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Posts Tagged ‘Heat and Eat’

Dutch Farms Frozen Cheeseburger Review

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box3I’ve tried a lot of these ‘heat and eat’ burgers, some full cooked, some raw that you have to cook. It’s a long list of these sandwiches that I have slogged through, 7-Eleven, Trader Joes, Fatburger, SteaknShake, Ball Park, Biz Az, of course White Castle, and so many others.

Today’s entry is from Dutch Farms, a frozen food manufacturer in Chicago, mostly focused on dairy and bakery goods, but they also make heat and eat meals.  Funny that I don’t ever recall seeing the brand before, but maybe they are huge in the private label business.

The frozen burger comes complete with cheese and bun, wrapped in cello, the instructions tell you to open one end of the cello, heat 90 seconds and then let rest a minute before consuming.

I did. Added mustard and pickle.  Flavor was ok, it has some ‘smoke’ flavor added to emulate a grill, texture was ok, my complaint about this (and nearly all of them) are that the buns and meat don’t require the same attention in the microwave, so invariably, one or the other is overcooked or undercooked.

In this case, the bread is just nuked to a pulp (not literally) but it is way too soft to hold a substantial amount of toppings, if that’s they way you choose to dress your burger.

On the plus side, this was a little more than a buck at WalMart.  A lot of carbs and fat, but if you’re ok with that, buy a bunch to keep in the freezer for after school.

Which ones do I like the best?  Uncooked, the Trader Joes.  Cooked?  Ball Park. (they aren’t complete, the bag only contains the beef patties).

Dutch Farms Frozen Burger Review

Out of package

Dutch Farms Frozen Burger Review

90 seconds in microwave

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch Farms Frozen Cheeseburger Review

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Supreme Lobster Appetizers

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Supreme Lobster AppetizerHad an occasion to need appetizers this week, but didn’t have time to make them.  A local Chicago company, Supreme Lobster and Seafood, sells quality heat and eat appys to bail you out of just such a jam.

Picked up their bacon wrapped scallops and their lobster rangoon won tons. Both could be ready in less than 20 minutes in a conventional oven.

Sometimes with ‘bacon wrapped’ items, it seems like the bacon seldom gets to a satisfactory “done stage,” but such was not the case with the Supreme product.  Although these weren’t ‘bay scallops,’  they also weren’t full size sea scallops; they may have been the latter cut into manageable portions. In any case, the bites had a great flavor.

As did the lobster rangoon won tons, a dollop of lobster ‘salad’ (with cream cheese) inside a crispy won ton, and yes, the pastries do puff up and get nice and crispy.

For these type of appetizers in the frozen food section of your grocery, expect to pay in the range of $1 per appetizer, which is competitive with any brand.

Should you need massive quantities, try a company like AppetizersUSA, which has a very diverse offering and different quantities to get shipped directly to you.

(The  scallop products are manufactured  for Supreme Lobster by Golden Phoenix Foods of St Louis, a company specializing in Asian appetizers and nibbles).

The plant, pictured below, is about a mile south of downtown off I-55.

Supreme Lobster & Seafood has a retail outlet in suburban Chicago, should you be in need of all manner of fresh and frozen seafood and fish. Store details.

Supreme Lobster Appetizer Review

 

Supreme Lobster Appetizer Review

                                  Lobster Rangoon

Supreme Lobster Appetizer Review

                    Golden Phoenix St Louis Operation

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Lobster Appetizers

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Red Robin Frozen Onion Rings Review

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Red Robin Frozen Onion RingsI 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 Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Robin Frozen Onion Rings Review

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Bagel Bites Review

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Bagel Bites ReviewBagel 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

Out of the Box

Bagel Bites Review

Conventional Oven Baked

 

 

 

Bagel Bites Review

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Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review

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Lunchable Breakfast ReviewWell 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 Breakfast Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review

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Digiorno Self Rising Pizza Review

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logoIt may not be delivery, it’s “Digiorno,” but for me, another “d” word motivates me to buy this brand: “desperation.”

Translation? I’m in the mood for a frozen pie and happen to be someplace where this is the only thing available. In the case of last night, at a 7-Eleven, where the self-rising pepperoni was priced at $6.99.

Opening the box, right away I don’t like it, there’s a weird “chemical” smell from the box, which isn’t from the vacuum sealed pizza, but rather ingredients or ink in the cardboard? In any regards, it’s unappealing to me.

Pie-wise, I’m not a fan of thicker crusts. I prefer more cheese and toppings make up the calorie count, rather than bread.

Digiorno is owned by Nestle, along with Jack’s, Tombstone, and some other brands, it was part of a 2010 $3.7 billion acquisition from Kraft, who needed to raise money for other acquisitions. Regardless of what I personally think, apparently Digiorno is the number one frozen brand in the U.S. There’s a reason, I’m sure and it’s not to do with ‘value pricing,” though I did see a woman earlier in the day at a grocery picking up a half dozen, as they were on sale for less than $4 a pop.

It’s a very “non offensive,” pizza, mild toppings, mild sauce, fairly adequate cheese, and it’s probably very filling for a family meal, due to the calories in the bread.

In all fairness, before this pizza hits by pie hole, it has been seriously altered at home, with more toppings, spices, and herbs. So it’s not a very unbiased ‘review.’

The pies are made at a massive factory in Little Chute, Wisconsin, at USDA establishment M5754. Little Chute is parked along the Fox River adjacent to the Appleton-Neenah area. (pix below).

The pies have a whole raft of ingredients, including the dreaded mechanically separated chicken, something I try and avoid.

INGREDIENTS: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, LOW-MOISTURE PART-SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), PEPPERONI MADE WITH PORK, CHICKEN AND BEEF (PORK, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, BEEF, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SPICES, DEXTROSE, PORK STOCK, LACTIC ACID STARTER CULTURE, OLEORESIN OF PAPRIKA, FLAVORING, SODIUM NITRITE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, PAPRIKA, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, BHA, BHT, CITRIC ACID), TOMATO PASTE, SUGAR, 2% OR LESS OF WHEAT GLUTEN, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN OIL AND/OR CORN OIL), DEGERMINATED WHITE CORN MEAL,YEAST, SALT, DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN MEAL, SEASONING BLEND (SALT, SPICE, DRIED GARLIC), BAKING POWDER (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE), DATEM, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, ASCORBIC ACID (DOUGH CONDITIONER)

CONTAINS: MILK, WHEAT.

Digiorno Review

Before baking

Digiorno Review

Side view slice

Digiorno Review

Wisconsin Factory

Digiorno Self Rising Pizza Review

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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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