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Posts Tagged ‘Heat and Eat’

Circle A Ranch Country Fried Beef

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Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef ReviewI’ve written a whole lot about  the products from Cincinnati-based Advance Pierre, the premiere “heat and eat” and “gas station sandwich” maker in the U.S.  Often, besides in vending and C-stores, you’ll find their frozen products at dollar stores.

You know how much I love chicken fried steak?  I’ve tried it all over the country, both from restaurants and the heat and eat varieties.

This product was made in the plant pictured below, and is comprised of beef, mechanically separated turkey, and, not kidding, about 150 other ingredients.  Nuke of 90 seconds, stir “gravy,” nuke another 30, let sit for 30, and then “enjoy.”

Now ordinarily, I’d put this product in the category of “I tried so you don’t have to.”  But I didn’t really “try” it.  I had one bite and it was so awful, I couldn’t go on.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef Review

Frozen, pre microwaving

Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef Review

After microwaving

Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef Review

Advance Pierre Plant, Amherst, Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circle A Ranch Country Fried Beef

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Better Bakery Ham and Cheese Pretzel Melt

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Better Bakery Ham and Cheese PretzelNew 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.

Better Bakery Ham and Cheese Pretzel

Wrap in foil prior to oven

Better Bakery Ham and Cheese Pretzel

Out of the oven, crispy, melty

Better Bakery Ham and Cheese Pretzel

Valencia, CA HQ

 

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Iltaco Pizza Puff Review

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Iltaco Pizza Puff ReviewA family-owned Chicago food manufacturer founded in 1927, Iltaco (originally Illinois Tamale Company) makes frozen snack foods for retail, food service, and c-stores.  They have two frozen pizza labels, “Big,” and “Bella,” sell frozen tamales and burritos, but probably their biggest presence is in the niche category of “Pizza Puffs ™.”

A pizza puff is savory ingredients surrounded by a soft flour tortilla and baked til ready to eat.  Flavors include:  gyro, pulled pork, buffalo chicken, reuben, original, pepperoni, taco, deluxe,ham & cheese, 4 cheese, and beef.

The products are manufactured at Iltaco’s plant on Hubbard, about a mile west of the Loop (pictured below).  Frozen puffs can be baked, microwaved, or deep-fried.   I went with the bake method, the results shown below. (20 minutes, 425).  I like these.  The crust is flaky/crispy, the sauce and cheese flavors are very pleasant, as is the pepperoni.  I think the cost was less than $1.50.  Be good to have some in the freezer to ease a sudden pizza craving.

Good for an after school snack, too.

Obviously these guys were way ahead of the “Hot Pockets” people, which didn’t hit the grocery stores until the mid 1980s.

Iltaco Pizza Puff Review

Frozen, from Packaging

Iltaco Pizza Puff Review

Hot from the Oven

Iltaco Pizza Puff Review

Sauce, cheese, meat!

Iltaco Pizza Puff Review

Chicago Factory

 

 

 

Iltaco Pizza Puff Review

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Klements Polish Sausage Review

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Klements Polish Sausage ReviewOne of Milwaukee’s largest and oldest sausage companies, Klement’s is often my ‘go-to’ purveyor when I’m looking for processed meats.  When I’m not in their distribution area, I even order care packages online.  The company has a wide variety of fresh and cooked sausages, as well as deli and sandwich meats.   I am fond of their summer sausage, corned beef, cocktail sausages,  and liver sausage.

Today I’m cooking up some of their Polish for breakfast. This is a natural casing sausage (YAY), and the company website lists the following ingredients: Pork, water, Beef, Salt, Contains less than 2% of Flavorings, Corn Syrup, Potassium Lactate, Isolated Oat Product, Dextrose,
Sodium Phosphate, Paprika, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, and Sodium Nitrite.

I’m not one of those consumers that gets all bent out of shape about certain ingredients, too late in my life cycle to worry about any of the alledged effects at this point in time.

