REVIEW: DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza

DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza Box

What is the DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza

Well, for starters, it’s a bunch of words. So going forward, I’ll probably refer to this as DMMMSSP, or “dimsup” if I’m saying it aloud. This is the frozen pizza maker monolith’s ode to fake meat, which has been quite the rage for the better part of recent history.

DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza Whole

How is it?

It feels as though this review should be split between “how’s the fake sausage” and “how’s the product, overall?”

DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza Closeup

So, to answer the first one — it’s great! Made with pea protein, you’d be hard-pressed to discern these crumbles from the real deal. (At least in terms of, you know, frozen pizza sausage.) There is a very convincing chew and real sausage-like seasoning. It’s peppery without being spicy.

DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza Slice

The pizza, however, is just okay. If you’ve had DiGiorno, you’re familiar with the bland, muted veggies (in this case, red and green bell peppers and onions), the overly sweet sauce that gets applied with a sauce cannon, and the crust which is thick and uncompromisingly bread-y.

Anything else you need to know?

“Meatless Monday” was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, who advocated that people give up meat one day a week for both their health and the health of the planet. Is it weird that this was the first time I’ve ever heard of it? And I say this as someone who’s been a vegetarian for brief spurts in the past and regularly consumes meat-alternatives.

Conclusion:

While I used to think DiGiorno was tops in terms of the frozen pizza empire, it feels as though they have recently been passed on all fronts by multiple competitors. But while brands such as Urban Pie and Screamin’ Sicilian may best DiGiorno in most ways*, their meat-alternative options are, for now, nonexistent. Kudos to DiGiorno for taking the leap; hopefully, we’ll soon see more brands do the same.

*The best option, if you have it in your area, is Brew Pub Lotzza Motzza frozen pizzas, by the way.

Purchased Price: $6.99
Size: 20.8 oz
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 300 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 750 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Perdue ThanksNuggets

Perdue Thanksnuggets Pouch

Thanksgiving might just be the biggest food-related holiday there is. So with that, companies have recently decided to capitalize on it in the most creative ways possible.

For a few years, Pringles was having all the fun with its multitude of coordinating flavors encompassing the full feast. But this year, Perdue decided to throw its hat into the ring, and it is most definitely not messing around. The company has brought a clever name, vibrant packaging, cute themed shapes, and various wildly appropriate flavors.

Perdue Thanksnuggets Shapes

The only disappointment here is the super limited availability, with only 100 bags available on its website. The 100 number was meant to celebrate Perdue’s 100th anniversary, but as you will see below, these deserve to be in way more people’s bellies!

Breaded Breast Meat Turkey Nuggets

Perdue Thanksnuggets Split

These are white meat nuggets in the cutest little shape of a turkey with a secondary sweet potato flavor. They look very much like regular nuggets with a light brown coating, and the inside is chock full of delicious white meat.

The meat is very tender and the coating is good, but I wish the nuggets could’ve been a little thicker/crisper. The sweet potato starts to emerge as you chew, and it doesn’t let go. The first few nuggets to me were just a tad sweet, but the flavor really developed for me after a few more. Holy cow (or turkey?) these really taste like I am eating a side of sweet potatoes. Yum!

Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4 Nuggets) 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 390 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

Breaded Dark Meat Turkey and Cranberry Nuggets

These are dark meat nuggets are drumstick shaped and inspired by stuffing and cranberry sauce. I was a little hesitant with this flavor because I have never been a huge fan of dark meat, nor have I ever had it in nugget form. The two different flavors as an add-on also seemed a little odd.

Perdue Thanksnuggets Innards

These are much darker in color, but I can’t tell if it is just because of the dark meat interior, because of the actual composition of the breading, or maybe a little bit of both. The dark meat definitely gives these a more intense chicken flavor. But it is heavier too, and I am not sure I’m digging the texture as it is not as consistent as the white meat nuggets. These do have better crunch, though.

Just like the sweet potato with the other, the flavors here are very noteworthy. I can absolutely taste some onion and garlic, which is definitely giving me stuffing vibes. Do you see those little darker specks? They aren’t mystery meat particles. Those are actual cranberry pieces! When you get one, it is rather jolting but also a very nice tart surprise.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4 Nuggets) 220 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 590 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.

Perdue came to the Thanksgiving-themed boxing ring and just KO’d the competition! These have a lot going on with the different shapes, meats, and flavors, but all in all, they are creative and delicious. Kids and adults alike would enjoy these, and I hope Perdue brings them back next year for more to try. Fingers crossed that the company doesn’t make us wait until the 200th anniversary for 200 bags to fight over.

