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The Weight Watchers Penne Pollo looked promising (they always seem to when I look at the box). There are only 280 calories and a reasonable 520 mg of sodium. It was a bit more encouraging coming out of the microwave. The aroma was pretty good - a fresh garlic smell. And it’s actually good. Not great but good (this is frozen food, after all). The pasta is not cooked to heck and gone - it has a little bit of a firm texture. The sauce is pleasant with a fairly good garlic flavor and the chicken is tender. Not a terrible meal, but not a great one.
I am always dubious of angel hair dishes. If I see angel hair on a menu in any but the best restaurant I will avoid it. Because they are so delicate, the thin noodles are easy to overcook. When I saw the Angel Hair Marinara in the freezer I was very skeptical.
After cooking I was surprised to find that it is not the pasta that is so bad (although it’s not all that good). It is the marinara sauce that is really bad (really, really bad). The flavor is just… well, funny. It tastes a lot like soap. There’s an herbed aroma but that won’t save this dish. Leave it in the freezer - not because of the pasta but because of the sauce.
I’m kind of a sucker for ziti dishes, so choosing the Three Cheese Ziti Marinara was easy. This is not, however, ziti. Ziti are big tubes of pasta with ridged edges. These are small round tubes that resemble what you might get at the school cafeteria. The sauce is a lot better than the angel hair dish being much more tomatoey and not too sweet. The cheese blends in well. Not a bad effort, but it would have been pretty good with better pasta. Using whole wheat penne in this would make it a fine choice. The numbers are only fair at 590 mg of sodium, 320 calories and 4 grams of fiber.
Two not so bad and one to leave at the grocery store. That’s a pretty good showing for Weight Watchers. While there are better meals on the market, the Penne Pollo or the Ziti would do in a pinch if some of your other favorites were not available in the grocery store (faint praise, I know - but not bad for Weight Watchers).
Reviewed: February 20, 2009