Sunday, March 10, 2019

Main Street Kitchen Three Cheese Ziti with Meat Sauce (Dollar Tree)

It's not good, but at least it's not offensively bad.
Well what do we have here? Why, it's another offering from Main Street Kitchen, a frozen food product made by the conglomerate known as Kraft-Heinz! Just like the last product we reviewed from them (see above), this one is also a dish that could be made without meat, but with meat added. Are there just large mountains of unused meats that they are trying to get rid of in that factory, or what?

Anyway, this one is another pasta dish known as ziti, and featuring the aforementioned meat sauce on top. I have to confess that I'm not real familiar with ziti; if memory serves me correctly, the only other time I've had it was at Sbarro's, that depressing “Italian” pizza joint found at virtually every shitty mall across the entire United States. Unsurprisingly, I was pretty underwhelmed then, and I wasn't expecting a frozen entree to really do much to that impression.

The first thing I gotta say is that the noodles are nice and big, and there was also a pretty good helping of sauce to go throughout. The cheese was basically relegated to “topping” duty—there was a little sprinkle that seemed to be thrown on top as an afterthought, as there wasn't really enough to carry me through the whole meal, but I guess it did manage to give it some extra color, if nothing else.

When it said "three cheese blend", I didn't know it meant three strands of shredded cheese.
The taste is…well, as it was with the white cheddar macaroni and cheese, the taste is about what you would expect: a watered-down version of what I imagine ziti should be, with an uninspiring tomato sauce, and, to its credit, quite a bit of beef crumbles spread throughout for texture (and additional heartiness). In fact, the very meat that lead me to scoff at its inclusion was probably the best part of the entree, giving it a meaty texture that makes the whole dish feel more filling than it probably is. The large noodles also help in that regard, and achieve a nice texture when cooked in the microwave. As I did with the white cheddar mac and cheese (see above), I would call this a typical frozen supermarket offering, which won’t qualify as “high praise”, but considering the quality of some of the foods I’ve tried from Dollar Tree, it’s certainly not as much of a knock as it probably should be.

The 9 oz. packaging offers quite a bit of food for the price. I definitely wouldn’t go so far as to call it “filling”, but I’m a constantly-hungry man, so depending on your level of hunger, it very well may go a little bit farther for you. As with the other one I tried (and virtually all frozen dinners in general) there is a lot of sodium, cholesterol, and fat to go around, but it's at least partially offset by a good helping of protein.

So, would I get this again? Probably not; if I ever did, it would certainly only be out of convenience and price, rather than taste. But I won't stop you from giving it a shot: if you're in the mood for something a little different than Dollar Tree's typical frozen offerings, you could do worse than to take a trip down Main Street. At the very least, you'll feel happy knowing you're helping a corporate giant help to get their struggling monopolistic corporate entity back on the right path.

Overall: 5/10. Average in every way, with a thin tomato sauce overrun with big chunks of meat that, sadly, end up becoming the best part of the whole dish. Hope you don't like cheese much, because there's only a small sprinkle on the top that seems to be thrown in as an afterthought—might not be a bad idea to dig into your own cheese stash to liven things up a little bit. I probably won't ever get it again, but there are no doubt worse ways to spend a buck within the walls of a Dollar Tree store.

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