[ Currently Eating: Ham and Egg Sando ]
Greetings from the Land of Macaronia.
I bring you good tidings in December. Nutmeg cheese dip parties and Santa Claws Hats.
Fa la la la la, la la la Not.
Well, OK, I’ve just been a little slow on the uptake. Again. It began with getting some sort of wacky stomach ailment the day after Thanksgiving. Monty Python Turkey’s Revenge or something. That put me out for a few days and dampened my holiday cheer. The gastro-problematicos also knocked me off drinking coffee which does not a happy camper make me.
It has also affected my vocabulary skills. (Laughing in the background are readers who insist that nothing has changed: run-on sentences have always run wild, spelling eeror saarienens are everywhere, I make up words and grammatical trees. And snow on.)
Thusly and thus, I will keep this short. I’ve reviewed a few Macaroni and Cheese products on Cheap Eats previously, but they’ve all been of the dry variety. The kind you just add hot water to and pray that all the artificial cake-like preservatives and elbow joints will congeal in an approximation of noodles and sauce.
This is actually the second variety of Fresh & Easy Macaroni and Cheese products I’ve tried. This particular one is called “Classic” Macaroni and Cheese and comes in a box in the frozen food section. The other one was of the “fresh” variety that they produce every day in the prepared foods section. The latter is “decent” as far as sauce goes, but the noodles suffer, like most F&E fresh pasta creations. It is also, surprisingly, more expensive (pound for pound) than this “Classic” boxed variety that I decided to try the other day.
I wasn’t expecting too much with this macaroni and cheese, so I was surprised it actually seemed to have real grated cheese on the top. The enormous two pound serving comes in a large plastic tub that has plastic wrap film over the top. You pop holes in that and nuke it from frozen for like 10 minutes or something.
One of the other things that surprised me is that the noodles were of the larger variety. I’m actually an equal opportunity pasta shape eater when it comes down to it, but I kinda prefer the larger ones for Macaroni and Cheese. So that was nice. After nuking, the whole chittybangbang came out pretty decent looking.
I was pleasantly surprised that the noodes did not suffer the same issues that haunt most Fresh and Easy “daily” pasta items. The macaroni wasn’t mushy and had a tiny bit of bite to them, but it wasn’t raw on the insides. The sauce is light years better, and I mean LIGHT YEARS better, than the orange cheese crud in dry macaroni box packets. I have to admit that there are some days that I like the radioactive orange powder, but I’ll take this kind of macaroni and cheese almost every other time.
The cheese sauce isn’t completely silky. I think part of it has to do with the sauce thickening a bit when cooking, and the external cheese melting down into it. It’s not so much the “custardy” version of macaroni and cheese that you get at restaurants, but it’s not smooth either. I actually like this better than some of the more solid varieties I’ve had. The flavor is pretty good, extra cheesy, but not too overpowering.
The best news was that this was a TON of food. Two pounds of noodles. I know there are big eaters out there, but if you weren’t eating this as the main entree as I was, you could easily get two or more meals out of it. I only managed to finish about 1/2 of it.
I’ve made many a homemade macaroni and cheese simulacrum in my day, and you can probably make it cheaper – but not by a whole lot. Assuming you like this stuff and don’t have a problem with dairy, this is pretty much a home run bargain at under $3. I usually buy one as a backup in the freezer for those late nights (or early mornings, or afternoons) when I’m trying to write up a lame review like this one…
Price: $2.87 for 24oz
Found At: Fresh & Easy
Cheap Eats Score: 8/10
[Editor's Note: This stomach issue is bugging me because now I feel like eating Macaroni and Cheese. I also feel like drinking eggnog. With a side order of beer. P.S. note to self: I wonder if anyone got the spelling eeror reference. P.P.S. note to self: stop writing notes to self, it does not bode well.]