Mac & Cheese Michelina’s vs Stouffer’s

As I’ve mentioned before I love making macaroni and cheese from scratch but I also like testing out pre-made versions as well.  Some are terrible and some great like the very hard to find Howard Johnson’s brand mac & cheese.  I’m actually not sure if it’s even still made, it’s been at least two years since I found it anywhere.  I remember the last time I had Stouffer’s mac & cheese.  It was 2001 and had been dating Ethan for a few months.  I came over his place after working late and eating a Stouffer’s mac & cheese and around 11pm started a vomit fest in his bathroom.  I couldn’t even go to work the next day, I was too exhausted from puking all night.  Someone said it sounded like it had been thawed out and then put in the freezer again so I’m guessing that’s what happened.  Somehow I put that memory aside and Ethan and I evaluated Stouffer’s against Michelina’s.

Stouffer’s:
Looks a little too familliar to my last experience but it tasted okay. Ethan liked that it had a lot of sauce and has a good cheese flavor. I felt like it was lacking a little sharpness to the cheese flavor but I did like the well-cooked pasta.

Michelina’s:
Ethan didn’t like the lack of sauce.  We both liked the flavor of the cheese but Ethan felt there just wasn’t enough  of it.  I like of liked that it wasn’t swimming in sauce and to me the flavor got to all the macaroni fine and tasted a little more realsitic than Stouffer’s.

Wrap up:
Split.  Ethan preffered the abundance of sauce of Stouffer’s and I liked the flavor of Michelina’s.  Both had pleasantly cooked pasta and neither of us threw up after 🙂

Michelina's or Stouffer's?

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Cheetos Crunchy vs Crunchy Kurls

I never heard of Vinter’s before.  They’re from Chicago and I lived there for a year but never noticed them, although that was in my pre-snack evaluating days.  I checked out their website, and they have quite an extensive product list.  I don’t know how but they managed to make it to the Dollar Tree in Ashland, MA. 
This bag came in a variety pack, withcorn chips and cheese puffs but since “Kurls” is spelled with a K I decided to evaluate them.

Cheetos:

Cheetos have a nice tanginess to the cheese flavoring.  They also have a very satisfying crunch.  It seems a little weird but I liked tasting the oil in each bite and although the oil had a presence, it didn’t make the crunch heacy and they’re not oily to the touch.

Vinters:

These had a little less cheese flavor to them.  Well, they had decent flavor but didn’t have that tanginess, which gives Cheetos a little something extra.  The crunch was also lacking – but, I will give them a break since these were at the dollar store and not bought anywhere near the Chicagoland area.

Wrap up:
I like to support the little guy and they may not have been given a fair shake this round, but Ethan and I both preferred the Cheetos version because of the strong flavor and delightful crunch and texture.

Cheetos or Vinter's?

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SkyBar vs SkyBar


As I’ve posted before, I love Sky Bars.  I recently saw this new Twilight version and was baffled why they did this.  Sky Bar is made my NECCO (New England Confectionery Company) and I found that a lot of people outside (and actually a good amount inside) of New England are not familiar with these so how did an international phenomenon team up with such a regional candy? 
Also just as confusing is why they cut down the awesomeness of SkyBar from four to three sections.  Yeah, there’s three main characters in the movie they’re promoting, but that’s not what SkyBar is all about!  Twilight should have picked another candy that could accommodate them and keep it’s format.
SkyBar:

My previous post about SkyBar’s images fell victim to geocities but you can read about it here.  There are 4 compartments: Fudge, peanut, vanilla and caramel.  Fudge is like…fudge, peanut is more like a peanut goo, vanilla is marshmallow and caramel is what it sounds like.  I’ll save some time and report that Sky Bar keeps it’s reliability – unless of course it’s old which is the risk you run when buying these because they’re not the most popular candy at the store but when they’re fresh, they’re awesome.

Twilight version :

The skyBar-gone-Hollywood, only features the vanilla, caramel and peanut.  The peanut is a peanut butter filling instead of the goo which is okay, the vanilla seemed pretty much the same as well as the caramel.
In general, the big disappointment was the missing fudge, which is my favorite part of the SkyBar.

Wrap up:
I can’t get over the amputation of the fourth flavor, it’s just so wrong and I’m also sick of seeing these kids from the movie all over the place who are too cool to crack a smile.  The wolf guy seems like you might be able to have a half-normal conversation with him, but the other two just look like they have nothing going through their heads – all the time.  I know that doesn’t effect the taste of candy but it doesn’t help.  I’ll take a traditional SkyBar any day.

