Okay, there aren’t any kids in our house, but we liked the Amy’s Baked Ziti so much, why not try it in a meal?
I opened the package to find wee little serving sizes of the Baked Ziti, Foccacia, Broccoli with Marinara, and Apple Crisp. Per standard, I opted for the much faster microwave instructions. After nuking for 1.5 minutes, I pulled the foccacia bread out, and returned it to the microwave for an additional 1.5 minutes. Now, I am not sure if Amy realizes it, but that little piece of foccacia will likely never make it into the mouths of many little ones. I challenge all of the moms out there not to eat this little morsel of bread sitting quietly on the plate as it awaits the remainder of the meal. Kids, keep an eye on the bread!
Yes, that being said, it was a tasty little piece of bread that was aptly named foccacia. Though it had a slight cornbread texture and crumble, it was delicious, and made every effort to be a gluten-free variation of the Italian original. I wasn’t disappointed.
The baked ziti was tasty, like their full Baked Ziti Bowl. The pasta did gum up around the edges; I know this would have been a deal breaker for me as a kid. As well, the noodles in the center became a bit too soft. Nonetheless, if you have the extra 20 to 25 minutes to prepare this in a conventional oven, these noodle inconsistencies may be averted. There was a very generous amount of Amy’s wonderful “ricotta” enhanced sauce with the pasta. As a kid, I never argued over too much sauce, and as an adult, it was fun to scoop the leftover sauce with the foccacia. Many shreds of dairy-free soy cheese were also scattered atop the ziti, and they actually melted!
The broccoli really made me giggle. This is where the “Kids” portion of the meal really hits home. The tiniest little “broclettes” I have ever seen were clustered together with a dollop of marinara atop. I think this was a good move to get kids to eat these less intrusive looking greens, but it was quite funny nonetheless. They cooked well, neither too crisp, nor too mushy.
The dessert was more about the apples than the crisp. Small chunks of what tasted like tart Granny Smith type apples were liberally doused with that sweet apple pie “gel” for lack of a better word. I love apple crisp, it is one of my all time favorite desserts. With this in mind, the apple dessert was a bit of a let down. The apple portion tasted good, but the very feeble attempt at a topping could not be overlooked. Jut a smattering of what appeared to be tiny little breadcrumbs were tossed on top. Granted, a crisp without oats, wheat, or nuts of any kind can be very difficult. I would likely just stick with the apples, minus the topping in this case.
Aside from the less than perfect pasta noodles, and the apple sans crisp, there was only one thing about this meal that would cause me to hesitate with kids. I love garlic. As a repercussion, I find that my taste buds have almost become immune to it, commanding more when several cloves have already been added. Yet, I could actually taste the garlic in this meal. I didn’t mind garlic as a kid, but I know some young super tasters may not be pleased.
Ah yes, I cannot forget the most important feature of this new Kids frozen meal, the free tattoo! Yes, a very sizable peel and stick tattoo of Amy’s real dog stormy is included.
Verdict: If our licked clean trays were any evidence, this was not a bad little meal. While it is gluten-free, it passed the taste test of my in-house gluten consumer with flying colors. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up some boxes the next time my nieces come for a visit. If the people at Amy’s would like to double the serving sizes for the broccoli, ziti, and foccacia, I think they will have a winning frozen meal for adults too!
My Extra Notes & Tips:
- The cheese on top of the Baked Ziti is actually a good indicator of doneness. I took mine out 30 seconds too early, as evidenced by the center shreds, which had not yet melted.
- My guess is that more Kids Meals are on the way from Amy’s. Right now, they have just this version, and a dairy-loaded Mac & Cheese meal.
- This meal was well planned out. Aside from being vegan, gluten-free, and 96% organic, it seems to have a very good balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the all natural ingredients.
Where to Purchase: See Amy's website for a store locator. Amy's products are distributed in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Thailand, though I am not sure which countries (outside of the U.S.) are currently carrying this product.