REVIEW: Life Cuisine Egg Bites

Life Cuisine Egg Bites

What are Life Cuisine Egg Bites?

The Life Cuisine brand (from Nestlé, who makes Lean Cuisine) was launched earlier this year to cater to “every lifestyle” with low carb, meatless, high protein, and gluten free options.

These egg bites are part of the low carb lineup and the only traditional breakfast items in the entire Life Cuisine line (although I would eat the gluten-free pizzas or the high protein taco bowl for breakfast). These sous vide egg bites come in two varieties: 1) Tomato & Spinach Egg White (also comes with mozzarella) and 2) Uncured Turkey Bacon & Aged White Cheddar (also comes with cottage cheese).

How are they?

Life Cuisine Egg Bites Frozen

Life Cuisine Egg Bites Plated

Most frozen products don’t look particularly appetizing when pulled from the freezer and the same goes for these frozen mounds. After being prepared for two minutes in the microwave, the aesthetics of the product do not increase as the egg bites keep their shape, but do puff out a little. The puff foreshadows their fluffy and light taste, which is consistent with what one might expect from a sous vide-prepared product.

Both varieties have predominantly an egg taste with a hint of other flavors.

Life Cuisine Egg Bites Egg White

The Tomato & Spinach Egg White one naturally lacks some of the creaminess that yolk provides. I could faintly taste the tomato and spinach, but there is not nearly as much tomato and spinach as shown on the box, which is a little misleading. However, the mozzarella cheese does come through. I would also add more pepper and salt to this one.

Life Cuisine Egg Bites White Cheddar

The turkey bacon in the other variety is prevalent, which also adds some saltiness. This one is higher in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium (see nutrition facts below). There’s more bacon and cheese in this egg bite and they’re better distributed, which results in a slightly more flavorful product.

Anything else you need to know?

These are light tasting products, which is a nice way to start your day if you are eating these for breakfast. After eating two of them (one of each variety), I thought I might need to supplement my breakfast, but I was surprisingly not hungry. Thanks, protein!

However, it should be noted that I am a smaller-framed individual and I can definitely see others needing more than two egg bites or adding items to their breakfast to feel satisfied.

Conclusion:

Life Cuisine Egg Bites do the trick if you are looking for a light and adequate tasting, quick, easy, and relatively healthy breakfast. At the same time, you can probably also just scramble an egg.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free samples of the products. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 4.5 oz (1 package of 2 egg bites)
Purchased at: Received from Life Cuisine
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Uncured Turkey Bacon & Aged White Cheddar), 6 out of 10 (Tomato & Spinach Egg White)
Nutrition Facts: (1 package) Uncured Turkey Bacon & Aged White Cheddar – 280 calories, 18 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 185 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 0 grams of added sugars, and 18 grams of protein. Tomato & Spinach Egg White – 190 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 610 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 0 grams of added sugars, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Del Monte Veggieful Pocket Pies

Del Monte Veggiefuls Pocket Pies

What are Del Monte Veggieful Pocket Pies?

Last year, Del Monte Veggieful made its debut with pizza roll-sized snacks. This year, the veggie brand has moved up to Hot Pocket-sized foodstuffs. There are four varieties: Broccoli Potato Cheddar, Spinach Artichoke Parmesan, Rosemary Garlic Plant-Based Chicken, and Plant-Based Philly Cheesesteak.

Not only are there veggies in the pocket pies, but the crust is also made with cauliflower. All of it equals one serving of veggies per pie, which doesn’t sound like a lot if most of the ingredients are vegetables.

How are they?

Del Monte Veggieful Plant Based Philly Cheesesteak Split

The Plant-Based Philly Cheesesteak comes stuffed with bell peppers, onions, provolone cheese, and plant-based beef made from soy. The ingredients list also mentions something called Rochester sauce, which, after a quick Google search, I learned is a tomato-based sauce used on Garbage Plates and hot dogs. It all smells like a sizzling fajita plate.

Do I think Philly Cheesesteak when I eat it? No, I don’t think anyone will. I think vegetables in terms of taste and texture. There were times when I mistook the plant-based meat as a piece of bell pepper, and the provolone doesn’t seem to add any flavor.

