10/6/09 | F&E Big Lasagna
[ Currently Eating: Ham and Egg Sand Witch ]
If I had one word to describe this Fresh & Easy “Big” Lasagna With Meat Sauce, it would be:
But of course, I have more than one word at my disposal here. Therefore, I will say this:
You might recall that I’m a big Fresh & Easy fanboy. It’s just really convenient, and surprisingly cheap depending on what you get. However, I’ve had oodles of problems with their noodles. I mean their pre-packaged meals, specifically anything that has noodles and tomato sauce.
Earlier, I ragged (ragu-ed?) on their Spaghetti. I think one cause of the problem is that I always try to get these noodle meals at the 1/2 off price. If you can snag them at that price, they’re extremely reasonable. But they only offer them at the price when they’re about to expire, so they’ve been sitting around for awhile. And when you let noodles in sauce like that sit for a long time, bad things happen.
Bad, gluey things.
Their “Big” Lasagna has the same problems as the spaghetti, but in fact it’s worse because of the layered nature of the lasagna. In their defense, I’m not sure how they’d solve this issue. I also haven’t really tried the spaghetti-type meals when they haven’t been sitting around for more than a couple days. Maybe they’re better when they’ve just been made.
In any case, I ain’t expecting high end gourmet lasagna, or even something approaching Marie Callender’s. Just something palatable. This is a large amount of food – almost three pounds. If this was edible, two people would probably make at least 2 meals out of it. As it was, I had to toss it out because it sucked so badly.
The thing is – it actually looked VERY promising after I baked it in the oven. Geez, look at the picture. I figured it would come out better in a conventional oven than a microwave. Don’t bother wasting your gas. It’s just as bad, or worse.
A breakdown: The sauce is just “OK” – I still find it strange they put carrots in it, like their other tomato sauce meals. The melted cheese coverage on top leaves a little to be desired. Like more cheese. But it’s not a deal breaker.
The noodle texture is absolutely, positively horrible. It tastes like extruded wheat clay or playdoh. It has such a pasty texture that I can’t believe it. It also has a strange off-taste to it. I can’t really put my finger on it because it’s not really a “food” taste per se. (Scarier words have never been spoken!) It’s almost like a weird, bitter plastic bread taste.
The ricotta filling was doing anything for me either. I like ricotta cheese, so I thought that perhaps it would be a bright spot in an otherwise terrible meal. It tasted blah, and if anything, made the stickiness of the noodles worse. Major disappointment.
Lastly, for some reason there was a FISHINESS, a sorta seafood and ox-musk melange hovering around the entire meal. I don’t think this was because the food was near the expiration date. Actually, if it was because of that, I wouldn’t be as worried. I was just wondering what the heck that could possibly be.
That taste scared me a bit, so I stopped eating it after a couple of bites. Oops, $4 down the drain. Man, I haven’t had a pre-packaged lasagna that bad in awhile. For a better (and bigger) lasagna, I would think about getting the CostCo one, even at the much higher price. That one is light years better. I think you would also do much better with budget frozen lasagna meals if you’re concerned about cost.
I’m still wondering why F&E is so noodle challenged. I think it has a lot to do with me buying it from the bargain bin on the day it’s about to expire. At a MSRP of $8, I would rather go outside and graze on my lawn. At the cut rate of $4, it’s still not worth getting – although it did bump up the score to 2/10 just for sheer cheapness. I think I’ll stick to their other prepared foods for now.
Price: $4.00 for 2 lb 12oz. (MSRP $8)
Found At: Fresh and Easy
Cheap Eats Score: 2/10