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Michael Angelo's Italian Natural Cuisine

Vegetable Lasagna
Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Cheese Lasagna

Last week I was so encouraged by the Michael Angelo's frozen foods that I decided to go for broke and have us review three of their products this week. You may remember that I said their Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli might well be the best frozen meal I have ever had.

The Vegetable Lasagna didn't disappoint. Good, rich tomato sauce, herbed just right, covered whole grain lasagna noodles that were filled with ricotta and topped with mozzarella. All of this was served with a veggie mixture that was fresh and crisp tasting, including broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and squash. Good stuff for sure!

One thing that is bothersome is that the nutrition info is stated as 1 cup for the serving size and that the dish has "about 1.5" servings. This sort of behavior is really confusing to consumers and I don't appreciate it. It would be easy to mistake this meal as having only 440 mg of sodium when there's actually 660 mg.

The Lasagna with Meat Sauce is just as good (but I'd choose the veggie version). There's more ricotta filling that's lightly herbed, and the whole thing is topped by a tangy, Italian tasting tomato sauce. About the same as the Vegetable Lasagna, with the total calories coming in at 450, but there's less fiber and more sodium.

The Four Cheese lasagna makes it three for three. There's the same ricotta stuffing in between lasagna noodles that aren't overcooked, just as in the Meat Sauce version. Instead of the meat sauce, there's a light tomato sauce, and the whole thing is topped with cheese that makes the sauce creamier and richer.

The issue with how the Nutrition Facts were printed on the label really concerned me, because I was sure that I had read the Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli package correctly (I was pretty amazed at the 370 calories and 550 mg sodium in each serving). This led me to the Michael Angelo's website. To my relief they had marked the Servings Per Container as "1," but I found out something else that you need to watch for.

The company has a number of lines of foods and their Italian Natural Cuisine is labeled as being available in "Natural Food Stores" (we have purchased all of these products at a Whole Foods). Thinking back, I realized that I had not seen their products anywhere else.

The concern is that the products that they sell in grocery stores and warehouse clubs don't appear to be as healthy. The "Signature Line" Lasagna with Meat Sauce is similar but they don't have the Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli and their regular Chicken Alfredo has half again as many calories and fat with over twice the sodium.

So, as always, check the package and the Nutrition Facts carefully.

All of that said, these are really good lasagnas. The best frozen lasagnas that we've ever tasted here at Dr. Gourmet. The Vegetable Lasagna definitely comes out on top, but I will stand by what I said previously: the Italian Natural Cuisine Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli may well be the best frozen meal on the market.

Reviewed August 1, 2008