Del Monte Veggieful Rosemary Garlic Plant Based Chicken Split

The Rosemary Garlic Plant-Based Chicken comes with plant-based chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. The texture of the “chicken” is similar to the “steak” in the Philly Cheesesteak one. But it’s the mushrooms that seem to make up most of the flavor. With most bites, it tastes like a lite version of cream of mushroom soup.

Del Monte Veggieful Spinach Artichoke Parmesan Split

With the Spinach Artichoke Parmesan one, I was expecting it to taste exactly like any spinach artichoke dip I’ve ever had. While it does have all the flavors of a spinach artichoke dip, and I could even feel the chew of the artichoke, it’s not as flavorful as any store-bought or homemade dip I’ve had.

Del Monte Veggieful Broccoli Potato Cheddar Split

While Broccoli Potato Cheddar ended up being my favorite, although not by a lot, I feel as if it could’ve been better.

After being microwaved, the green vegetable still has some snap, while the potato has some give instead of turning into complete mush. Unlike the provolone in the Philly Cheesesteak one, the cheddar cheese is a bit more noticeable here. With that said, I do wish there was more of it so that it’s creamier like I’m eating cheddar broccoli potato soup in a pocket pie-shaped bowl.

Anything else you need to know?

Unlike Hot Pockets, these do not come with crisping sleeves. There are two ways to prepare them: 1) microwave for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. 2) Stick in an oven for 27-32 minutes (varies between varieties).

If you prefer a crispier crust, go with the oven preparation. But after trying all four varieties both ways, I’m not sure getting a crispier and firmer crust is worth the wait. Plus, all the ones I’ve prepared in my toaster oven ended up slightly burnt.

Also, even though they’re made with vegetables, they aren’t like Lean Pockets, and they have as much protein as regular Hot Pockets.

Conclusion:

With all four Del Monte Veggieful Pocket Pie varieties, I wish they were a bit more flavorful. I feel as if they need something else, like a sauce, or more of an ingredient they already have to improve their flavors.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product from Del Monte. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2-packs
Purchased at: Received from Del Monte
Rating: 6 out of 10 (all varieties)
Nutrition Facts: (1 pie) Broccoli Potato Cheddar – 270 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 430 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. Spinach Artichoke Parmesan – 280 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein. Rosemary Garlic Plant-Based Chicken – 260 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein. Plant-Based Philly Cheesesteak – 260 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.

REVIEW: DiGiorno Croissant Crust Pizza

DiGiorno Croissant Crust Pizza  Pepperoni and Four Cheese

What is DiGiorno’s Croissant Crust Pizza?

DiGiorno has added a 10th crust line with its new Croissant Crust pizza. The Nestlé PR gurus tout that this innovation combines the goodness of a croissant with “It’s Not Delivery!” to create a unique twist. It launched with three different toppings: Pepperoni, Three Meat, and Four Cheese. But, I was only able to find two: Pepperoni and Four Cheese.

How is it?

Sometimes marketing speak is way too lofty. In this case, though, I do think it’s a unique twist. It’s not something that I’ve seen from the pizza delivery giants nor other frozen pizza brands. Another aspect that speaks to its uniqueness is that I didn’t have a frame of reference for what a croissant crust pizza should be like. However, unique and a 10 out of 10 rating are not synonymous.

DiGiorno Croissant Crust Pizza Crust Closeup Uncooked

They say you eat with your eyes first, and I immediately nitpicked at the lack of lamination on both. The uncooked layers looked more like a biscuit than a refined French croissant. Even in its pre-baked state, I picked up on a very buttery smell that reminded me of the way Pillsbury biscuit dough smells. While I was appreciative it wasn’t an artificial or overpowering movie theatre popcorn butter smell, it unfortunately further reinforced biscuit.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Croissant Crust Pizza

DiGiorno Four Cheese Croissant Crust Pizza

I was also a little peeved that there were ONLY 19 pieces of pepperoni. After the baking process, my perception changed because the 19 produced quite an amount of grease. So, the skimping worked out well. Four cheese, on the other hand, was the perfect amount of molten stringy goodness. I wouldn’t be able to tell you which “100% real” cheese is which to save my life, but it was enjoyable.

