When it comes to food, I’m very indulged. My mum is a champion at life in general, and the kitchen is no exception – each night she prepares a beautiful 2-3 course meal (often consisting of meat, despite being vegetarian herself!) while only walking through the door from work at 5pm. She is known for her delicious food and it’s abundance. Being so indulged, I never enjoyed leftovers and microwave meals are enough to make me shriek. However, a few weeks ago my friend, who recently started a Lite n’ Easy meal plan, mentioned that she actually enjoys their Spaghetti Bolognese. While Lite n’ Easy can only be purchased online, it inspired me to taste test a few different frozen Spaghetti Bolognese varieties readily available from the supermarket.
This is how this week’s Spaghetti Blogenese is going to work – I’ve taste tested each of the above frozen Spaghetti Bologneses: Lean Cuisine, McCain, and Coles homebrand. I’m going to briefly critique each one and will then rank them in order of preference. I’ve adjusted the judging criteria from other weeks to take into consideration that elements such as pasta al dente-ness and overall freshness are obsolete in this scenario.
This frozen meal had a very orange colour – resembling the tinned cold spaghetti kind. It had a strong herb smell. On first bite I noticed two things: 1. an overpowering oregano flavour and 2. the pasta was far too soft and turned to moosh in my mouth instantly. There were big chunks of carrot in this sauce – clever that they want it visible that real vegetables exist in this meal, but have I mentioned yet that I loathe chunky vegetables in my sauce? Don’t get my wrong – carrots, onion and celery all have a place in a Bolognese, but I don’t want to see them. If they’re not chopped finely I’ll assume that you’re either lazy or that your knife skills suck. Before I mentioned that this sauce resembled the tinned kind, and funnily enough it tasted like it too – sweet and artificial. I didn’t notice the meat in this one.
Although not wanting to admit it, this one actually smelled really good when it came out of the microwave. It looked quite oily and creamy on appearance but taste-wise it wasn’t all that bad. The pasta was very soft, but that’s to be anticipated from a microwavable kind. The sauce had an OK balance – a good tomato and meat flavour. The seasoning was good but it was a bit too sweet, oily and creamy for my liking. The meat was too fine, however it didn’t get lost amongst the sauce like the previous. Side note: Notice a resemblance from the McCain packaging? No surprise here – this product comparison video shows some more examples of resemblance between Coles homebrand and other products. I’m making no accusation here though – it could very well be a big coincidence.
This one didn’t have much of a smell when I took it out of the microwave. It had a rich red coloured sauce, perhaps a bit too red? The pasta wasn’t too mooshy – it had a bit of a bite to it, which was a pleasant surprise. The sauce lacked in seasoning and was overall quite bland. There wasn’t much in the way of actual meat – it was sparse and finely minced and extremely tender making it hard to notice. There was a powerful onion flavour and I could see thick slices of it within the sauce. I have to take into consideration that this frozen meal has far less calories than the other two – any meal consisting of 350 calories is bound to be lacking in a few flavour points.
First place – Coles homebrand
Second place – Lean Cuisine
Third place – McCain