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Taste test: New foods, including Pillsbury Thin Mints Brownie Mix

The beginning of the school year brings the hectic routines of getting dinner on the table at a decent hour and school lunches packed. Also, I'm always looking for a little after-school snack or treat to surprise my children after a particularly difficult day. This week, our panel of judgeshelped rate four new products designed with families in mind.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product Mueller's Hidden Veggie Twisted Elbows

Cheez-It Italian Four Cheese Sandwich

Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinner Pillsbury

Thin Mints Brownie Mix

According to our judges, the serving of veggies in this pasta really wasn't detectable by taste. "It's yummy," said one panelist. If anything, said another, the veggie taste is very subtle. "I like the fun ridges and curves of the pasta, and it's an easy way to offer more nutrition," she said. The shape of the noodles likely will help hold a bold or meaty sauce, said another judge, adding, "It's a win for sure." All of the tasters said they would buy this pasta. "No one in my family will realize it's fortified," said one judge. These crackers looked like every other sandwich cracker on the market, but judges were impressed with the vibrant Italian cheese flavor. "Wow!" said one judge. "These would be a killer addition to any lunch box or my purse for a quick snack." Only one taster found the cheese filling too artificial tasting. "They look like an overgrown Cheez-It and the cracker itself is quite flaky," she said. "But I would rather put a slice of cheese on the cracker."This mac and cheese was a big hit with the student on our panel. "It would make a great dinner," she said. Another said that "the ratio of sauce to pasta is good," adding that it's "not too goopy like some packaged mixes. I would add halved cherry tomatoes and some fresh herbs." One taster said the sharpness of the cheddar flavor sold her on the dish. "It tastes all natural — it's my new favorite," she said. "It has a glistening, golden look," said another judge. "It's deliciously cheesy and chewy."Mint lovers will love these brownies, agreed all four of our panelists. "They really taste like Thin Mints," said one judge. "I will take thirds." These brownies baked evenly and came out moist. "These will get you through the drought before Girl Scout cookie season," said another panelist. "They have great mint flavor. Where's the vanilla ice cream?"

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.50 for a 12-ounce box from Winn-Dixie.$3.49 for a box of six 1.48-ounce packs from Winn-Dixie.$3.49 for a 14-ounce box from Winn-Dixie.$2.98 for a 14.1-ounce box from Walmart.

Panelists: Steve Sims, theology teacher at Tampa Catholic High School; Kay Hodnett, personal chef; Sophie Wiltshire, high school senior; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving size2 ounces1 pack3.5 ounces1 brownie
Fat/Fiber1g / 2g11g / 0g10g /1g2.5g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium3g / 5mg 3g / 380mg3g / 810mg118g / 80mg
Carbs/Protein41g / 7g24g / 4g42g / 13g27g / 2g

Taste test: New foods, including Pillsbury Thin Mints Brownie Mix 09/12/16 [Last modified: Monday, September 12, 2016 11:09am]
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