Product: Pastariso Gluten-Free Instant Brown Rice Mac & Cheese Meal – $2.99+
Before I had to go gluten-free, I admit it…I would indulge in an Easy Mac every now and again. I mean…mac and cheese is awesome, right? And Easy Mac meant that it was ready in seconds…straight from the microwave. Mmmm…just like the boxed stuff with the crazy neon cheese powder that somehow creams up and makes a decent enough mac and cheese.
Oh…there are days I would long for that simplicity, and other days I would mock it.
But then…while at the Gluten-Free Trading Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin…I came across something I hadn’t seen before. Anywhere.
A form of gluten-free Easy Mac. These little microwavable pasta bowls were made with white rice pasta and brown rice pasta. I chose brown rice pasta; my roomie went for the white rice pasta.
Pastariso is making the dine and dash meal easy for the gluten-free community. There are times, like on Mondays when I have to get home from work, eat something, and head out to Louisville for my fun run with my running store group, that I don’t have time to prepare something. Not even a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich. No problem if you happen to be able to find the Pastariso Mac & Cheese Instant Meal Cups somewhere nearby.
Now, no store in my area carries these, which is one reason why I had to pick them up. And tonight…I sat down to enjoy mine.
Preparation is simple…just like Easy Mac. Pull off the paper lid and fill the cup with water to the line. Stir well. Pop into the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes. Well, most microwaves would have it ready in 3 1/2 minutes. Mine is from the 80s…so it usually takes longer. That was the case here. 6 minutes later and I was ready to sit down with a piping hot bowl of instant mac and cheese.
A little bit about these little treats…
The company that makes the instant mac and cheese meal cups is Maplegrove Gluten-Free Foods. They are a family owned business that specializes in gluten-free products. Even more interesting, Maplegrove is North America’s largest manufacturer of gluten-free pasta products. Their products are manufactured in a completely gluten-free environment and they personally guarantee high quality foods. That’s a lot for a small company. But they understand the importance of keeping gluten-free foods safe and delicious. Many of their employees are gluten-intolerant or have Celiac. This is not just a choice…it’s a mission…it’s dedication.
So…how was it? Once I got it heated enough so that the water absorbed into the noodles and the cheese became thicker and not just cheesy soup water…I settled in to actually try it. Well, needless to say…it was pretty good. It tasted sweet…and not as cheesy as I would have liked. But…it was decent enough for an instant meal. The powdered cheese in the water was really hard to stir, but it incorporated itself as it warmed in the microwave. Overall…I’d rather make mac and cheese from scratch…for for something quick…I’d eat this again.
That is if I could find it somewhere…around here…
The nutrition information isn’t too bad as far as pre-packaged, processed gluten-free pastas go. The entire cup is only 212 calories with 4 grams of fat. The sodium level is a little on the high side at 670 mg. And as for protein, this does deliver 6 grams in the serving. So…all-in-all…it’s not too bad on the nutrition front.
So, it’s nothing fantastic, but it’s a quick bite for those very busy days that all of us tend to have at some point or another. It’s like Easy Mac…you hate yourself for eating it…but sometimes it’s the only option you have.
That’s what Pastariso Instant Brown Rice Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese Cup is…a quick option that delivers on speed, but not so much on flavor. But gluten-free beggars can’t be choosers.