November 11, 2011

Lightlife Smart Cutlets, Classic Marinara

This week, I'm testing out Lightlife Smart Cutlets, Classic Marinara. I usually try not to do two similar reviews back-to-back, but I'm feeling lazy this week and dug this out of my already-written folder. Next week, something different, I promise.

Now, I'm a big fan of Italian food. My grandmother was Italian, and I feel like, given some pasta, garlic, and tomatoes, I could be happy the rest of my life. So this is a pretty important product to get right, for me. Luckily, as long as there are garlic and tomatoes in here, there's a pretty good chance I won't hate it.

So let's get started. To prepare these, I just heated up a skillet with a tiny bit of oil in it, as directed, and plopped both cutlets from the package into the pan, squeezing the sauce on top of them. Right off the bat, my first impression was that the sauce was a little bit too thick, but adding a little water (or, dare i say it… red wine?) might have helped that. Also, there wasn't quite enough of it for me, but again, thinning it out would also increase the volume. If you were going to serve this over some pasta for a main course, you'd definitely want to add some extra sauce, but for a sandwich or something, this amount was probably good for most people.

Okay, so once it was heated up, I served them up onto a plate and gave them a taste. The sauce was good - not too sweet (which many tomato-sauce-makers have trouble with) and a nice, rich, tomato flavor. The cutlet was a little rubbery, but not too bad. With some pasta or on a sandwich this wouldn't be very noticeable, but I was eating it plain. Without the sauce, the cutlet itself did not have much flavor, but that's what the sauce was for, so I wasn't terribly concerned about that.

The package recommended melting some mozzarella cheese on top, and so I absolutely had to try that. Is there anything NOT made better with cheese on top? I sliced a few thin slices of mozzarella, laid them across my second cutlet, and popped it into the toaster oven for a couple minutes, just to get the cheese all melty. This looked awesome, and I was very excited. Unfortunately, the addition wasn't a life-changer. It was good, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't that much of an improvement. I may, in the interest of science, have loaded up a single bite with a fairly obscene amount of cheese, just to see if there was an amount that made it awesome, and there was an amount of cheese that accomplished this, but I do not think I will be sharing that amount here. Suffice it to say, I don't think I could eat an entire cutlet with that proportion of cheese all over it, and neither should you.

The experience:
Texture - slightly rubbery without any competing textures, but not that bad
Flavor - not much flavor alone, but worked well with the tomato sauce, which tasted pretty darn good

Final grade for this attempt: A-

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