Happy 2015 to all! And yes, in honor of all those trying to implement "New Year New You"/diet/healthy lifestyle change, I've decided to start off 2015 with box macaroni and cheese. Why? I had a massive craving for artificial cheese a few weeks ago. Yes, box mac & cheese will never compare to the real stuff but nostalgia hits hard. Anyone else grow up on that blue box? Nothing like cheese powder to hit the spot! But I found myself at the store reaching for the organic one...
"Contrary to popular belief, there is no law that states macaroni & cheese must be vibrant orange. In fact, Trader Joe's Organic Shells and White Cheddar Cheese proves that color is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to flavor. We use organic pasta and organic white cheddar cheese made with milk from cows not treated with rBST. We don't use any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It's a treat for kids of all ages. And best of all, because it's organic, it's a treat you can feel good about enjoying."
The prep was so easy, even my kid sister T could do it. Actually she's in college now, and I volunteered her to do it. If a college student can boil water, so can you! Boil water. Cook pasta. Drain pasta. Mix with some milk, the cheese powder, and butter if desired. SHOULDA GONE WITH THE BUTTER just saying.
In case you missed that, here's another shot. Wait, that's it? It resembles the plain pasta, just shinier. How disorienting, but this is exactly what they promised. No artificial vibrant orange! The actual finished product looks a wee bit creamier/milkier in person.
Verdict? Uneventful. Underwhelming. I liked the shell pasta, but it promotes uneven sauce distribution. Some shells have too much sauce and others have too little. Which was strange. And yes, it certainly *tastes healthier* than your standard box mac & cheese, but if I really wanted to eat something healthy, I'd eat kale, not this. It didn't taste bad by any means, but I wasn't impressed. The cheese flavor was not potent enough for my liking. $1.49 per box is more than what I would pay for boxed mac & cheese but still cheaper than Whole Paycheck (that's a pseudonym for that huge organic retailer). I think this pasta would do nicely with some ham and peas or something to make it a bit more interesting. But if you're a "poor college student" wanting to eat something moderately healthy, this is an okay choice I suppose. Ease and cheese without the guilt. Kind of. I really didn't feel like I had had mac & cheese after eating this, so I ended up making #10 Greek Yogurt mac & cheese, which was actually quite good and settled my mac & cheese craving. Moral of the story? Treat yoself and eat real cheese. Unless you're lactose intolerant because that would not end well.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Organic Shells and White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese. Boxed cheese powder pasta says it all. 5 out of 10.