Purchased Price: $19.20 (For both flavors)
Size: 24 oz bag
Purchased at: Perduefarms.com

REVIEW: Green Giant Veggie Rings and Fries

Green Giant Veggie Fries and Rings

Have you ever felt neglected or wanted more from your life? Or were you envious of the so-called cool kids and wondered why you weren’t one of them? If the vegetable world is any indicator, just keep the faith as soon the tide may change.

I mean, look at cauliflower. In my youth, it was the white broccoli that no one cared about. Not good enough to be showcased in those divine kid TV dinners, but also in the shadow of regular broccoli. My oh my, how things can change. Cauliflower is now the bell of the vegetable ball! It works as a mashed potato replacement or a base for pizza crust. If breaded and fried, it can even be a chicken wings substitute. WOW! You go, cauliflower! No one will ever doubt you again.

Cauliflower is the star ingredient in three new frozen Green Giant treats, with zucchini taking the reins for one as well. They are shaped like either rings or fries, seemingly so that they can replace your hankering for onion rings or French fries.

The packaging on all shouts that these are CRISPY & CRUNCHY. You will see below that the fries do a better job of achieving this. The fillings are also all very similar, more of a very slightly chunky puree. Akin to a potato mash, but not so heavy, with definitely a lighter hit to your stomach.

Cauliflower Three Cheese with Bacon Rings

Green Giant Veggie Rings Cauliflower Three Cheese with Bacon Bag

These have a nice crunch, but also a subdued flavor. It’s tough to tell that the cheese is there, so I’d like to adjust the description to a one or two cheese flavor. Three is definitely pushing it. I thought it was going to ooze out, but I found only one or two orange pockets of goodness.

Green Giant Veggie Rings Cauliflower Three Cheese with Bacon Closeup

The bacon flavor is a little more prevalent, and I can definitely taste the smokiness throughout. I didn’t see any actual pieces, but bacon is there in the ingredient list. Coupled with the breading, the puree’s creaminess, the smokiness, and the occasional burst of cheese, these were pretty good. Nice complex flavor!

Purchased Price: $2.09
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 3 rings) 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 330 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

Cauliflower French Onion Rings

Green Giant Veggie Rings Cauliflower Frnech Onion Bag

These look similar to the one above, but with more herbs speckled throughout the filling. The French onion flavor is there, but it is at a level even less so than the cheese or bacon from the previous one. You definitely have to work for the taste, which is a tad artificial. It makes me long for an actual onion that I could slurp out of its deep fried shell. I was definitely missing onion rings while eating this one.

Green Giant Veggie Rings Cauliflower Frnech Onion Closeup

Purchased Price: $2.09
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 3 rings) 200 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

Cauliflower Ranch with Bacon Fries

Green Giant Veggie Fries Cauliflower Ranch with Bacon Bag

The fries’ preparation requires double the amount of oven time from the rings, but it makes a huge difference. While they do come out a little on the oily side, it is worth it as they come out super crispy. In fact, with my first few cauliflower fries, I thought I was maybe eating actual French fries for a second!!!

Green Giant Veggie Fries Cauliflower Ranch with Bacon Closeup

The filling stays really creamy, and it is a nice contrast to the crunchy outside. But the flavors for this one are disappointing. I taste zero bacon, but the ranch does make an appearance.

Purchased Price: $2.09
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 11 fries) 170 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 320 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Zucchini Garlic and Parmesan Fries

Green Giant Veggie Fries Zucchini Garlic  Parmesan Bag

This last iteration uses zucchini as its base instead of cauliflower. It is a nice change of pace as you can really taste the zucchini. In contrast, cauliflower doesn’t have an intense flavor profile.

Green Giant Veggie Fries Zucchini Garlic  Parmesan Closeup

These are gloriously crispy like the other ones, and while there is a little bit of garlic, the parmesan is predominant and a bit intense. However, with everything going on, it actually becomes a little too salty, kind of ruining the entire experience.

Purchased Price: $2.09
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 11 fries) 180 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

French fries and onion rings are safe atop their deep fried throne, but if you are looking to switch it up and get a couple of servings of veggies in there, these are a fantastic choice.

You can probably skip the French onion rings and zucchini fries. Go for the three cheese rings as these are best eaten on their own with their multi-layered flavor. And definitely pick up the bacon ranch fries but make sure you eat them with your favorite condiment.

Amongst all this dining on rings and fries, I hope potatoes and onions don’t get too jealous!

REVIEW: Marie Callender’s Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie

Marie Callender s Confetti Birthday Cake and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pies Boxes

What are Marie Callender’s Confetti Birthday Cake and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pies?