DiGiorno Croissant Crust Pizza Crust Closeup

A key win is that the crust created a firmer texture like an elementary school cafeteria pizza. I know that may sound like an off-putting comparison, but it conjures a lot of nostalgia for me. It also speaks to the fact that there was not a soggy crust in sight!

DiGiorno Croissant Crust Pizza Crust Closeup Side

It actually flaked nicely like a croissant, and surprisingly not like a biscuit. Also, when I was cutting it, I could hear a bit of the crispy crackly like the top of a croissant. The butter smell and taste were still prevalent, but with the harder and crispier texture, I was able to get past the biscuit context.

Anything else you need to know?

The mark of a solid pizza is how it tastes when it’s cold. These did lose a bit of the croissant flakiness, but the flavors were still there.

Conclusion:

At this price point, I’d place this in the Little Caesars $5 Hot & Ready realm. In most instances, I’d probably only pick this over a Hot & Ready if I had enough room in my small freezer, which unfortunately isn’t often enough.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 25 oz. (Pepperoni), 25.3 oz. (Four Cheese)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pepperoni), 8 out of 10 (Four Cheese)
Nutrition Facts: (1/5 Pizza) Pepperoni – 380 calories, 20 grams of fat, 780 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein. Four Cheese – 370 calories, 18 grams of fat, 680 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites

Finally, some innovation in the frozen breakfast aisle!

Not since its Stuffed Hash Browns have I’ve been excited for one of Jimmy Dean’s new launches. This time around, it is tackling breakfast casseroles and turning into them into heat-and-eat bites. Jimmy Dean’s Casserole Bites are available in three flavors – French Toast, Meat Lovers, and Sausage, Egg & Cheese.

All three are bite-sized dollop concoctions, just a tad larger than a quarter. They have a breading base filled with a different combination of ingredients based on the flavor. Let’s dig in!

French Toast

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites French Toast Pouch

First up is French toast, which is made with French toast, pork sausage, and scrambled eggs. This one is noticeably darker than the other two and has a potent maple flavor when you get up close to it. It’s definitely on the sweet side with maple syrup being the main taste, but cinnamon comes in intensely and the sausage bits were large and prevalent. When biting into one of those bits it offered a nice smoky, salty punch that counteracted all the sweetness. The eggs were the hardest to taste individually, but I don’t think I missed them.

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites French Toast

As I was eating these, I kept thinking this thing tastes so familiar, what is it? Then it hit me like a late night hangover. Remember the Television Room in Willy Wonka where the items being transported shrunk? Well, imagine taking a McDonald’s Sausage McGriddle and it being put into a smaller form. BOOM! That is 100% exactly what these taste like. It is crazy how much I thought I was eating the remnants of one. If you are a McGriddles fan in any way, shape, or form, you will gobble these up. They are sweet and delicious.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces – about 3 servings per container) – 220 calories, 12 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 160 milligrams of cholesterol, 320 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites Sausage Egg  Cheese Pouch

Next up is Sausage, Egg & Cheese containing scrambled eggs, pork sausage, cheese, and potatoes. Whereas the French Toast one was very sweet, this one is on the opposite side of the spectrum i.e. all kinds of savory. This one definitely has a lot more going on with the sausage, potato bits, and cheese, but they all work together.

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites Sausage Egg  Cheese

Remember how in Willy Wonka each child got their own distinct moment to shine throughout the factory tour? The elements here mimic that as the sausage, potato, and cheese all come through at different times, offering a nice flavor profile.

However, it is definitely sodium heavy, so it is a bit overpowering on the salt side of things. I also kind of wish Jimmy Dean went with more hash brown-style potatoes. A nice stringy component would have made things more texturally interesting to go along with the gobs of sausage and gobs of eggs. These are good, just a bit salty.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Purchased at: Shoprite
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces) – 190 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of cholesterol, 580 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

Meat Lovers

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites Meat Lovers Pouch

Finally is Meat Lovers, which contains scrambled eggs, pork sausage, cheese, bacon, and potatoes. This one confuses me all around. When I think of “meat lovers,” it’s usually at least three meats, not just two, right? Also, when you have one sausage option, shouldn’t the other one be bacon? AAAHHH, so many questions!!!

Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites Meat Lovers

Regardless of the confusion of this one and ironically, even though it contains more components, it ended up being the most one-note for me. Remember Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka, the spoiled brat who always wanted everything to revolve around her? Well here Veruca is the bacon as it is a strong flavor and one that usually takes over, which is exactly what is happening here. It’s also maybe because there were tiny bits of bacon rather than larger chunks.

The potato and sausage pieces pretty much vanish into bacon oblivion. This one is again a bit salty, but it’s hard to argue with the meaty bacon flavor. Bacon aficionados, this one is definitely for you!

Purchased Price: $5.99
Purchased at: Shoprite
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces) – 200 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 185 milligrams of cholesterol, 560 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

Other things

  • I hope these do well so that Jimmy Dean could do a few Delights options. Healthier versions with some veggies would be divine!
  • I wouldn’t recommend buying all three of these as the sausage and meat lover ones are so close in execution. Definitely get the French Toast one as is it a fantastic and flavorful sweet option. I still can’t believe how much it tastes like McGriddles. It’s unbelievable! To keep my theme going, maybe there is some Wonka magic involved?! If you grab a second, definitely go for the Sausage, Egg & Cheese unless bacon is your number one breakfast meat of choice. If that is the case, do the Meat Lovers.

REVIEW: Smucker’s Uncrustables Roll-Ups

Smucker s Uncrustables Turkey  Colby Jack Roll Ups

What are Smucker’s Uncrustables Turkey & Colby Jack and Uncured Ham & Cheddar Roll-Ups?

Uncrustables branches out into more than just round crust-less pocket sandwiches with the launch of two new thaw-and-eat roll-ups. One is Turkey and Colby Jack that contains smoked turkey breast, Colby, Monterey Jack, and Neufchâtel cheeses with seasoning in flatbread. The other is uncured ham and cheddar consisting of uncured ham, cheddar, and Neufchâtel cheeses in flatbread.

Smucker s Uncrustables Uncured Ham  Cheddar Roll Ups

How are they?

These are adorable little lunch meat pinwheels, just like if a sushi roll and a sandwich for your lunch box had a baby. Both flavors are presented in perfectly bite-sized morsels and, considering that they were just frozen, the flatbread turns out surprisingly well as it is nice and soft. A little pillowy even!!

Smucker s Uncrustables Turkey  Colby Jack Roll Ups Closeup
Smucker’s Uncrustables Turkey & Colby Jack Roll-Ups Closeup

The components are well balanced here. Flatbread softness comes in upon the first bite, followed by the punch of the cheese. For the Turkey one, the finish is a nice blend of seasoning, definitely an oniony garlic flavor. The ham one doesn’t have any seasoning for some reason, but maybe it’s because the ham’s flavor is stronger and offers a savory, briny ending to the roll.

Smucker s Uncrustables Uncured Ham  Cheddar Roll Ups Closeup
Smucker’s Uncrustables Uncured Ham & Cheddar Roll-Ups Closeup

I was unfamiliar with Neufchâtel cheese before this and couldn’t believe that these contain such a fancy cheese. I’m mean just look at that circumflex!!! (It’s the line above the a so you pronounce it like “ah”) I dissected the roll-up and it has a cream cheese-like consistency and flavor. Without a condiment like mustard or mayo, this helped to give another dimension, a nice creamy aspect, to the whole experience.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Smucker s Uncrustables Roll Ups Wrapers

Lots of directions on these: Keep frozen until ready to thaw. Thaw for two hours, eat immediately. For on-the-go use, include ice pack, eat within six hours. Do not microwave. Do not refreeze once thawed. The most important one is the second one. Make sure you wait a full two hours before indulging. I got a little anxious on these my first try and bit into frozen meat. Not pleasant at all.

These also seem to be a resurgence for the Uncrustables brand. There are two heat and eat options (hyperlink to spotting of those other flavors?) that debuted at the same time. KEEP ‘EM COMING SMUCKERS!!!! Can you let me know why a fluffernutter OG one has not happened yet, though? Thanks.

Conclusion:

I haven’t had Uncrustables in a while, so I was super excited to try these new offerings. And even with my high expectations, I was blown away by them. They are delicious! A perfect little multi-layered snack, and I probably could have downed both boxes if I wasn’t careful.

