REVIEW: Bertolli Chicken Parmigiana & Penne Oven Bake Meals

Sometimes I enjoy kickin’ it old school.

Instead of using the couch potato convenience of a remote control, I’ll occasionally walk up to the TV to change the channel or mess with the volume. Once in a while, when I want to kick it Stephen J. Cannell-style I’ll bust out the typewriter and Wite-Out to write a review, and then bob my head to the click-clack of the keys as I type with only my pointer fingers.

Every so often, I get a thrill out of the pre-heating, moving of wire racks, and the orange glow of the heating elements of a conventional oven, because sometimes I don’t want to deal with the rotating plate, LCD digits, and radiation of a microwave oven, and because I can’t build a fire in the middle of my apartment when I want to kick it REALLY old school. It’s been awhile since I fired up my conventional oven, so I was glad to try the Bertolli Chicken Parmigiana & Penne Oven Bake Meal.

The frozen dish is made up of breaded white meat chicken breast cutlets with penne pasta in a tomato-herb sauce and a pouch of cheese. Creating the meal, which is either meant as a meal for two people or two meals for someone who has more than a dozen cats, is extremely easy since it only consists of six steps:

1) Pour contents of bag into a baking dish.
2) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
3) Bake in conventional oven for 45 minutes.
4) Pull out dish and remove foil.
5) Sprinkle cheese on top.
6) Bake for five minutes more.

The packaging claims it has a restaurant taste and I’ve experienced the chain restaurant goodness that is Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Buca di Beppo so many times that I feel confident in saying that it doesn’t have a chain restaurant taste. The chicken was moist and the penne pasta was cooked well, but the sauce wasn’t as savory as I hoped. Another disappointment was the disproportional sizes of the two chicken pieces in the bag I bought, one of which was the size of a Chicken McNugget and the other was about three times larger. I’m pretty sure I was just unlucky with the bag I bought, but even the bigger piece of chicken seemed kind of small.

In the end, I wish the Bertolli Chicken Parmigiana & Penne Oven Bake Meal kicked it old school and put on some bellbottom pants, an afro wig, and a pair of rainbow suspenders. It wouldn’t make it better tasting, but if I were to play some disco music it would be a lot more fun to be around.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 package – 500 calories, 26 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein, 35% Vitamin A, 20% Calcium, 20% Vitamin C, 10% Iron, and 10 grams of kickin’ it old school.)

Item: Bertolli Chicken Parmigiana & Penne Oven Bake Meals
Price: FREE (via coupon from PR peeps)
Size: 24 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Convenient. Chicken was moist. No trans fat. Allows me to kick it old school. Typing on a typewriter once in awhile. Being mesmerized by the orange glow of the heating elements in a conventional oven. Smelling Wite-Out.
Cons: Sauce wasn’t very savory. Chicken seemed small. Doesn’t have an Italian restaurant taste. High in sodium. Can’t build a fire in my apartment. People who have more than a dozen cats. Smelling Wite-Out.

11 thoughts to “REVIEW: Bertolli Chicken Parmigiana & Penne Oven Bake Meals”

  1. The trouble I have with items like this (or the “skillet” variety) is that they’re sold to be shared with more than one person and I end up eating at least two thirds of the package, feeling guilty, and not having much left over for a later microwaveable leftover.

  2. I have some of these Bertollis in the queue – but will have to dig up the bellbottoms so it feels right when i cook them. So did you snort the wite-out in high school like everyone else, come on, you can tell me.

  3. Is this the brand where they have the commercials of Italian chefs blubbering to themselves because these products took all their customers away? Their food must have been awful if people prefer this over that.

    By the way, I had a dream that you, Marvo, started a cooking segment on The Impulsive Buy… You were cooking some kind of Southern comfort dish like fried catfish or something. I was thinking to myself, “What about this is impulsive, exactly? Does he use ingredients that he bought impulsively?”

    Yeah, sad when I dream about The Impulsive Buy.

  4. I’ve had the Bertolli Lasagna meal and it’s okay. It’s salty and I still haven’t figured out what type of meat the meat-like substance is supposed to be, but it has lots of cheese and you only have to put on as much sauce as you want which I like. It’s not something I’ll be buying frequently though, and it’s definitely not big enough for two people. Not unless you’re having another entree with it.

    Or maybe I’m just a big eater.

  5. I always feel fat when I buy things like this because I’ll split it with someone and eat my half and then am still hungry.

  6. Did you move to an apartment with an oven, Marvo-san? I seem to recall the apartment you had when you gifted us with the “Jumbo Hotdog” dance had only a toaster oven and your crazy filthy microwave oven.

  7. Most frozen meals are loaded with SALT and a lot of it.
    I wish we could just stop eating but we cant so I quess making alot of meals once a week makes the best choice
    I see that donkey is big in china. Mayen America needs to try some new foods

  8. @Chuck – I say you just be gluttonous at eat the whole thing. That’s what I would do. Sure, you won’t like yourself when you look in the mirror, but you can always eat more to make yourself feel better. 😉

    @Bryan – No, I would paint a mustache on my face with it. It’s a lot more fun that way.

    @Heidi – So I take it in this dream I was headless…or did you stick Tim Kang’s head on my body in a dress?

    @norby – I thought the portion sizes weren’t big enough for two people too. But I guess it’s like breakfast cereal, but instead of being a part of nutritious breakfast, it’s a part of a hearty meal.

    @Natalie – You shouldn’t feel fat, you should feel giving because you were willing to split it up with someone else. Sharing is caring.

    @Molly – The oven and stove wasn’t in the shot, but I do have an oven. I would go crazy if I didn’t because I wouldn’t be able to dry individual articles of clothing without it.

    @Neil – But I love salt, because I love retaining water, which makes me sweat more and makes me look like I’m doing hard work.

    @FatYoli – I know you went to YouTube to watch the video again.

  9. No. I have had this Bertolli meal before and the chicken, was in fact, micro. But the good news is my blood pressure’s up.

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