Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Baked Ziti – Food Review

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I’m feeling guilty.  Guilty for buying this.

It’s not that this is bad.  It’s just that it doesn’t live up to expectations.  With similar frozen boxed entrées going for about a dollar on sale,  it’s hard to justify the $1.99 price TJ is asking for this pasta in a box variant.

While TJ classifies this as a quick meal, with 6 minutes of microwave cooking time, it’s a slow form of quick.  The box advises 2 minutes on “defrost” and then 4 minutes on high.  However the time is in line with similar frozen entrées.

As the box is taken from the microwave, you’ll probably notice a nice aroma of tomato sauce.  From there it’s pretty much down hill.  The aroma must have sucked every bit of tomato flavor out of the box.  While the sauce itself is okay, there isn’t all that much flavor to it.  The ziti are pasta by definition.  And, pasta is pasta.  There’s not much flavor in pasta noodles.  While the word “baked” implies a pasta dish covered with tons of melted mozzarella cheese, you’ll be disappointed to find that definition is not validated here.  There’s very little cheese looking stuff.  I suppose that’s how the guilt was reduced?

Trader Joe labels this as “Vegetarian” and a “Quick Meal”.

In summary, this is basically frozen leftover pasta and sauce.  It’s not any different from what most people do the next day after having pasta for dinner.  Except, yours will heat faster because it’s not frozen.  If you’d like to try making your own guilty leftover baked ziti pasta, try this recipe.  Substitute ziti pasta for the penne pasta, if you like.

Calories  320   Price  $1.99

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