Friday, November 9, 2012

Newman's Own Complete Skillet Meal for Two--Chicken Parmigiana & Penne

Made By:  Newman's Own, Inc. [USA]
Required to Prepare:  Skillet and Range (or 2qt casserole and microwave)
490 calories per 1/2 package

For dinner tonight, we are looking to the freezer for one of the convenience meals I try to keep available, and we ended up choosing this Chicken Parmigiana penne pasta dish from Newman's Own to try.  I'm not sure I have the usual anecdote about how we arrived at this decision today, but I will say that, as is usual for me, I purchased this while it was on sale with a coupon, so instead of the shelf price of (I think) $8.99, I gave $4.99 for it.

Anyway, we are hungry, so let's get on to the review.  Inside the bag we find par-boiled penne pasta, frozen sauce chips, some things that look like little cubes of white cheese, and six chicken nuggets.  To prepare, we simply empty the contents of the bag into a large non-stick skillet, cover, and heat on high for 4 minutes, then on medium-high for 6 minutes while stirring occasionally.  After the ten-minute cook time advertised, everything is bubbly and hot, and the sauce has thickened nicely, which is frankly more than I was expecting based on my experiences with these bag meals.  Since it doesn't seem to need extra cook time, it looks like dinner is ready to serve!

On first taste, my partner said to me (and I agreed) that it seems to be "missing something."  The sauce seems to be a bit on the sweeter side, which is something I am not used to with a chicken parmigiana.  Another thing I am used to with chicken parmigiana is for it to actually be made with parmesan cheese, which this isn't--the little bits of cheese I saw were mozzarella, according to the ingredients list.  I try adding some shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano of my own to try to rectify this situation, which helped but didn't completely solve the issue with the sweet sauce.  The three chicken pieces we each got were very soft and the breading was quite soggy, naturally; I didn't mind them and sort of enjoyed the salt-and-pepper seasoning of the breading, but my sweetie was a bit put off by the texture.

Overall, it wasn't bad, but it didn't seem especially good either, and really didn't seem to be quite as quality a product as we were expecting from Newman's.  I still have respect for the brand and will be trying some of their other offerings, but I doubt we'll get this one again. :|


  1. Hey! I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. I live alone and have grown tired of cooking for one so I'm always on the lookout for decent convenience foods. Good Job!

    I also had a chuckle about the Hope Diamond chewy bone. :)

    Happy Holidays

  2. Tonight, we had a very similar experience with this skillet meal. However, we had only FOUR pieces of soggy breaded chicken for 2 servings. Thnak goodness, I had some extra chicken that I could add to the dinner. I probably will not buy this product again.