Try It, You’ll Like It! Macaroni Grill Dinner Kits

Last night we had the opportunity to try one of the new Macaroni Grill dinner kits. You’ve probably seen them, even if you didn’t know it. They are all over the end caps of grocery store aisles these days, and their coupons are ubiquitous as well. (Check out the scroll bar on the right for a $1.10 coupon.)

Normally, I don’t buy too many dinner kits. I’m generally a make-it-from-scratch kinda girl. But, since I signed up with Psst… I received a free kit in the mail. And I’m usually willing to try anything if it’s free.

The variety we sampled was the Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken. The box stated that it made five 1-cup servings. Since some of my kids can sometimes eat like birds, I figured it was safe to serve this for dinner. But, to be certain that tummies were full, I also prepared an extra pound of pasta. Good thing, too. When I opened the box, I found packets of seasoning, “creamy sauce,” sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and linguini. To be honest, the amount of linguini appeared to be miniscule. (Remember I feed eight people every day.) FishPapa raised his eyebrows when he heard the five serving bit.

It took about 20 minutes to prepare this meal, just like the package said. The directions were easy to follow. It called for adding my own chicken breast, milk and butter which along with the extra pasta, cost about $3. In fact, it was a good thing to make the extra noodles because the kit made a lot of sauce. It’s definitely an item you could stretch.

Most of the family enjoyed it and had second and third helpings. While the taste was good, the steps of preparation were numerous. It isn’t a simple “heat and eat” kind of thing, like this one, which we loved. In fact, for the money, it might be just as easy (and maybe cheaper) to make a white sauce and stir in some pesto, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, and chicken.

But, if you don’t like to cook, or don’t know how to cook, this is a great starting point. It might be a good thing for an older child or novice cook to try his hand at. It was delicious and fairly easy to prepare. And if you don’t know what to make one night, grabbing this box makes your answer easy. According to General Mills,

Regardless of busy schedules and an on-the-go lifestyle, Americans still find time to dine together. A recent survey commissioned by General Mills* found that more than half (55%) of those surveyed eat dinner together at home five times per week or more. However, it’s not always smooth sailing for home cooks. The biggest challenges to cooking dinner? Not knowing what to prepare and lengthy preparation time.

Although consumers may not know what to cook, they do know what they’re looking for in a meal; a majority (59%) of respondents agree that an interest in quality, better-for-you ingredients has dictated meal selections.

And, come to think of it, though there are several steps to preparing this, just like in scratch cooking, you don’t really have to think about it. You don’t need to gather a lot of ingredients, it’s all right there in the box. It is an easy solution to that “What’s for dinner?” quandary. Combined with a good sale on the kit (and the add-ins), this coupon might make it a viable option in your grocery budget as well.

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  1. We tried the Chicken Marsala and thought it was very good! The additional ingredients were oil, water and butter. Macaroni Grill is one of my favorite restaurants so I was interested in trying this dinner in a box. I purchased 2 more with coupons at WalMart and they ended up costing $2.40 each. I definitely agree though, that there is not enough pasta for 5 servings. We are a family of four so after adding salad and bread, we had enough.

  2. This looks yummy, I’m gonna look for deals to make 2 at a time. we graduated to 2 pounds of pasta at a time! (sometimes have a little leftover).
    I dont make from a box much either, but this will be good for a kid to whip up on a night I’m working.

  3. Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead says:

    Thanks for the tip on adding more pasta! I got a great deal on some of these last week and was kind of dreading that I bought them. Pre-packaged, probably fattening and processed…but I’ll give them a try now.

  4. KatieMay says:

    I have had the marsala one and I actually hated it. even after cooking longer than suggested I could still smell and taste the alcohol much more than I prefer. (Ill stick to the marsala at the spag factory)

    I have also had the garlic and herb chicken penne which is the only one that comes with a red sauce.. I was also not impressed with this one. I am not a cook so I am not really good at things to add. If you can find a way to make the red sauce a little more flavorful this one could be a keeper. I just found the straight out of the box contents fairly bland.

    The creamy basil is by far the best of the ones we have tried. We actually try to keep one in the pantry most of the time. It does stretch well. I usually add an extra chicken breast and another handful of linguine. A few extra sun dried tomatoes would probably be a nice addition as well.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I don’t think I would buy them anymore. But, they were so cheap last year, I couldn’t resist!

  5. I tried the Chicken and Alfredo… I Loved it…. Reminded me of Red Lobsters Shrimp Alfredo… So I have made it twice now, once with shrimp and once with chicken. Family loved .. I added spinach to it for the vegetable.

  6. why cant i find your products at the stores anymore i loved them

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Well, they aren’t my products. 🙂 But I imagine that the manufacturer didn’t sell enough.

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