Anyway, these are great, for  a breakfast side, or any meal,  on a bun, or on the grill.  I’d be careful on the grill to watch the direct heat, if the casings split, you’re gonna lose a lot of flavor.  My preferred method is to simmer in a cast-iron skillet until the water is gone, and then put a slight char on the sausages.

Perfection.

These beauties come out of the Klement’s plant at 207 E Lincoln Ave in Milwaukee, according to the USDA establishment number on the package.

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Klement’s Polish Sausage

 

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Factory – Aerial View

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Milwaukee Factory

 

 

Klements Polish Sausage Review

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Advance Pierre Pretzel Cheeseburger Review

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Advance Pierre Pretzel Cheeseburger ReviewEvery time I think I have covered every single availability in the ‘heat and eat’ burger category, I run across a new one.  This week it’s the “Pretzel Cheeseburger” from Advance Pierre, arguably the largest manufacturer of heat and eat burgers, and I’ve tried a gaggle of them. While the Ohio company puts out a lot of product under its own brand names – to C stores, vending, institutions, it is also a contract manufacturer and makes products for others, like the new Steak N Shake frozen burgers.

Whereas many of these type of sandwiches call for nuking in their cello wrapper, this one reverts to the way that White Castle used to tout, namely remove wrapper, wrap in paper towel, heat 90 seconds, let sit 90 seconds.

Like many of the beef products in this category, the Advance Pierre patty has the smell and taste of the artificial smoke flavoring, added to simulate ‘grilled flavor.’ The meat patty also has corn starch and corn syrup solids added.

Curiously, even though this was at WalMart, it was priced quite a big higher than the company’s similar offerings at dollar stores and other outlets. The most I have ever paid for an Advance Pierre burger is nearly $3.00, tho, maybe more, for their C-store “Big AZ” burger.

The Pretzel Cheeseburger is relatively OK, tho the bun heated unevenly, as often happens with products in this segment.  My hack solution has always been to heat the burger patty and bun separately, but the first time, I always follow the instructions. The pretzel bun was soft in places and unchewably hard in other.  I don’t know what that happens. (Oh, go ahead, blame it on my microwave).  (But props for jumping on the pretzel bun fad).

Would I buy this again, hunt it out?  No, not when there is comparable product available for substantially less money.

For other heat and eat burgers I have tried, check out   Fred Meyer Frozen Mini Cheeseburgers, Private Selection Angus Beef Patties, and Trader Joes Kobe Style, White Castle,  to the convenience store types like Big A Angus Charbroil, the 7-Eleven Cheeseburger, Fatburger, Walgreens,  AM/PM Mini Marts, and Ball Park, to mention a few.

I think my favorite is Ball Park, but they are awfully spendy.

Advance Pierre Pretzel Cheeseburger Review

Advance Pierre Pretzel Cheeseburger Review

 

 

 

 

Advance Pierre Pretzel Cheeseburger Review

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Advance Pierre Sausage and Cheese Biscuit

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Dollar Tree Breakfast BiscuitContinuing in a series of economical foods, the Advance Pierre Sausage and Cheese Biscuit can be yours for a buck from Dollar Tree and other outlets. I’ve written about Advance Pierre quite a bit, they are the largest supplier of prepared sandwiches to c-stores, vending,  the military, schools and institutional users. They now offer fresh sandwiches as well, through the acquisition of Landshire Foods.

My introduction to them since I started building this site was about five years ago, via their “Big Az” Angus Charbroil, which I found stuck in the freezer section of my neighborhood c/liquor store.

“Fast Bites” is not listed as one of their brand names on their own website, so I am guessing it is the name they have developed that applies solely to their products at Dollar Tree – burgers, chicken, sliders – even their dollar “fishwich” is respectable, certainly as good as any of the fast food ones.

I rarely….ok…never get a breakfast sausage product at fast food places, just don’t care for it.  Much prefer any bacon / egg concoction, with my preferred still being the ‘toaster’ at Sonic. Breakfast ‘stuff’ between two slices of Texas toast.   Recently had a BK bacon egg biscuit, and even that seemed a step up from McDonalds. Of course, if you’re in the hunt for the best fast food biscuit, you won’t be disappointed by Hardee’s or Bojangles (the latter being the only fast food chain in America that serves a slice of REAL ham!). (Sadly, you’ll only find Bojangles in 12 eastern states).

