Thursday Thoughts: Barilla Microwave Meals Review

by tinareale on September 27, 2012

Typically my Thursday Thoughts posts include a little piece of inspiration floating around in my head from the previous week or something I emphatically want to press upon your hearts. This week, I’m thinking with my stomach and have a review to share with you on a product I  you should check out if you ever need a super quick meal option.

You very likely have heard about these Barilla Microwave Meals from other bloggers already. Well, I’m just going to add my 2 cents of agreement to those other positive reviews. As you should (hopefully) know, I’m always honest with my reviews and very picky about what I review. I’ll only sign on to review something I believe I would naturally use/buy myself and that you all, as my readers, would likely enjoy hearing about.

About a month ago I discovered that, thanks to Fitfluential, I would be trying these Barilla meals through the month of September . When I originally signed on for the Barilla campaign I didn’t expect it would be for a microwave pasta. I just knew I liked and regularly used Barilla pasta. Let me tell you, when I saw it was for microwave dishes, I got a little worried…and almost backed out. What kind of chemically stuff would be in these? Would they be soggy, limp, disgusting excuses for a bowl of pasta? Would I like them at all? But I trusted my pals at FitFluential and went with it.

I’m so glad I did! These little pasta dishes saved a couple of lunches and dinners for this family. Here is some info about the product:

  • 100% Natural Ingredients (absolutely nothing funky in those ingredient lists)
  • No Preservatives
  • Ready in 60 Seconds
  • 9g to 11g of protein
  • 320 calories or less
  • good source of fiber, vitamin A, and iron

The big question, though? Do they taste good?

The pastas came in 5 different flavors:

  • Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce
  • Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara Sauce
  • Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce
  • Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce
  • Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce

We tried, and enjoyed, them all!

I tossed a meal together using the pasta alongside a side salad.

I used them for an easy dinner for the kids. Makenzie loved it and called it “dip pasta”.

I packed one for Peter to take to work when we didn’t have any leftovers for his normal lunch of choice.

The pasta cooks up al dente, which I really like. Some said that they found the whole wheat varieties a bit more chewy, but I actually preferred those the most. The cooking instructions include tips to make the pastas a bit less al dente, so maybe that would help. The sauces cook in a separate part of the dish so you can add as much or little sauce as you prefer. I like my pasta sauce-y, so I generally used all the sauce and it was the perfect amount. The Spicy Marinara or the Vegetable Marinara were my favorite sauces as the others had a slight sweetness to them. Not in a bad way, but a bit different than sauce I traditionally use. For the big judgment, I asked Peter his thoughts. He is Italian and VERY picky about his pasta. I think it says a lot that he gave it two thumbs up.

So, would I buy these with my OWN money? Yes. And I already have.

I will always prefer home-cooked meals over pre-packaged and do my best not to rely on these options. It took me the full month to try them with my family because I wanted to use them only on a truly as needed basis. And those times are a reality – like when I had a bad migraine or didn’t quite make it to the grocery store as planned. I was glad to have the Barilla Microwaveable Meals for those moments. I truly did like them and feel good enough about the ingredients and nutrition that I would use them again. I honestly think they are one of the better tasting options of microwaveable meals out there…and without the freaky ingredients.

If you’re looking for quick meals to have on hand for work, travel in a hotel, or those days where you just don’t want to cook, then I suggest giving these a try. If you’re interested, you can find them in the pasta aisle. I found them for $2.29 in my local Kroger and Barilla currently has a $1 off coupon on their website. Let me know if you try them and how you like them!

Your Turn – Do you ever use microwaveable meals? What do you look for in one?

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.

{ 25 comments }

1 Miz September 27, 2012 at 6:08 am

I should be embarrassed but Im so so notnot.
THE HUSBAND LOVES THESE!!!

adores :-)

2 Glenneth September 27, 2012 at 6:21 am

can’t wait to try these. i need to add them to my grocery list right now. i am thinking they will make great lunches. thanks tina!

