t have any similar products.
They aren’t even mentioned on Ore-Ida’s main website, but have their own home, where you can read all about the different varieties that are offered.
I haven’t tried these for a couple of decades, my recollection is that they used to be a slightly better pizza snack choice than Jenos/Totinos pizza rolls, which to me, never tasted like anything, let alone pizza.
Verdict? Well, I’m not going to try pizza rolls to compare, but these are OK, really not much flavor, can bake in the oven or microwave. Would I buy these regularly? Nah. And way too many ingredients listed for a product this simple.
Bagel Bites Review
I’ve written in the past the story of Kwik Trip and how I became acquainted with them about 40 years ago when they were just starting out. And I’ve written about competitor Casey’s General Store take and eat pizza slices, as well as when 7-Eleven launched into the segment a few year back.
Nobody but nobody holds a candle to Kwik Trip’s assortment of ‘grab and go’ type foods, and they offer a wider variety and deeper selection in each category than any other c-store.
While I think very favorably of Casey’s pizza slices (re-sampled just a couple weeks ago), especially for their flavor and abundance of cheese, I have to say, munching on a Kwik Trip slice the other day, the latter won out, if not for flavor and toppings, then certainly for the crust, which is crispy and light. Casey’s is doughy and often tastes (but not objectionably) not done.
One of the very first radio commercials we did for Kwik Trip 40 years ago said something like “when you run out, run in, to Kwik Trip.” It couldn’t be more true today. Whether you’re in the mood for a hot dog, slice of pizza, pre-made sandwiches, a myriad of baked goods, or even several varieties of soup, Kwik Trip has something for you.
And pick up your weekly staples while you’re in the store. They are often the market leader in pricing bread, eggs, and milk.
Kwik Trip Pizza Review
Lunchables is a line of snack sized entrees from Oscar Mayer, a division of Kraft. Last week we tried out their French toast strips with bacon. I’m the one that has labeled this a “Frito Pie,” Lunchables calls it a “walking taco.” They don’t use the word “Frito” because that is a registered trademark of the Frito-Lay company, of course.
But in many parts of the country, the word “Frito” has become a generic type term for corn chips, much like Kleenix has for tissue. Thus you’ll see this type of thing called a “Frito Pie” in many parts of the country. Whew, what a long winded explanation.
The origin of the Frito Pie seems to be the subject of some dispute, but most agree it started showing up in the early 1960s, and is most popular in the SW, Midwest, and Deep South, tho “walking taco” seems to be a distinctly Midwest moniker. (Where it probably isn’t ‘walking’ at all, but most likely shows up as a casserole at church pot luck suppers).
In it’s convenience store form, a consumer purchases a bag of corn chips, heads to the hot dog condiment station, ladles on chili and cheese, and eats the snack from the bag with a spork. Another variation is adding pickled pig parts (feet or lips) to the mix.
Lunchables version comes with packets of corn chips, meat, Kraft cheese blend, and chili sauce. Dump the latter three into the corn chip bag, microwave for 15 seconds, and spork you, instant snack!
I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. The snack clocks in at 300 calories (half from fat), and the ‘meat’ has a nice traditional flavor and texture (despite having ground beef as the last ingredient on a long line of ingredients), and the chili sauce was reminiscent of Taco Bell mild.
These are inexpensive, and something kids are sure to like, if you think that the nutrition statement is OK for your family.
Lunchables Frito Pie Review
Well this is a curious thing, spotted at WalMart for about a buck. “Lunchables” are “complete” meals to go, to eat heated or at room temperature, and were introduced in 1988 by Oscar Mayer, now part of Kraft.
They were created by a team at Oscar Mayer as a way to sell more bologna, and the first units were comprised of lunch meat, cheese slices and crackers.
Now there is a plethora of choices, including the original styles, pizza slices, diminutive hot dogs, burgers, and subs, and even tacos.
I admit to not being a regular customer, but I impulse bought this one, through it in the microwave for seconds and consumed. I admit it has good flavor, the bacon is great, as is the syrup. The waffles get kinda limp in the microwave tho, I should have tried one at room temp.
Would I buy it again? Probably not, but they’re great things for a family on the go, as long as you watch the nutrition labels. According to the package code, this product is made at South’s Finest Meats 3201 10th Avenue, Suite S, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review
But major league baseball lost its appeal some years ago, and now I limit my attendance to minor league games, the A, AA, and AAA affiliates of the ‘bigs,” and even more than that, I enjoy going to minor league professional games that are made up of independent teams – those leagues not affiliated with an majors.
