by Marianne Plunkert
Overall rating: 5.0 of 5.0
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
This luncheon entrée consisted of two medium manicotti shells, stuffed with ricotta cheese and topped with a marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella. I was to supplement the entrée with a serving of fruit. I elected to enjoy a half a red grapefruit with it.
The heating instructions indicated that the entrée should be microwaved on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. I heated it for an extra 15 seconds since my microwave oven is a lower-wattage model.
Traditional Manicotti with Mozzarella Cheese
My General Impressions
I can describe this meal with a single word—yum! I could hardly wait to dig in as I spooned the shells onto my plate and observed the generous amount of ricotta cheese oozing from them.
I wasn’t disappointed. The manicotti shells had a perfect texture, and the filling was wonderfully cheesy. The marinara sauce was rich and robust and nicely seasoned; visible bits of tomato added texture. The mozzarella sprinkled on top provided even more cheese flavor to every forkful.
Although my red grapefruit half didn’t add any color to the plate, I found its slightly sour taste to be a perfect complement to the richness of the manicotti dish.
This is not one of eDiets’ low-fat luncheon entrées. Over 34 percent of its calories are from fat—90 of the total 260. It is not particularly low in carbs, either; total carbohydrates are 29 grams, with 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of sugars. Protein weighs in at 14 grams.
It is fairly nutritious. It supplies 20% of the average daily recommended doses of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium, and 10% of the recommended daily average iron intake.
Dairy (cheeses), starch (pasta), and fruit (grapefruit) are the major food groups included in this meal. The eggs used in the preparation provide some protein, and the tomatoes used in the marinara sauce offer something from the vegetable section of the food pyramid, but neither is a full serving of its respective food group.
On a scale of 1 to 5, this meal scores a perfect “5” with me. It was as good as I’ve enjoyed in some Italian restaurants, and even better than I’ve had in others. The manicotti tasted as freshly cooked as if it had just been removed from the oven.
The shells were cooked al dente, and the marinara sauce was perfectly seasoned to provide a full-bodied flavor that wasn’t too sweet. Nor did the sauce overwhelm the delightfully cheesy flavor of the filling, which was nothing short of luscious.
This entrée wasn’t as colorful as some when arranged on the plate. A spear or two of asparagus or broccoli might have been a nice addition, but I cannot warrant downgrading what was an altogether enjoyable lunch for this minor issue.
I would definitely order this entrée again if given the opportunity, despite the fact that it doesn’t fit my fat and carb preferences. Its taste and nutritional content make up for that.