Birthday cake and brownies take new forms in these thaw-and-eat frozen cream pies from Marie Callender’s.  

How are they?

For someone who writes for a junk food blog, I have tendencies toward dessert snobbery. I recoil at the sight of canned pie filling. If grocery store sheet cake is my only option, I’d rather have none. While watching cooking shows, I cry out to the contestants “The rose water essence will overwhelm your pate e choux filling!” as my microwave dings to announce my Lean Cuisine is ready.

There are two wolves inside of me: one that yearns for authentic French patisserie, and one that can’t resist an oatmeal cream pie peddled by a certain curly-haired lass. I am at peace with the contradiction, but when presented with the opportunity to try Marie Callender’s two newest products, I wondered how my snobbish preferences would influence my opinion. As it turns out, my two inner wolves, bonded by their love of sugar, have more in common than I thought. I was pleasantly surprised by both desserts, although each possessed imperfect features.

Confetti Birthday Cake

Marie Callender s Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie Full

The star of the Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie is its crust, a soft sugar cookie base that tastes homemade. The pie’s exterior is inviting — topped with confetti cake pieces, rainbow chips, and a halo of piped whipped topping. The cake pieces are cookie-crispy, and, along with the chips, provide nice taste and a textural contrast, even if it is not particularly cake-like.

Marie Callender s Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie Slice

The sticky whipped topping is a bit too heavy and coats the mouth with the slickness of hydrogenated oils. It tastes like the coating often found on ice cream cakes – that not-quite-frosting, but not-quite-whipped cream decorative sugar fluff – and ultimately doesn’t add much to the pie.

This leaves the thick, smooth filling to tie the pieces together. A pleasant (although very sweet) vanilla flavor, the filling would have benefitted from more vanilla or butter notes and less sweetness. In a bite, all elements evoke the concentrated sweetness of a sugar cookie more so than a sprinkle cake.

Chocolate Brownie

Marie Callender s Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie Full

The Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie filling has the same thickness, texture, and sweetness as the Confetti Birthday Cake’s, but its flavor – this time, a rich chocolate – is much stronger. Sprinkled with chocolate chips and sizable chewy brownie cubes, this pie delivers an extra chocolate burst that’s clearly inspired by a brownie. Only a small slice will satisfy even the most ravenous sweet tooth.

Marie Callender s Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie Full Slice

While a little oily, the whipped topping here is light and smooth, effectively complementing the rich chocolate components of the pie. Again, the pie’s crust – a dark chocolate cookie crust – is impressive.

Anything else you need to know?

The package directions recommend thawing the pies for at least 1.5 hours before eating. My descriptions above reflect the results of the minimum thaw time, because the apocalypse could occur at any second and I don’t want to experience it on an empty stomach.

Within a day or two, the pies’ textures evolved slightly: the toppings softened, and the filling had a looser texture, similar to oil-based whipped topping. While the softer filling was more characteristic of a cream pie, I overall preferred the first-day textures. The package also recommends that consumers eat the products within three days of thawing and do not refreeze them.

Conclusion:

Both varieties are intense sugar bombs with enough components to find satisfaction among the highs and lows. The Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie is a more successful homage to its inspiration dessert.

Disclosure: I received free samples of this product. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 25 oz.
Purchased at: Received from Marie Callender’s
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Confetti Birthday Cake), 7 out of 10 (Chocolate Brownie)
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/6 pie) Confetti Birthday Cake – 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Chocolate Brownie – 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Mermaid, Unicorn, and Birthday Cake Waffles

Kellogg s Mermaid Unicorn and Birthday Cake Waffles Boxes

Frozen waffles are one of those items I buy randomly, enjoy immensely, and then immediately forget about until the next time I see them on sale. While I could easily get sucked into a long winded diatribe about the simple joys of Eggo Mini Waffles, that’s not why we’re here. Nope, we’re here to look at three new frozen waffle varieties from Kellogg’s — Birthday Cake, Mermaid, and Unicorn.

For some reason I assumed it was an expansion to the already popular Eggo line, but they are stand alone Kellogg’s branded items. My theory is that they did this to try and appeal to the tween crowd who are like so totally over Eggo.

The pastel boxes help set them apart and announce that these aren’t your little sibling’s waffles. There is also the possibility they are trying to appeal to the lazy Instagramers who want the aesthetics of cute food with the flick of a toaster lever. Either way, I am neither of those and was cautiously optimistic as I walked with my arms full of frozen waffles to the self-checkout.