SkyBar: Normal or Twilight?

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Swiss Rolls: Mrs. Freshley’s vs Little Debbie


 

 
We’ve done Swiss Rolls a few times and Ethan and have preferredthe Little Debbie version but we’re always up for finding and excuse to eat these so when we found Mrs. Freshley’s verison, we were happy to evaluate.

Mrs. Freshley’s:
We didn’t expect much from these but they smelled good.  Upon biting in to this we both found the cake to be very moist and soft.  The vanilla creme is really the star of the show, it was so creamy and delicious.  Ethan said the only thing not really amazing was the chocolate, it didn’t taste all that chocolatey but the creme was so good, it made up for the lack of chocolate flavor. 

 

Little Debbie:
Little Deb was held it’s shape a little better but the cake was just a teeny bit dryer (to me, not to Ethan).  We did notice there was even more of an absence of chocolate flavor.  Ehtan said it tasted more like a Twinkie than a Swiss Roll. Then I noticed that it actually smelled exactly like a Twinkie
 too!

 
Wrap up:
We’d still eat a Little Deb Swiss Roll but were really impressed with the Mrs. Freshly’s roll, it was just so delightful.  A surprise but for the first time we’ll say Little Deb Swiss Rolls has a superior.

Swiss Rolls: Little Debbie or Mrs. Freshley's?

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Scooter Pie vs Moon Pie

I’ve heard of Moon Pies and not sure if I’ve heard of Scooter Pies but somehow managed not to have any experience with either until today.  I thought it was kind of interesting that both claim to be “the Original”.
These seem to have such tasty potential: Chocolate, cookie and marshmallow.  What could go wrong?

Scooter Pie:
So…I guess something happened on the way home from the store because when I opened the package, the marshmallow was squished out of the “sandwich”.  It turns out it that didn’t really matter.  The marshmallow didn’t have he capability to go far as it’s was like a thick, bouncy glue. 
Ethan and I were surprised that it didn’t taste very good.  The marshmallow was blah, the chocolate was pretty much undetectable and I thought the cookie had kind of a chemical taste, Ethan thought he tasted a hint of banana.
The cookie texture was odd to us too: not crisp but not soft.  Like stale but according to the expiration date, it wasn’t due for the trash until the end of next month.

Moon Pie:
Moon Pie looked better but I guess just because it had a less traumatic ride home from the store.  I haven’t done any research, so I don’t know if these are secretly owned by the same master company  but we found this to taste identically – which we both described as “gross”

Wrap up:
I feel a little bad not liking either of these because I know one of these must be very popular but neither were edible beyond 2 bites.  Fake chocolate, gluey marshmallow and stale-like cookies were all we tasted.
I can imagine a home-made version of these would be fantastic though.

Scooter or Moon Pies?

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Glad there’s only one of: Red Velvet Creme Cakes

I was at a rest stop somewhere on the Oregon/California border and saw these Red Velvet Twinkie-like creme cakes and thought they’d be interesting to try.
I brought them back to my sister’s house and she, my brother-in-law, Ethan and I gave them a try.

So…not so interesting.  These cakes were pretty tasteless. Zac, my brother-in-law described them as too airy and that t was like they tried to use as little flour as possible.  You’d think that would result in a nice, fluffy cake but they definitely lacked some sort of substance.  These crumbled very easily and were hard to enjoy.  We all agreed these were a disappointment – too bad I thought i stumbled upon a little treasure.

Red Velvet Creme Cakes

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Pirates Booty vs Miners Gold

 One of the great snack inventions of the 90’s (?) is Pirate’s Booty. I used to love the Veggie Booty but I think I OD’d on it a few years ago  I forget where we found the Miner’s Gold but of course we couldn’t pass up comparing it against the boot-ay.

Pirate’s Booty:
Booty is puffy and provides a soft crunch.  These are made from corn and rice but the corn is the more detectable taste.  The cheese flavor is mild but enough to satisfy.  Ethan said this is a snack he could eat the whole bag of and not feel full.

Miner’s Gold:
Gold is similar in texture, although not quite as crunch.   When we ate these we immediately noticed a difference in flavor.  The cheese is different, we couldn’t really put words with the taste but Ethan described it as “gross” and we kind of agreed it was sharper, but still something wrong with it, kind of like a sour taste.

