Baked Not Fried*
Those three words are on the front of every package of the new Hot Pockets Snackers. But what’s that snowflake-shaped thingie that’s hanging on the end of those three words like a piece of poop hanging from a dog’s fur around its poop chute? That, my friend, is an asterisk and it’s the shifty side of the eight key on your keyboard.
If you’re a person who doesn’t like to read, an asterisk always leads to more reading, which begins with another asterisk that hangs at the front of a sentence or phrase like a piece of snot hanging from one’s nose. Whenever there’s an asterisk on food packaging it can lead to three things:
1) An obligatory line found in every nutrition facts label: “Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
2) Something scary that food companies, sometimes by law, have to let you know about, like “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration”, “Contains MSG naturally occurring in foods”, “Ingredients not in regular mozzarella cheese” or “If you’re a male who’s 35 or older, hide this box of Lucky Charms when women come over*.”
3) Something the food company didn’t really need to tell us, like what the asterisk after Baked Not Fried leads to — NOT A LOW FAT FOOD
I don’t know of anyone who thinks Hot Pockets is a low-fat food, although I do know of people who think Lean Pockets will make them skinny. Hot Pockets Snackers are definitely not a low-fat food, but they aren’t a high-fat food either, like other Hot Pockets. They’re like fancier and slightly bigger pizza bites, or Hot Pockets for babies**.
They come in four varieties:
Toasted Five Cheese Ravioli – mozzarella, ricotta, romano, parmesan and asiago cheese in a toasted ravioli. I wish I could say my tongue was talented enough to distinguish every cheese in the Hot Pockets Snackers, but my tongue is only good for one thing, ladies. I could only detect the mozzarella and parmesan, but I wonder how much of each cheese they stuffed into each one because there wasn’t much cheese filling. It’s definitely my least favorite of the four flavors. Although while being microwaved, it made my place smell like parmesan.
Fiesta Nacho Bites – taco seasoned beef, mexican style cheese sauce, and jalapenos in a tortilla style crust. Despite reading that there were jalapenos in it, I didn’t think there would be any heat, just the flavor of the peppers. However, there is a mild level of heat, maybe a 3 or 4 on a scale of 10. These triangular-shaped Snackers have a good flavor to them thanks to the jalapenos. It tasted like either something from Taco Bell or Mexican Hamburger Helper was stuffed into it***.
Grilled Italian Style Bites – Italian style deli meats and mozzarella cheese inside a panini crust. I enjoyed these as much as the Fiesta Nacho Bites. The prosciutto cotto, salami, and capicola provided wonderful flavor with a little spice. It had a decent amount of filling and the panini crust came out soft. Probably the fanciest of the four, but then again isn’t everything Italian considered fancy.
Loaded Potato Skin Bites – bacon, cheddar cheese, potatoes and green onion inside a golden potato crust. My second least favorite. While it did taste like potato skins, it didn’t have a strong flavor, even though there was as much filling as some of the others. The golden potato crust easily beats Pringles as the most embarrassing way for potatoes to end up. Despite being made of potatoes, the crust has very little potato flavor and was a bit too chewy. Thank goodness for the additional potatoes stuffed into it to give it a recognizable amount of potato flavor.
A serving of four takes about one minute and fifteen seconds to warm up, and there is no crisping sleeve. However, the instructions, which comes in English and Spanish, says completing the cooking process also involves letting it sit in the microwave for two minutes. So that one minute claim on the front of the package is misleading. Also, Hot Pockets really needs to work on preventing the filling in their products from oozing out while microwaving. And why do I have to use a damn paper plate to heat Hot Pockets? I don’t go on picnics, nor am I a hoarder who needs to use paper plates because my sink, which is blocked by a mountain of stuff that is valuable to me and no one else, is full of dishes that haven’t been washed in months.
Overall, my opinion is split between the different flavors of Hot Pockets Snackers. The Fiesta Nacho Bites and Grilled Italian Style Bites are the tastiest and have crusts that turn out decent from the microwave, while the Toasted Five Cheese Ravioli and Loaded Potato Skin Bites don’t have strong flavors and have tough crusts after being microwaved. However, the Hot Pockets Snackers does make it possible to create a Hot Pockets Diet****, which is like the Special K Diet, except instead of a bowl of Special K for breakfast and lunch, and a Special K snack in between meals, the Hot Pockets Diet would consist of a Hot Pocket for breakfast and lunch, and these Hot Pockets Snackers to help curb hunger in between meals.
*Not on boxes of Lucky Charms.
**If you feed your baby Hot Pockets, you are a horrible parent.
***Might be a good or bad thing, depends on how you feel about Taco Bell or Hamburger Helper.
****Don’t attempt to make the Hot Pockets Diet a reality.
(Nutrition Facts – 4 pieces – Potato Skin Bites – 230 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 610 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of protein, 6% vitamin A, 20% calcium, and 6% iron. Italian Style Bites – 210 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 500 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of protein, 10% calcium, and 10% iron. Five Cheese Ravioli – 220 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 540 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of protein, 2% vitamin A, 20% calcium, and 10% iron. Fiesta Nacho Bites – 220 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 540 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 10% iron.)
*Made using partially hydrogenated oils.
Other Hot Pockets Snackers review:
Item: Hot Pockets Snackers (Loaded Potato Skin Bites, Grilled Italian Style Bites, Fiesta Nacho Bites & Toasted Five Cheese Ravioli)
Price: $3.00 (on sale; reg. $4.79)
Size: 10 ounces/Approx. 12 pieces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Loaded Potato Skin Bites)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Grilled Italian Style Bites)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Fiesta Nacho Bites)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Toasted Five Cheese Ravioli)
Pros: Grilled Italian Style Bites and Fiesta Nacho Bites were tasty and have crusts that microwave well. Baked not fried. Like fancy pizza bites. Using asterisks to create ASCII pictures. Hot Pockets Snackers package may contain an extra one or two pieces. Might be able to stuff these Hot Pockets into a regular Hot Pocket to make Jim Gaffigan’s nightmare come true.
Cons: Not a low-fat food. Loaded Potato Skin Bites and Toasted Five Cheese Ravioli lacked strong flavors and had crusts that don’t microwave well. Good source of sodium. Microwave instructions are misleading because it takes over three minutes to warm them up. Made with partially hydrogenated oils. Using asterisks to let people know how scary their food could be.