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My wife discovered today's review items in our local Winn-Dixie. They've got a fair-sized gluten-free and organic section in addition to the more usual international foods, but we'd never really looked carefully at their kosher frozen food offerings. Several items we'd looked at in the past were too high in sodium, but today's items are a nice surprise.
These are from Tuv Taam Foods, a kosher food products company based in Brooklyn, New York, and founded in the mid-eighties. In addition to selling through retail channels, they appear to also supply kosher foods to hospitals and make kosher baby foods. Both of today's meals are surprisingly low in sodium: although both the Macaroni & Cheese and the Lasagna with Tomato Sauce are actually 2 servings to the package, the total amount of sodium for each is 420 and 520 milligrams, respectively. That's impressive and we had high hopes.
As is our usual practice, we microwaved these items instead of baking them in the oven. The first line of the directions is "do not remove or puncture lid film," so that's what we did - microwaving the Macaroni & Cheese for 3 minutes and then allowing it to stand for 2 minutes before removing the film.
The results are dismaying at best. Instead of being thick and creamy as we expect macaroni and cheese to be, the macaroni appears to be floating in whitish water. This looks nothing like you'd expect from something labeled macaroni and cheese. Thinking that it might thicken up if allowed to stand further, we waited another couple of minutes before tasting. While it does thick a little, it's still far too thin and we now noticed that the liquid appeared curdled.
What's worse is the flavor. While it smells gently cheesy, this is by far the sweetest macaroni and cheese the panel has ever tasted. A look at the ingredients told us why - the sauce has added sugar. While the entire dish (remember: 2 servings) contains only 6 grams of sugars, you can taste every single one in the sauce. Add to that mushy pasta and this is truly terrible. You're better off with Lean Cuisine's Macaroni & Cheese.
We were somewhat more hopeful for the Lasagna with Tomato Sauce. Once again this is microwaved without venting the lid film, although as you can see a corner of our tasting product was vented in the microwave without our knowing. That didn't matter nearly as much for the Lasagna, however: what appears to be more liquid is actually a smoothly pureed tomato sauce. This is a very cheesy dish with generous amounts of ricotta and spinach layered between only slightly overdone lasagna noodles. The flavor is actually fairly good - as long as you don't get a forkful that's mostly sauce: once again the added sugar overpowers any tomato flavor. We simply can't recommend this dish, either. To add insult to injury, these sold for over $7 apiece - easily twice as much (or more) than most other frozen meals. Save your money and leave these on the shelf.
Reviewed: April 19, 2013