For one reason, and one reason only. These guys, mostly “kids,” play almost solely for “the love of the game.” An infinitesimal amount of them ever get noticed by the majors, and most get paid about $600 a month. The particular league I am following the salary cap FOR THE ENTIRE TEAM is $75,000 a year. Wow.
There are guys in the majors that make that, and more, per GAME.
Also in this league, the players can be no older than 26, 1/3 of the roster is permitted to have 2 or more years of experience, 1/3 of the roster can have 1 year experience, and 1/3 of the roster has to be rookies. Most players come from the ranks of undrafted college players, or guys that did get a major league call and didn’t last a season.
In other words, these guys are playing their hearts out, not for money, not for fame, but for love of the game. None that I have observed have ever been too busy to high five a kid in the stands, or autograph a ball or program.
The team owners, on the other hand, are there to make a profit, and try every conceivable method to bring in money, whether it’s the advertising on the outfield walls, video monitor, sponsorships on uniforms, renting out the stadium for other events. I’m pretty sure no one is getting rich owning these teams, whereas in the leagues affiliated with the majors, you’ll find very profitable enterprises, as the affiliated major league team pays most of the operating expenses of the minor league affiliates – travel, salaries, equipment and so on.
Since I generally write about food, I will here as well, and at most parks, you’ll find food and beverage prices to rival the majors, but with a more limited selection. Whereas the majors, the past few years, are all about dazzling culinary choices, at these small independent teams, you’ll find dogs, burgers, beer, peanuts, popcorn and the like.
At the ballpark I just attended, the burgers were from Glenmark, a Chicago manufacturer of IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) burger patties, so they weren’t very satisfactory. Add a couple of bucks to the price and you can have a ‘deluxe’ with fresh cut vegetables, which probably would have amped up the whole experience. I didn’t. The condiment table was kind of lacking, as well, and the mustard pump, didn’t.
Beer was around $7, a bottle of water $3.75.
It was “fake Jimmy Buffet” nite, so they had his music playing throughout the game and margaritas on sale.
Parking was free, and the most expensive game ticket (a couple rows up, first base line, was $10. The last time I priced a major league game, tickets were from $40 – $250. How do you take your young son at those prices?
But with the minors, you can go weekly, or more, if you’re so inclined.
Because you’re going “for the love of the game.”
The home team lost last night, but the real action came at the top of the 2nd, when the visitor’s coach had a fit and got ejected. That was exciting.
Minor League Baseball
Kim Harvey may well be the woman of my dreams – inventor, entrepreneur, kitchen magician, bakery brainiac, yard yoda – she has all the bases covered.
Ms Harvey reached out and asked me if I’d like to try out her “Microwave Magic” cookware – patented technology to cook burgers (and other foods) in your microwave in minutes.
With proprietary technology, the unit steams, vents and browns ground beef with less mess and hassle than your usual cooking methods.
That’s right, no spattering grease or clean up from a skillet, no pre-heating your outdoor BBQ just to use for a couple of minutes.
As the internet’s acknowledged “burger expert” (LOL), I admit I was skeptical. If you’re a regular reader, you know that even if I have a product that CAN be microwaved, I usually opt for the conventional oven method.
So the trial began. I took a pound of 85/15 chuck and divided it into four portions and pre-seasoned (Generally Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning). The utensil has three pieces – a collection tray, the burger tray, and cover. The burger tray has pinholes in the bottom of the wells to allow fat to drip through to the collection tray – and yes, that means a healthier burger, as well!
Since this is the first time I have used this tool, I experimented with time, and after six minutes in a 1000w microwave, I produced a perfect medium well burger. I was amazed, truly, starting to eat the burgers, that there was absolutely no taste or texture difference than if I had fried or grilled the burgers. In the pic, you’ll even notice the patty browning, generally associated with direct heat cooking!
Here’s the even better news. A minute in soapy water and the Microwave Magic cookware is clean and ready to go. No wiping the range top, no scraping the grill grates. Sweet.
Microwave Magic kitchen tools will soon be available at selected outlets everywhere including TV shopping channels; until then, get ’em here. Dishwasher safe, unbreakable, and made in the USA! Highly recommended.
Microwave Magic Cookware
New from Better Bakery, the Southern California specialty bread and pretzel manufacturer, is the Ham and Cheese Pretzel Melt, deli sliced ham, cheese within an enclosed pretzel roll. Oven or microwave prep is allowed, and I went with the former, 350 for 25 minutes, from a frozen solid state. It’s good, fast, and cheap. Salty pretzel roll, crispy exterior, and tasty fillings. I got mine at Wal Mart, amidst the frozen sandwich section, generally next to the pizzas. Highly recommended.
The USDA establishment number is M44128, which leads us to a Valencia, CA address. (pictured below).
Here is a little video the company had on YouTube.