Wrap up:
Pirate’s Booty wins for us.  The more satisfying crunch and more pleasant cheese flavor makes it a winner.
I’d say Miner’s Gold is okay if nothing else is around, it’s not the worst but I wouldn’t buy it as a first choice.

Pirate's Booty or Miner's Gold?

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Mini Raviolis vs Raviolios

I had only seen Raviolios in an old cookbook from 1981 and just assumed they were discontinued since I never see them.  As an open request, if anyone has an ad or photo of an old Raviolio can, can I have a copy?   I’d love to be able to use it on differentbutthesame.
The grocery store near me is terrible and is always out of what I’m looking for, or the person at the service desk is rude or all the lettuce is wilted etc… and they didn’t have regular Chef Boyardee Raviolo, just 95% fat free, overstuffed, Italian sausage and mini.  So I got mini and it actually worked out that they’re the same size as Raviolios!

Mini Ravioli:
We were surprised that the sauce was kind of watery. In general, these were pretty bland.  I do like how the pasta was mushy, for some reason it works so nicely in canned pasta. The meat in the ravioli was pretty much undetectable.  It wasn’t bad though and Ethan called it “acceptable”.

Raviolios:
These are a little prettier to look at with their scalloped edges.  They seem to be a filled more too and the meat filling has much more of a presence than the Chef’s version.  Also we liked that the sauce was thicker and in general this product had more flavor.  Ethan said it reminded him of pizza flavor so there’s probably a little cheese in there too.

Wrap up:
We both went with Raviolios.  I was surprised since we favored Chef last time we evaluated him against a Campbell’s product.  It wasn’t just the thrill of finding a product I thought was discontinued years ago but the Raviolios were much more satisfying consistency and flavor.

Mini Ravioli or Raviolios?

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Brown’N Serve vs Sizzle & Serve


I don’t have much of an intro for this one except that we used to get Brown and Serve sausage on occasion and I remember it being okay.  I also remember it being Swift Premium Brown’N Serve but it looks like Banquet has taken over.  Too bad because I liked the old box better but I guess I didn’t buy it enough to even notice they got bought out by Banquet, or who ever owns Banquet.

Brown’N Serve:
I actually lost my notes on this whole evaluation but I do remember we bough thought this was okay.  The thing about these are that they have a kind of spongy texture, which is a little weird at first they tasted decent enough to accept it as just a characteristic of super processed meat.  They do have a generous amount of fat in them too, which almost spills out when bit into.

Sizzle & Serve:
These seemed even spongier but less flavor.  Ethan said if he tasted this blindfolded that he might not even know what it was.  I felt like it wasn’t that bad but definitely not as flavorful as the Brown’N Serve.
Wrap up:
Brown’N Serve wins with us but I think it’ll be another few years before I have these again. There is just so much grease to really feel okay about eating all the time.

Brown'N Serve or Sizzle & Serve?

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Tic-Tac vs Great Bite


 

I always liked Tic Tacs when I was a little kid because I felt like I was taking “my pills” just like grandma.  It sounds ridiculous but I guess it was better than actually going through my grandmother’s bag and actually taking her pills.
Aaaaanyway, I saw these Great Bite mints and while they came in a few flavors, i picked orange because that’s the only flavor of Tic Tac I’d ever get.  I always thought it was very considerate of Tic Tac to offer a non-mint option for those of us who weren’t up for that type of flavor.

Tic Tac:
These are perfect little ovals that used to boast being “One and a half calories” but they’re not 1.9 calories, not that it realy matter but I wondered what happened there.  Ethan and I noticed that it takes a little bit of rolling these around in the mouth to get to the orange flavor.  At first I thought I got a dud but then the orange flavor revealed itself and it had a pleasantly strong flavor.  Ethan liked how when he got to the point of biting down it was a little soft and broke up nicely.  I agreed.

Great Bite:
These guys have a cute little bite taken out of each piece.  They are similar to Tic Tacs in the way that we didn’t taste the flavor immediately.  Ethan thought the flavor was like orange sherbet.  It tasted pretty much the same as Tic Tac but the center was harder when bitten down on and tasted like a sweet tart.
Wrap up: 
Ethan liked the Tic Tacs better and I felt like they were too similar to really care.  I did notice Great Bite tasting like a sweet tart but I didn’t mind it and I didn’t miss it either if I was eating the Tic Tac.  So really I think both of these server their purpose well but Ethan will stand by the Tic Tacs.

Tic Tac or Great Bite?

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