Product: Simply Shari’s Gluten Free and Fabulous Quinoa Mac and Cheese – $3.49+
I haven’t had too much experience with products from Simply Shari’s Gluten Free and Fabulous. However, I have tried one frozen pizza…and loved it…and a couple of cookies…and enjoyed those. So, that’s a good track record, yes?
I think so.
Which is why when I was shopping at TJ Maxx of all places…when I spotted this macaroni and cheese I figured…why not try it? I mean…it’s a brand I am familiar with and have liked in the past. It’s made from quinoa. HELLO! And..it’s mac and cheese. One of my favorite comfort foods of all time.
With this being a no produce bin week, meals have been cobbled together from things in the pantry, fridge and freezer. While it’s not getting bare…sometimes choices are slim. With that being said, I’m hitting the pantry the hardest this week and digging out some items I purchased and just haven’t cooked up yet. Simply Shari’s Gluten Free and Fabulous Quinoa Mac and Cheese…it’s now your turn to shine.
Now, as I have stated before, I prefer to make my gluten-free mac and cheese from scratch. But it’s a crazy-busy week. I just got back into town on Monday night and I’m heading back out of town tomorrow after work for a weekend with my friend Jenn (who is always willing to try new gluten-free things because she rocks like that). No CSA bin…not a lot of grocery shopping went on. Just the bare necessities. So, very little time to linger in the kitchen, for sure. And for that reason, this little meal was popped out of the pantry. So, if I can’t go homemade, I’ll settle on a box or bag variety. I just prefer real ingredients as often as possible.
Cooking this was a snap. I brought a pot of water to a boil and added a bit of salt and oil, per the directions on the package. Then, in went the gluten-free noodles, which are quinoa, not brown rice. YAY! They cooked up in the boiling water for about 10-12 minutes. It didn’t take long. After that, you drain them, put them back in the pan on low heat, add a teaspoon of butter, 3/4 cup of milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) and then add the package of cheese powder. Stir it…let it thicken on the heat, and then…serve.
Now, remember those days of long ago when you’d have that orange powder you’d pour into the Kraft Cheese and Macaroni? (Not macaroni and cheese, always reversed…I remember!). Anyway…this powder had those clumps, so I broke them up as best I could, and continued to stir until it was blended as best as I could manage. Into the bowls they went and dinner…was served.
One bite…that’s all it took. So creamy and tangy and delicious. The cheese actually gets to this rich velvety texture that coats each noodle. The noodles cook up perfectly. And, because they aren’t made completely of brown rice, they aren’t mushy and falling apart either. They held that elbow macaroni shape, even with all the intense stirring that occurred. The small clumpy bits of cheese powder reminded me of my childhood days with the Kraft stuff. I broke up most of them, but a couple lingered. Nothing that took away from the awesomeness of this dish. For real. The cheese was quite tasty. And the meal itself…quite filling.
I was beyond impressed.
Simply Shari’s Gluten Free and Fabulous Quinoa Mac and Cheese is made up of quinoa pasta (made from quinoa, rice and water), powdered cheese (which contains milk, salt, enzymes, whey, beta carotene for color, corn starch and salt). That’s it. Simple…easy ingredients. All of which I recognize. Let’s hear it for simple and basic ingredients! This product is also GMO free as well as gluten-free.
Nutritionally speaking, Simply Shari’s Gluten Free and Fabulous Quinoa Mac and Cheese is on the light side for mac and cheese. A serving is 4 ounces and the package holds 1.5 servings. For two people, it’s more than enough, trust me. This serving will give you 280 calories and 6 grams of fat. You will also be receiving 15 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, and 1 gram of sugar. Not bad. And since I used unsweetened almond milk…no sugar there either. A serving gives you 2 grams of fiber and (the best part!) 18 grams of protein. That is NOT a typo! 18 grams of protein. Thank you quinoa.
So, healthy, creamy, cheesy and wonderful. Simply Shari’s Gluten Free and Fabulous Quinoa Mac and Cheese lives up to its name. Yes. It is…simply awesome!