If I’ve never told you before, I’m not a huge cook. I dabble a little bit in the kitchen and there are some staple recipes that I make, but I’ve never been extremely creative in that way. For myself for lunch, I eat a lot of frozen single-serve meals because they are quick and easy to prepare. That being the case, I definitely have my favorites and strong opinions about those that have not been up to par in the past.
Michael Angelo’s recently reached out to me to see if I might try a comparison of their lasagna with another leading brand. I thought that would be a really fun experiment and picked up a few of the Michael Angelo’s Meat Lasagna and a Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat Sauce for dinner. I had some trouble finding the family size portions in my area, so I settled for a few of each the single entrees and plated them for the family. Here are a few things I noticed right off the bat:
- The Michael Angelo’s description is much more attractive: “Small Batch From Scratch: Meat Lasagna with Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese and Vine-Ripened Tomatoes.” This is compared to Stouffer’s “Lasagna Layered with Meat & Herb Seasoned Tomato Sauce & Three Cheeses.” This could mean nothing. It could mean something. It could mean that Michael Angelo’s team is trying to convey that their products are closest to homemade in the freezer aisle. We were going to find out.
- The Stouffer’s Single Serve is 19 oz while the Michael Angelo’s is 11 oz. They are very similar prices when on sale, so this was something to keep in mind.
- Michael Angelo’s boxes come with photos of founders Michael Angelo and his mother Sara. A nice touch.
- If you are microwaving, the Michael Angelo’s takes 5-7 minutes of cook time vs. the 7 minutes of Stouffer’s AND THEN another 7 1/2 minutes of Stouffer’s on medium power. !!!! I’m sorry, but 15 minutes is a LONG time to wait for a frozen meal!!
I served the dished to myself, my husband and my daughter. My son is not a meat eater, so he opted to have cereal (our alternative to your not wanting what I serve). The responses from all of us were immediate and the difference was much larger than I expected it to be!
- It’s important to say that the Stouffer’s looks more appetizing to me. The top was covered in a melted, stringy cheese and the portions were bigger due to the size difference in the two boxes.
- Both my husband and I tasted Stouffer’s first and had the same realization. The sauce, although thick, tasted like Chef Boyardee. That’s not a bad thing (hey, I lived on Chef Boyardee and ramen in college!), but it’s not what I was looking for in a lasagna dinner. Also, the sauce was strangely orange – not the marinara we were expecting. The Michael Angelo’s sauce was red and had bits of tomatoes in it.
- The Michael Angelo’s Lasagna was a bit of a smaller portion, but truly did taste like my mom could have made it (and she’s a good cook!) The tomato flavor was ever present, the meat felt and tasted like meat. The Stouffer’s meat fell apart while eating it and while it was completely fine, the Michael Angelo’s tasted and felt like higher quality.
- The Stouffer’s lasagna noodles were thicker than the Michael Angelo’s, but they felt a little doughy. My daughter liked them that way (she kept saying that both raviolis were good. ;)), but both my husband and I preferred the “al dente” of the Michael Angelo’s noodles.
- The general consensus was that the Stouffer’s lasagna was just fine, but it all kind of melded together. The doughy pasta, the strangely-orange sauce and meat all had a kind of a softer quality to them. The Michael Angelo’s felt and tasted like someone had made it, piece by piece, with spices and separate ingredients. If you wanted, you could separate each piece. I could lift one lasagna noodle and see the ricotta underneath. That wasn’t something easily done with the Stouffer’s.
At the end of the day, Michael Angelo’s is the winner in our household. Even though the portions are smaller for about the same price, I will wait until Michael Angelo’s is on sale and stock up. And if you haven’t done it already, you can use this $1 Michael Angelo’s coupon to get a better deal!
*Fine Print – This is a sponsored post on behalf of Michael Angelo’s. All statements and opinions are my own.