Sunday, August 4, 2019

Main Street Kitchen Creamy Chicken Rigatoni (Dollar Tree)


Well, this one went against my expectations...
I have had three other flavors of Main St. Kitchen’s frozen meals that I’ve come across in Dollar Tree stores, and was pretty much underwhelmed with all of them. Let’s continue that trend with their rigatoni with chicken, shall we?

Once again, there’s a generous amount of sauce on the noodles, but I’m not going to be fooled that easily this time…I know chances are it’s thin and will just slide off every time I go to take a bite. I’m also happy to see a strongly reduced broccoli presence as compared to the fettuccine alfredo, although the trade-off to this is the addition of some chicken to the proceedings. There are quite a few bite-sized pieces of meat scattered throughout…just the right amount, if you ask me. Mass-produced frozen chicken can get kinda weird if you dwell on it too much, but since the pieces are smaller, it's easier to force them down without much thought.

Tastewise, it’s the same disappointing blandness from the…wait a minute, no…this one is surprisingly good! I don’t know why, but I expected the sauce to be similar to an alfredo, since I clearly didn’t read the package beforehand (and am nowhere near a connoisseur of rigatoni). Instead, we are treated to a “basil parmesan” sauce, which is apparently much better suited for a frozen TV dinner than an alfredo is. It’s not nearly as thin as the alfredo sauce was, as it clings to the noodle and provides each bite with what tastes like garlicky goodness. It’s obviously nothing outstanding, but it’s—at the very least—on par with similar frozen entrees I’ve tried. And for $1, you can’t go wrong with that.

Like Main Street Kitchen’s other options, a mere dollar gets you a solid 9 oz. of pasta flavor, along with some reduced fat, cholesterol, and a heaping helping of protein, making it one of the healthier options inside Dollar Tree freezers. But you wouldn't know that from the packaging—I'm really surprised they don't harp on the “health benefits” more like these companies frequently do. Looking at the box, it just looks like your typical frozen option, instead of a somewhat better alternative to a lot of other ones. Considering DT has gotten blasted for catering junk food to low-income families, you would think they'd be looking at any possible way to reverse that trend.

Thankfully, though, unlike a majority of their other flavors I’ve tried, this one doesn’t taste like a diet option, and that is why I would definitely grab this one again in the future, and why it's earning my personal recommendation (which, translated to cash value, is actually less than $.02).

Overall: 7/10. It’s no different in taste when compared to similar frozen entrees…but considering the reduced fat, cholesterol, and strong protein content, not to mention the $1 price tag, that makes that statement more of a compliment than a concern. The basil parmesan sauce is shockingly pretty good, and is thick enough that the sauce doesn't fall off the noodle, a serious problem I had with their alfredo sauce. This is the top Main Street Kitchen product I've tried, and the only one I would grab again in the not-too-distant future. If you ever find yourself in Dollar Tree looking for a quick meal that (probably) won't completely destroy your health regiment, this is the one to get.

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