Mermaid

Kellogg s Mermaid Waffles Box

The Mermaid is a blue raspberry-flavored waffle.

The first thing that struck me was the strong blue raspberry smell. This worried me because if the smell was this intense, how overpowering is the taste going to be?

Blue raspberry as a flavor is always extremely hit or miss. Either it’s an overly sweet sugar assault or tastes more like raspberry with a hint of blue sugar. I also noticed it was a thicker waffle, more of the Belgium variety versus your standard frozen waffle.

Kellogg s Mermaid Waffles Closeup

After toasting, I went in for the first bite and found myself pleasantly surprised! Despite the strong smell, the blue raspberry wasn’t overpowering. A few more bites in and it reminded me of when you’d get those sno-cones with the chunky ice. All the flavor syrup would sink to the bottom, leaving just a hint of it at the top. That’s how subtle the blue raspberry came through.

It was a nice break from the expected and I could see it being a hit with kids.

Fun Mermaid Fact: Throughout history sailors often mistook manatees for mermaids.

Kellogg s Mermaid Waffles Fun Fact

Purchased Price: $2.96
Size: 11.6 oz/6 waffles
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutritional Facts: (1 Waffle) 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Unicorn

Kellogg s Unicorn Waffles Box

The Unicorn is a cotton candy flavored waffle.

While I’m not a HUGE pink person, the pink hue of this waffle was incredibly appealing. Like, take down to the paint shop to have it matched for a bathroom trim cute.

Kellogg s Unicorn Waffles Closeup

Then I noticed what appeared to be blueberries embedded in. This immediately confused me. I looked the box over to see if blueberries were even an ingredient (they weren’t) and eventually concluded they must be “pieces” of cotton candy.

Much like the Mermaid, the smell out the box was strong. Also like the Mermaid, eating it resulted in a much more subtle flavor. However, where they diverge from one another is the little pockets of not-blueberries. With the Mermaid, I got an even flavor in every bite, but with the Unicorn it was incredibly inconsistent. The pieces with little to no sugar pockets tasted like generic waffles, but then I’d hit a vein of the blue-colored sugar pockets and get that cotton candy flavor.

Personally, I prefer when I get a more even distribution of flavor so this wasn’t a hit for me.

Fun Unicorn Fact: The Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.

Kellogg s Unicorn Waffles Fun Fact

Purchased Price: $2.96
Size: 11.6 oz/6 waffles
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutritional Facts: (1 Waffle) 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Birthday Cake

Kellogg s Birthday Cake Waffles Box

The Birthday Cake is a yellow cake flavored waffle with sprinkles

Just like the other two, the smell opening the box was very strong. However, as a big believer that there is no such thing as too much birthday cake, I was happy to inhale a deep breath of it.

Kellogg s Birthday Cake Waffles Closeup

Kellogg s Birthday Cake Waffles Split

Of the three, I found it to be the most visually pleasing. The rainbow sprinkles embedded in that unnaturally yellow color takes me back to homemade cupcakes in elementary school. Also, like the other two, the flavor is fairly subtle. I guess I was expecting it to be more like cake batter turned into waffles, but instead it was a waffle flavored to taste like cake.

To its credit, it had that unmistakable cake flavor. The rainbow sprinkles added a little sweetness, but overall just seemed pretty. Of the three, it was the most enjoyable. Unlike the other two flavors, I feel there is a lot more that these can be used for outside simply heating and eating.

Maybe if they get put into the deep freeze, I can add a little whipped cream and turn them into a panic birthday cake next time I forget someone’s birthday.

Fun Birthday Fact: About 15 million people are celebrating their birthday today!

Kellogg s Birthday Cake Waffles Fun Fact

Purchased Price: $2.96
Size: 11.6 oz/6 waffles
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutritional Facts: (1 Waffle) 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

A few final thoughts on these products. If you always put butter and/or syrup on their waffles, I’d tread very carefully.

While I’d personally recommend them plain and toasted, I realize that makes me probably sound like a sociopath. Trying all three with just butter it didn’t necessarily take away from the flavors, but it certainly didn’t enhance them. If you’re the kind of person that needs some moisture on their waffles, this is the way to go.

Kellogg s Mermaid Unicorn and Birthday Cake Waffles Closeup Syrup

However, adding syrup was a disaster. It immediately overpowered all of them and made for a very bizarre flavor profile with the Mermaid and Unicorn. The Birthday Cake was the only slightly passable one with the syrup, but even then it still was weird. Otherwise, they are more than enjoyable enough plain and toasted. I’d love to see some other unique flavors.

Maybe a Kraken-flavored one? Green and just salty?