So, back to the dollar store biscuit, 90 seconds in the microwave in the plastic wrap (vent one end), let sit a minute before consuming, and consume.

OK, odd, didn’t notice until I removed from the package that this sandwich doesn’t have egg.  Taste/texture?  Sausage doesn’t really taste like anything, but the melted processed American cheese-food substance rings true.  The biscuit, microwaved in its little steam bath plastic chamber, is anything but flaky….gummy would be a better word.  I thought maybe when it went through the one minute post cooking holding pattern, it would crisp up, as some microwave foods do, but no such luck here.  I’m always astonished that microwave foods have been around for more than half a century and nobody has figured out “crisp” yet.  What’s the deal?

Finally, if you come anywhere near following the government’s guideline for healthy eating, you’ll want to pass on this at 500 calories, 43 carbs, and 27 grams of fat.  The sausage patty contains corn syrup solids, protein concentrate and caramel color.

I’m gonna keep buying the Dollar Tree’s other sandwiches, but this one won’t be on my list.

Dollar Tree Breakfast Biscuit Review

Sausage and Cheese Biscuit

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Larry the Cable Guy Biscuits and Gravy Review

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Larry Cable Guy Biscuits Gravy ReviewI like sausage gravy.  I’m not terribly fond of biscuits, but will have them on occasion, seldom if ever, make them at home.  I’ve tried a mess o’ prepared gravies, canned, powdered, frozen, including Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage Gravy.  Most of the frozen brands (these, Jimmy Dean, Bob Evans) sell for slightly more than a buck.

Today I stumbled across “Larry the Cable Guy’s” version, which was, in fact, at the Dollar Tree, and unlike the other brands, is complete, in that it comes with biscuits.  It’s a heat and eat microwavable product, and the instructions follow the same rules as many of these types of eats, meaning heat, stir, heat, let sit.

I did all that. The finished product is pictured below, plated (I added the pepper). Verdict?  Really not all that bad, unless you are on a restricted diet (it has a gaggle of sodium and carbs).  Downside?  A couple.  Uneven heating even with a carousel microwave meant that one biscuit was soft and ‘flaky’ and the other was hard as a rock and couldn’t be cut even with a steak knife.

Also, if you shopping for very inexpensive foods, be prepared for the manufacturer to have made some sacrifice in the process, and one of the drawbacks of Larry’s Biscuits and Gravy is the packaging is very flimsy, and if you’re not careful, may result in spillage or burns.  I would suggest you put the whole package on a plate before heating.

For some (unknown to me) reason, most of Larry’s products are manufactured by contract companies in Minnesota.  The gravy is made by the company formerly known as Jeno’s, from Duluth (pizza rolls, Michelinas).

Now I see Bob Evan’s has a sausage dispenser for C stores (pictured up top). That’s what I need for MY kitchen!

Larry Cable Guy Biscuits Gravy Review

Larry Cable Guy Biscuits Gravy Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

larry the cable guy biscuits and gravy Review

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Imperial Garden Lobster Egg Roll Review

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I was never much for places like dollar stores, Goodwill, or thrift shops, but they were regular stops for the late Mrs. BurgerDogBoy, having come from a disadvantaged background.

But after awhile, I kinda got into dollar stores, as there were some kitchen staples there that it was hard to find better prices on elsewhere, namely spices, herbs, and chicken stock.  For me, tomato juice was also a thing.

I like to cruise their foods section looking for new or never seen before (by me) products, and I’ve previously reviewed some of their heat and eat things like burgers and fish sandwiches.  I even like their empanadas, they call them “meat pies”.

So when I saw lobster “sliders” (still in the freezer here) and lobster egg rolls, I had to give them a shot.

The egg rolls are sold under the “Imperial Garden” label, and are made and distributed by a company in Houston, JYC International; apparently the company also has a thing about the edamame segment.