3 Melissa September 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

I probably never would have looked at these, assuming they would have a bunch of crazy ingredients. Maybe I’ll get a package or two to keep on hand for those crazy nights, because you’re right, they DO happen! Thanks for the review!

4 tinareale September 28, 2012 at 6:37 am

They do work well for in a pinch.

5 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers September 27, 2012 at 6:50 am

My hubs would probably love these. Too bad they’d only be snack-size for him. :)

6 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

It’s been a while since I’ve bought a microwave meal, but I do like to keep them in the freezer for days when I need a quick meal. Looks like these would be a good option!

7 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots September 27, 2012 at 8:45 am

i try to stay away from microwave meals only because I try to stay away from using the microwave! But these sound perfect for a quick easy meal, my boyfriend would love these I think I should stock up on them for him.

8 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama September 27, 2012 at 8:56 am

My initial thoughts exactly but I was VERY impressed with Barilla!

9 Heather September 27, 2012 at 8:59 am

I am def. a quick and easy meal kind of girl so this seems right up my alley!

10 Rachel Skeie September 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

I’ve seen them, but never would have considered buying them until now. Love quick & easy meals for chaotic nights. And, of course, the child loves pasta! Thanks for the info.

11 Becky September 27, 2012 at 9:30 am

I don’t eat many “microwave” type meals but I will have to try these!

12 Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie September 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

These look like great on the go options that are better for you than traditional frozen meals! I want to stock up for Josh and myself!

13 Brittany @Berries and Barbells September 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’m always weary of microwave meals too! Maybe I’ll give these a try since you speak so highly of them.

14 tinareale September 28, 2012 at 6:39 am

The only suggestion I would have is to watch sodium intake around those meals because they do have higher sodium content. However, if you’re eating whole, natural foods most of the time I don’t think one dish like this will corrupt your sodium levels. ;)

15 Heather (Heather's Dish) September 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

i’m totally posting my review (which is basically the same – these meals are soooooo good!) later today! once i finally make a grocery store run i’m definitely stocking up as well!

16 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) September 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

Microwavable plastic freaks me out a little bit, but I’d love to check out the whole wheat variety to have on hand for emergencies (like late-day laziness ;) )

I love M’s idea of dip pasta- she is too cute!!

17 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile September 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

Wow, these sound AWESOME!

18 Heather @ Better With Veggies September 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I’m pretty sure I used these (or something very similar) for lunch emergencies at work a few years ago. Barilla is a well-respected company, so perfect fit for pre-made meals like this.

19 Christa September 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I am not a huge fan of pasta but am definitely trying to embrace it. I’m allergic to a lot of preservatives, too, so it makes anything from the freezer section or non-perishable section of the store a little scary. Yay for new and wonderful products!

20 Jessica @FoundtheMarbles September 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

That picture of your daughter eating her meal is priceless!

21 Patty September 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I’m glad you wrote about the meals because I did not know they were available. It’s nice to have an option for thiose days when you need something quick and good for you.

22 Bek @ Crave September 28, 2012 at 12:44 am

I hope Barilla brings them out in Australia soon! We are only just know getting the wholegrain/wholemeal variety of pastas and unfortunately, they are pretty exxy! Generally, I look for frozen meals that I think I’ll look, decent energy, good protein and moderate sodium

23 Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) September 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Haha, dip pasta! I think I could use a few of these to keep on hand for those nights when I know I need to eat a proper dinner, but don’t have the time/energy to make something. Good to know you give these your approval!

24 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf September 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Great review Tina. I agree. I was pleasantly surprised by these. I like the spicy marinara the best. I’m in similar situation – we don’t rely or use microwave meals much but there are those times when you seriously get home late and don’t have anything to make for dinner. These were a good back-up option.

25 Coco September 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I’ve bought a few of the whole wheat variety but haven’t tried them yet — I’m waiting for that “dinner emergency.” ;-)

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