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Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

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Amy's Kids Meals

Mac and Cheese
Mexican Quesadilla
Mattar Paneer

It really is sort of an accident that we're reviewing Amy's frozen meals two weeks in a row. I was shopping and noted that they were offering "Kids Meals." I was struck by the blatant commercialism of this from a company that seems so, well, respectable. The meals for kids on the market are generally pretty terrible (note our review of Lunchables), so I figured maybe this would at least be better.

I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.

The Macaroni and Cheese meal is just plain awful. The mac and cheese itself is bland and boring. Small elbow macaroni in a creamy but uninspired cheese sauce is served with a piece of focaccia bread and broccoli. The only food on the plate worth eating is the broccoli (although the broccoli does come out overcooked). Rounding this out are two small, bite sized apple pies with about a tablespoon of filling and a doughy "crust."

It gets worse. The Mexican Quesadilla with Rice and Beans is just plain worse than awful. There are two small whole wheat tortillas wrapped around greasy cheese with no flavor other than stale flour. The rice is bland, grainy, flavorless and dry. It can only be distinguished from the refried beans by the fact that the beans are smooth and the rice is not. There's a dry little chocolate "cake" that tastes only of cocoa.

You don't think that it can get worse, but it does (is there worse than "worse than awful"?). The Baked Ziti meal is simply not edible. Flabby little ziti in a sauce that will make kids feel right at home because it tastes like the school cafeteria (only worse). The focaccia tastes exactly the same as the ziti but with a different texture. There's some broccoli again but an appallingly small amount (there can't be more than 2 tablespoons). For dessert they offer an apple crisp that tastes like cough syrup and is not the least bit crisp.

All of these have more fat than most Amy's meals and they also contain too much salt (as most of their products do). That doesn't really matter because you won't be feeding these to your kids more than once. Beyond the fact that you probably won't want to pay the $5.00 each (yes, five dollars) that these cost, your kids will ask for something better - like Lunchables (ugh!).

 

Reviewed: January 9, 2009