Saturday, July 20, 2019

Main St. Kitchen Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli Frozen Entree (Dollar Tree)

If you enjoy eating food for the flavor, pass this right on by.

The last time I was in the market for some frozen foods at Dollar Tree, was the first time I laid eyes on Main St. Kitchen: its sleek packaging standing out among the sea of poor-quality meats and other frozen dollar oddities. Now, a month or so later, I was in the market again, looking to grab a quick meal for work. And wouldn’t you know it that they had introduced not one, but two new flavors since then, including this fettuccine alfredo with broccoli, the first and only option I’ve seen from them that completely omits any form of meat whatsoever. How would this one fare?

My interest was piqued right off the bat after pulling out the microwaved entree, when I noticed that the sauce is generously spread over the noodles, which look as they should (like fettuccine noodles). There are also quite a few good-sized broccoli chunks spread throughout, making the overall appearance look rather appetizing for a cheap frozen meal.

Unfortunately, the taste is the tradeoff for the appealing initial impressions: the sauce is thin and tastes virtually nonexistent. Somehow, even though there appears to be a lot of sauce on the entrĂ©e, most bites still seem to taste like plain noodle, as if the sauce is merely a mirage that disappears the moment you put it in your mouth—the end result is as bland and disappointing as that makes it sound.

Alas, the real “star” of this dish is the broccoli, which is never a good sign…for anyone, really. (Think about it: what dish has ever made you say “Wow, this broccoli is really good!”) It’s cooked well, with a nice texture, a light touch of “crunch” (though not so much that it feels undercooked) and even a little bit of juiciness. That the veggie in the dish is not only the only thing giving it flavor, but the sole thing that prevents it from being a completely bland mess of nothingness, is a testament to just how...bleh this whole thing is.

At $1 per 9 oz package, which is an ounce more than similar name brands, this is a fairly decent deal, and at only 220 calories per package, it’s also a surprisingly decent choice for those watching their figures, at least as far as Dollar Tree frozen meals are concerned. And it doesn’t just stop there: one package contains just 3g of fat, 10mg of cholesterol, 3g of dietary fiber, and a whopping 11g of protein, which is pretty excellent for a TV dinner. Of course, the salt content (500 mg) is still pretty high, but lower than most regular name brands.

If you’re on a diet, or just looking for a healthy option, this might suffice; anyone looking for things like “flavor” or “deliciousness” should keep right on looking.

Overall: 4.5/10. An uninspiring—though somewhat healthy—frozen meal whose main noteworthy quality is an almost complete lack of flavor (save for the broccoli). It does have much less fat and cholesterol than many other TV dinners, and is probably the healthiest frozen thing inside a Dollar Tree store, though, so it potentially fills a niche. The $1 price point is pretty good for non-discerning folk—but for anyone who actually wants to enjoy the taste of their sodium-packed frozen sadness should pick up almost literally anything else.

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