I tend to like healthy food. So much that people think that I'm "healthier" than I actually am. But can I be real? As much as I espouse kale and fiber-rich, bowel motility-enhancing foods, anyone who knows me knows I can go ham on a bag of chips (particularly of this, this, this, or this [sadly sadly discontinued] variety). Any day. Or night for that matter. Working nights has made me particularly susceptible to that. Thank God for the divine fruit of self-control (which y'all know does not come me). And a husband that hides the chips really well and promises not to give them to me even when I beg. :P
While we're on the subject of junky delicious foods that I love, mac & cheese y'all. The great American classic. Carbs. Cheese. Hopefully with a crispy broiled to perfection topping. AHHH. I can dig that. With some pepperonis on top. Yes.
Definitely not a health food and probably doesn't have anything particularly redeeming like hidden cauliflower.
Already right out of the box, it doesn't impress at all. Looks like an average TV dinner. For one person? No people - this is two servings (that I ended up eating mostly by myself. Heh).
Before you get too excited, note that what you see is what you get. There are a total of 8 pepperonis in this dish. I falsely assumed that there would be pepperoni bits sprinkled throughout the pasta. The overall look reminds me of school cafeteria food. Like if you slid the cheese and pepperoni topping off of that rectangular pizza (did anyone else have that? Rectangular pizza? Is that just a midwest thing?) and onto the mac & cheese. Not much complexity to this. It's a few slices of pepperoni (although to TJ's credit - nitrate-free) and a small amount of mozzarella atop a small layer of average spaghetti sauce slapped onto your standard mac & cheese as an after thought. A delicious mac & cheese, yes, but the extra "pizza topping" doesn't really add much extra oomph to make it amazing. It's just kind of gratuitous. That said, if you're that curious, save yourself the $2.99 and make this one of those clean-out-your-fridge type meals. Spoon leftover marinara with a light layer of extra cheese (because why not) and top with pepperoni. Or better yet. Slide that cheese/pepperoni topping off of a leftover pizza and put it on the macaroni. Better yet, why not plop a hunk of mac & cheese onto a pizza. Use your creativity because methinks the creativity behind this product fell kinda short.
Anyhoo. The unimpressiveness didn't stop me from eating it, although I probably won't repurchase. And of course I ate with greens because y'know. Balance. That's life.
If you're on the market for some good TJ's mac & cheese, I'd go for the hatch chile version. Same price. Tastes better.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Pepperoni Pizza Mac & Cheese Bowl. Some typical American favorites contractually married together in average presentation. 5 out of 10.