Saturday, August 30, 2014

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Written By Bobbie


It's has been a very long time since I've bought frozen Italian food, but when I was given an opportunity to review one of Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods in exchange for my honest review, I jumped at the chance.  I've been been doing homemade lasagna for several years now, so I was curious to see how this would stack up to home made.  


I headed out to Walmart and made a bee line for the freezer section.  It was hard to miss the Michael Angelo's section that I was looking for.  Walmart even had a window cling advertising that they had new items on the shelf.  The new items are the Meat Lasagna in 46 oz. and 80 oz., Baked Ziti with Meatballs in 44oz., and Eggplant Parmeasan in 44 oz. and 80oz.  I talked over our choices with my older daughter and we went with monster sized lasagna at 80 oz.

I flipped the box and looked over the ingredient list, and was pretty impressed that I could read and knew most of what was on the list!  Quick run down of the ingredients list: Tomatoes, pasta, three kinds of cheeses, beef, eggs, two oils, sugar and herbs and spices.  Honestly, it looks like all the stuff I put in my own lasagna, except I'll use sauce from a jar instead of starting from scratch from tomatoes.
     

The directions are pretty straight forward.  I tented the lid and then secured it all around, adjusted my oven rack to the middle and preheated to 400.  I slid the lasagna in and set the timer for 65 minutes.  I was a little worried that after an hour, I did not smell baking lasagna from the kitchen yet.  I check on it when the time went off, and found the lasagna to be very cold to tough in the center still.  Not overly worried as the family was not dying of hunger yet, I re-secured the lid and slid it back into the oven.  By now I decided to ignore the timer and just go with my nose.  About 45 minutes later the smell of lasagna was all through the house.  I removed the lid and let it bake for an additional 20 minutes (the directions say 10 minutes) to get cheese on top melted and toasty.  I double check the internal temp with my thermometer and deemed it ready to go.

             

I let the lasagna sit while I whipped up a quick salad, then hubby and I sat down and dug in.  Hubby liked it so much he went back for a large second helping.  The noodles were firm and the lasagna had a lot of flavor.  It was not soggy or dry, and overall it came out very good.  We had leftovers that stored well in the original pan in the fridge, and it tasted just as good warmed up in the microwave the next day.  Now I want to give the Baked Ziti with Meatballs a try!

To go with our lasagna dinner I decided to do a Simple Salad.  With so much effort into going into making new recipes, sometimes I forget to go back to the basics.  This is a crisp, quick and easy salad that packs a lot of flavor.  We have several tomato plants in our garden that are finally starting to produce, and just love taste of them in salads

1 head iceberg lettuce
1 cucumber
1 green bell pepper
5 small tomatoes
Cilantro
Chopped onions optional

Chop, dice, or shred ingredients to personal preference.  Top with favorite drssing and enjoy!

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