Taste test: frozen appetizers
After the gifts are unwrapped and the holiday dinner dishes are washed, the last thing many cooks want to do is start preparing loads of appetizers to ring in the new year. Our tasters know the feeling. We went in search of some store-bought options that would be suitable for family or friends.
||17g / 2g
||16g / 2g
||10g / 2g
||9g / 1g
||1g / 460mg
||2g / 550mg
||0g / 220mg
||1g / 380mg
||14g / 10g
||22g / 3g
||8g / 4g
||11g / 2g
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
© 2014 Tampa Bay Times
Inspirations Cheddar Cheese Potato Puffs Wrapped in Bacon
|Publix Premium Onion Coated Toasted Green Beans with Ranch Sauce
||Trader Joe's Savory
Profiteroles Filled With
Artichoke & Cheese Dip
|While our judges rarely turn down any food wrapped in bacon, these were particularly yummy. Panelists liked the mix of flavors as well as the bite sizes. The only drawback was the texture. A couple of judges said the puffs were a bit mushy. "The flavor is very good, but I expected them to have more of a crunch," said one. "These remind me of my mom's chicken livers, except without the liver," said another. "They are pure ecstasy."
||Crisp and tasty were the words judges used to describe these green beans. They enjoyed the flavors in the toasty, onion breading and the appealing size and shape of the pieces. "The coating is sweet and yummy," said one. "I like the nice little snap to the beans." The judge also suggested these beans would work well with a wasabi dip. "You could go many ways with these," said another panelist. "I think a variety of your own dips or dressings from the door of your fridge would work and probably even please holiday guests."
||Bold spinach flavor made these appetizers a hit. Our tasters didn't detect much artichoke in the blend, but they liked the look of the pretty profiteroles. "The key to a good holiday pastry-like appetizer is the display," said one judge. "These need to be on a pretty platter with some vegetables and cheese. They could dress up even an inexpensive, grocery store platter."
||"Great shape and a great surprise when you bite into these," said one judge, who said he loved the subtle spice in the filling. All of the panelists raved about the nice mix of heat, salt and crunch in these appetizers. "Bring on the sour cream," said one. Another said, "The cheese in these could ruin a good shirt. Thankfully, most of it ended up in my mouth," he said. "Poppers, to be sure, should be deep fried, but these oven-baked versions will do nicely."
|Three of the four judges said yes.
||Three of the four judges said yes.
||Two of the four judges said yes.
||All four judges said yes.
||$8.99 for an 11.25-ounce box from Sweetbay.
||$3.59 for a 10-ounce box.
||$4.99 for a 7.2-ounce box.
||$4.98 for a 22-ounce bag from Walmart.
Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island.
Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.