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.