The eggroll weighs in at 5 ounces, and the list of ingredients is seemingly endless, but number one is cabbage, and number two is lobster. Number three? That fake crab stuff. Of course the flavor and texture of the cabbage is the predominant one.

You can microwave or conventionally bake these frozen treats, I always up for the latter, and it took about 24 minutes.  I let them set a minute or two, sliced  and served with sweet/sour sauce and hot mustard.  The wrapper was nice and crispy from the oven bake, I doubt it would be in the microwave.

It’s as good as any egg roll you’ll get at most Chinese restaurants in the US, not as good as if you made your own.

I’d buy them again.

Imperial Garden Eggroll Review

 

 

Imperial Garden Lobster Egg Roll Review

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Hello Fresh Review, Part 2

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The other day I wrote about popping my cherry with home meal delivery service, HelloFresh.  I had received a pack of three meals (for two persons), a salmon meal, which I reviewed, chicken with orange glob, and peppercorn steak.  I made the chicken but won’t bother to review it, despite following the recipe to the ‘t’, the orange flavor wasn’t really present, and the chicken was kind of rubbery.  I didn’t spend enough time with the packaging, but it sure had the texture of being one of those “may contain a solution…” products.  Those proteins are beyond my palate.  The raw fennel/lettuce/orange salad (with white wine vinegar and EVOO) was good, but I have made that many times in the past.

The peppercorn steak?  A piece of beef, a sauce made from shallots, stock, water, pepper and sour cream, roasted potatoes,  and creamed spinach, also with sour cream. Spinach was great, sauce was easy, but I personally think a whole shallot in less than a half cup of sauce is going to be a rather strong flavor hit for most people.

Potatoes are fine, but oven roasted potatoes are something else I frequently make at home.  I added some diced garlic prior to baking, as that’s the way I like them.

The recipe called for pan frying the steak for four minutes a side, which I did, and produced a steak in the rare category.  This is a very lean piece of meat, and those who insist that beef flavor comes from fat may be disappointed.  I was disappointed that there were a couple of streaks of gristle.

The steak is a step up from say, Omaha Steaks or Schwans, and a step down from your local (the real kind, not the grocery one) butcher.  Overall, it is a pretty well-balanced meal, and my favorite of the three I received.

I won’t be joining their plan, at about $11.50 a plate, I think I can do better at the grocery, and since with these “kits” one has to prepare and cook the ingredients, there is really no benefit for me.

Also?  I think it would be better if the recipe cards were larger, with each step illustrated by photos, and a larger font.  That’s all.

Hello Fresh Review

Beef before cooking

Hello Fresh Review

Sauteed Spinach with Sour Cream

Hello Fresh Review

Plated Meal

Hello Fresh Review
Hello Fresh Review

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Trader Joes Mahi Mahi Burger

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220px-Coryphaena_hippurusMahi Mahi?  Isn’t that dolphin?  No, but you sure hear that from a lot of people.  The common name (Mahi Mahi is Hawaiian) is dolphinfish (one word), and like so many things in the English language, similar words cause confusion.  This fish is no relation to Flipper.  It is also known widely as Dorado.

The fish are found in warm off-shore waters, can live to be five years old, grow to twenty pound and can be very colorful. (Picture left).

Trader Joes sells a pack of four Mahi Mahi burgers in their frozen aisle, and they can be done on the grill, pan fried, or baked.  I opted for the skillet, 4-5 minutes each side say the instructions.

The ingredients are very straightforward, mostly the fish, with a little oil, spices, canola oil.

It’s attractive in appearance for a ‘fish-burger’, tho not right out of the box.

I dressed mine with White Castle tartar sauce and Vlasic Dill Pickle Chips, with a pinch of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (I put it on most things, in fact).  Delicious.

These are easy to fix, low in cals, fats, and carbs.  A good alternative to beef patties for your kids, let them decorate it the way they want.

Trader Joes Mahi Mahi Burger Review

 

Trader Joes Mahi Mahi Burger Review

Uncooked, from box

Trader Joes Mahi Mahi Burger Review

Cooked in a skillet

 

Trader Joes Mahi Mahi Burger

 

 

 

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