I have always been a turkey fan over ham so I would have to give that one the edge. Also, the seasoning on that one was a nice touch. You can’t go wrong with either one, though, and I would highly recommend these for kid’s lunch boxes and for all the kid-like adults longing for a scrumptious snack to bring them back to the simple time of their childhood innocence.

Purchased Price: $4.99 each
Size: 7.8 oz. box/3 pouches
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 10 out of 10 (Turkey & Colby Jack), 9 out of 10 (Uncured Ham & Cheddar)
Nutrition Facts: (1 pouch) Turkey & Colby Jack – 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein. Uncured Ham & Cheddar – 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 470 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smucker’s Uncrustables Taco Bites and BBQ Chicken Bites

Smucker s Uncrustables Taco Bites and BBQ Chicken Bites

What are Smucker’s Uncrustables Taco Bites and BBQ Chicken Bites?

Smucker’s Uncrustables is stepping outside of its proven sweet-based lineup and into the savory space with two heat-and-eat “meat in bread” items — BBQ Chicken Bites and Taco Bites. Uncrustables has done grilled cheese before, but now we’re talking full-on USDA approved animal products, ya’ll.

How are they?

First, let’s assume these are targeted toward and made for kids. They have a different palate than (most) adults, so I set my expectations at “they should be as good as any other kid-food option.”

Smucker s Uncrustables Taco Bites 2

I started with the Taco Bites, hoping for that standard taco seasoning flavor and some cheesy goodness since the front of the package said these included cheese. I used the printed microwave heating directions since there weren’t any for a toaster oven.

Smucker s Uncrustables Taco Bites 3

Biting into these was like biting into a black hole. I know my jaw closed, but around what? The bread on the outside was a dry whole wheat bun. There was an aftertaste of taco seasoning like it was a distant childhood memory, but that was about it. The filling-to-bread ratio was way off, with every bite being mostly dry bread followed by a little bit of the beef crumble.

Smucker s Uncrustables Taco Bites 4

For the second bite in the pouch, I tore off the top layer of bread and folded the rest in half to try to simulate doubling the meat filling. This was much better and led to my discovering that the seasoning on the beef itself is pretty good when it’s not battling the flavor sucking sponge of the whole wheat bun prison it’s delivered in. I predict many a kid will eat the yummy filling and leave the bread exoskeleton behind.

Smucker s Uncrustables BBQ Chicken Bites 5

With my expectations significantly lowered, I moved on to the BBQ Chicken Bites. The same microwave directions had my food ready in 40 seconds.

Smucker s Uncrustables BBQ Chicken Bites 6

The bread used in the BBQ Chicken version was SO MUCH BETTER. It was moist (yeah, I said it) almost like a wheat brioche and was an immediate improvement. The filling was too sweet for my BBQ preferences, but, again, assuming this is for kids, I can see why it leaned into sweet BBQ instead of smoky or savory. The poultry pieces were surprisingly large and looked like legit whole shredded chicken breast meat. There was also a definitive sauciness to the inside that was lacking in the taco version.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I mean, they certainly don’t have a crust. Moniker appeased.

Also, I can see where the crazed parent, desperate to get food into their screaming hungry kid’s mouth, would appreciate something that’s pretty impressively balanced in nutrition and ready in 40 seconds.

Conclusion:

I’m always a fan when a brand innovates outside of its proven space. I think these bites, overall, were designed for kids with care and consideration (I mean, only 170 milligrams of sodium in two BBQ Chicken Bites means someone was paying attention when these were developed).

That being said, the Taco Bites have a lot of room for improvement (please switch the bread. PLEASE!) before I’d buy them again. The Chicken BBQ Bites were pretty delicious even for “kid food,” and I’ll be happy to munch on them as afternoon snacks (there’s not enough food to be an adult meal, that’s for sure) until they’re gone.

Purchased Price: $3.99 each
Size: 6 oz. box/3 pouches
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Taco Bites), 7 out of 10 (BBQ Chicken Bites)
Nutrition Facts: (1 twin pack pouch) Taco Bites – 160 Calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. BBQ Chicken Bites – 130 Calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.