Product Review: Mrs. Leeper's Gluten Free Boxed Dinners
One of the biggest challenges for me about being gluten free, especially at the beginning, is the the lack of convenience. I think that is the big reason why switching to a gluten free diet is so daunting. Meals take more thought and preparation than they did before. When life gets busy, family dinners can fall by the wayside.
I know this is the case in our house. My work schedule is pretty insane, sometimes stretching to twelve hours a day. We also have 4-H, school activities, and any number of other commitments. There are days when I’ve been known to toss D.D. an apple on the way out the door to tide her over until we have time to eat. (Yes, I realize this undermines my super mom status)
Realizing that my family is not alone in this situation, and being an advocate of the family dinner table, is what led me to choose Mrs. Leeper’s Boxed Dinners to review today. There are six different flavors to choose from:
Creamy Tuna (our favorite)
Mac & Cheese
Each box contains the gluten free pasta and sauce mix, you add meat and moisture (butter, water, milk). Each boxed dinner kit takes no more than twenty minutes to make and can be a total lifesaver on those crazy apple-tossing nights. I haven’t tried the Beef Stroganoff or Mac & Cheese flavors, but I can tell you a bit about each of the others.
Creamy Tuna is like a traditional tuna casserole. The sauce is indeed creamy and has a bit of zip to it. You add a can of tuna, water, milk and butter. It all cooks together in one skillet with no separate preparation (like cooking meat). It tastes great as is, but I like to throw in some frozen peas and grated carrot.
Chicken Alfredo is creamy, but could use a little more flavor. The alfredo sauce is a bit bland and has an odd aftertaste. The aftertaste is not enough to deter me, really, just noticeable. For this one you can cook the chicken yourself or add a can of chicken. Both have good results. I add veggies and extra parmesan to this one.
Beef Lasagna is the only one of these gluten free boxed meals that I’m not fond of when prepared as is. I have to add stuff to it to really enjoy it, but it is D.D.’s favorite as is. The sauce has an odd taste to it, almost metallic? It sounds strange, but I add a can of corn to it and the sweetness blends very well.
Cheeseburger Mac has a great flavor. It’s not a heavy cheese taste at all, but the good kind of subtle. I can’t offer any lazy-mom-addition-insight on this one, as it was made for me and I haven’t had a chance to play around with it.
In all four of the flavors I have tried the pasta was awesome. It still had a nice texture to it and it has never clumped up the way gluten free pasta is prone to do. I love the fact that preparation is so easy and fast. Even better is the fact that it is so easy to add veggies, or a side dish of fruit to make a complete meal.
The price of Mrs. Leeper’s Boxed Dinners isn’t bad either. The box itself costs around four dollars. When you add in the cost of meat and other ingredients, you can have a super fast, gluten free family meal for less than ten dollars. That makes my budget very happy :)
Overall, I am very happy with this product. I always keep a box on hand (usually the Creamy Tuna) in the pantry. During County Fair season it is the only way we eat dinner together, I’m sure all the “soccer parents” out there can relate.