I like frozen Italian food, especially lasagna. Thanks to their free coupon, I recently picked up a box of Michael Angelo's meat lasagna to try. I do have to go out of my way to get this as Michael Angelo's isn't available where I usually shop. And I had to get the family size since the single serving wasn't available there. That is probably my biggest complaint about them. I want more varieties in more stores of their food. I really wanted to try their veggie lasagna, but it just wasn't an option there.
Three things they stress with their foods are family owned, natural, and small batch cooking. The family-owned highlights Michael Angelo and his mom Sara, who starred in the DVD, and how they're cooking their grandmother's recipes. Yes, there really is a Michael Angelo. His grandmother emigrated from Sicily through Ellis Island some time ago.
By natural, we're talking no fillers nor preservatives in their ingredients. Their lasagna ingredients are literally just tomatoes, pasta, cheeses, water, beef, egg, soy oil, salt, spices, garlic, olive oil, sugar, and fresh parsley. Sugar? Yes, they add sugar. I never add that to mine when I make it. Comparing their ingredients to Stouffer's, Stouffer's has nearly all of the same as Micheal Angelo's, and then some. Theirs also includes potassium chloride, lactic acid, calcium lactate, corn starch, soy protein, and even colour. Wow, and I eat this? Guess they're shooting to save money with the soy protein instead of all ground beef. I really should read ingredients more. Taking things a step further, Michael Angelo's even has a Natural line of products. Think organic and antibiotic free here for instance.
The last of the three is small batches. Here, they just stress more intense flavors by cooking in smaller batches. I don't know how small a small batch is, but I'm pretty sure the batch is still larger then when I cook a lasagna.
As far as the actual food goes, I'm big into frozen lasagna, too, typically Stouffers since that is what is available where I regularly shop. It is a go to item when dinner plans go awry. Going a bit out of my way, I picked up a box of Michael Angelo's meat lasagna. Just three selections at that grocery store, which is three more than my regular one.
Cooking is either 15 minutes in the microwave or 40-ish in the oven. I went the microwave route. And, no, I didn't wait the 5 minutes to let it stand when done. Here is what it looked like fresh out of the oven.
The family size is four servings at 290 calories each, 90 from fat. I ended up cutting it into sixths, and had two, or a third of the box. Pulling out the first corner showed a pool of oil that wasn't pretty.
Apart from that, the lasagna actually tasted pretty good. A little too much tomatoes for me, but the flavors were otherwise strong and much more intense than that from Stouffer's. A good amount of cheese, between the ricotta, mozzarella, and romano. Smell was there, too, but I'm not a big food smeller, at least not after the cooking is done. It certainly smelled good while cooking and I couldn't wait to eat it. My six year old liked the smell, too, but not the taste. He got something else for dinner.
I really need to hunt out their sausage lasagna and veggie lasagna, as well as their single serve trays. I'm not sure how long I want to travel though, but their lasagna is definitely better tasting than the Stouffer's. They offer a store finder on their website to help you locate where they are available. Two problems here. First, it doesn't say which varieties are available at the stores, but more importantly, the information is dated. The supposed nearest store has been closed long enough to have been redone into a Whole Foods. At least two years. I just can't trust the locator.
And now onto the giveaways. Yes, two. I was going to go with just one and two prizes, but not everyone is into couponing, but nearly everyone loves the free coupons. So, the first giveaway is for a coupon for a free box, 20-38 oz, up to $9.49 in value. The second is for FIVE $1 off coupons. The free coupon expires end of May, while the $1 off ones expire end of year. Both giveaways end at 11:59 pm on 2/2/13. Good luck.
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Disclosure: I received a coupon for a free entree for the purposes of reviewing the product. See my disclosure policy for more information.