Smucker’s Uncrustables Review

This time around I’ll be reviewing Smucker’s Uncrustables, which are available at many stores in your frozen food section, and on Amazon Prime at the link below.

SMUCKERS UNCRUSTABLES FROZEN SANDWICHES PEANUT BUTTER & GRAPE JELLY 4 CT PACK OF 3

Amazon Prime only has these available in the strawberry flavor. There’s also a grape flavor out there which I like better, but the strawberry is okay. An Uncrustable is basically a crustless, circular peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich, which is frozen, and then you thaw it out for about forty-five minutes and it’s good to go. If I have one of these and I take it with me on the train to work, by the time I get there, it’s ready to eat. They come four to a package, and a package is $2.99 on Amazon. You might find them for as much as four dollars or four-fifty in some grocery stores. A picture of one of the individual sandwiches is below.

Uncrustable No Wrapper

Health-wise, an Uncrustable is pretty good. Total fat content is thirteen percent, and saturated fat is nine percent. Sodium content is ten percent. All of those are right in the wheelhouse of what I shoot for in those categories. Simply put, there’s nothing really objectionable to be found about an Uncrustable. The thought behind it and the execution of it is like something I might have come up with in elementary school, and I mean that as a compliment. The crusts, the part of the sandwich that most people don’t like, are done away with, and the peanut butter to jelly ratio is perfect. Not only that, because of the circular design, the toppings are safely inside and have no danger of leaking out until you bite into it.

Smucker’s came up with something really well thought out here, and, after trying this for the first time, I knew it was going to come into my regular rotation as a staple. I enthusiastically recommend this product. It hearkens back to an earlier time in my life, when Mom packed my lunch for me and a PB and J was almost always going to be in there. Those days may be fading ever further into the past, but seeing and tasting something like this always makes me a little nostalgic, and never fails to brighten my day.

My Pantry

Hello fellow picky eaters. Today I wanted to welcome you inside my pantry, where I keep some of the staples that I try not to ever be without. First off, you’re not likely to ever find me without an extra bottle or two of my favorite condiment, trusty Heinz Ketchup, pictured below.

 

To me, ketchup is the condiment that never fails. I’ve never been fond of mustard, so this is my go-to…you’d be hard pressed to find anything that doesn’t taste better with ketchup on it. Hot dog, hamburger or turkey burger, pork chop, meatloaf, french fries, hash browns, home fries, latkes, or just about any other potato-related item that you can think up…all of them are given just the right kick with a dab of ketchup.

 

 

 

 


Next up is chicken stock. What’s good about chicken stock is that you can use it as the base or one of the ingredients for a number of different sauces, or you can use it as the base for good old-fashioned chicken soup. If you have a flavorful stock, that plus canned chicken plus any shape of pasta and you’ve got chicken noodle soup, without the celery and carrots that I always want to avoid that you seem to get in just about any canned variety. A picture is below.

Chicken Basics is a good one. It’s available on Amazon Pantry too, and the sodium content, which I always watch out for, isn’t nearly as bad as some equivalent brands.

 

 


Finally, there’s chocolate syrup, and when you think chocolate syrup, you usually think of Hershey’s, the longtime national standby. I like to get the Lite version, which has far fewer calories. I like to have this around to put on ice cream, if I have some, but more often to make chocolate milk, which I’ve loved since my childhood. If you get skim milk, like I do, and you add some Lite Hershey’s syrup, you have fat-free chocolate milk, which is loaded with calcium. That’s the sort of thing that helps me keep a lean and healthy physique.

 

 

That’s it for now folks. I’ll be back next time with another edition of what can be found in my pantry.

 

Easy Matzo Ball Soup

As a child who was raised in a Jewish household, albeit in a pretty much non-religious one, I was still exposed to several different foods that appear as part of the traditional Jewish menu. I’ve posted a couple of different brisket recipes on the site, and another one of my favorites growing up was matzo ball soup. My mom’s was, and is, the absolute best, and part of the reason for that is her use of schmaltz, or chicken fat, to make the rich broth…rich, and not exactly healthy for you. Still, all things in moderation, as I often say.

As an adult, finding an easy matzo ball soup recipe was a must, even when I didn’t have the time to actually make it from scratch. I found the boxed version of Manischewitz Reduced Sodium Matzo Ball Soup mix, which features a powdered soup base, and one for the matzo balls as well, to which vegetable oil and two eggs are added. Then the mixture is blended and put in the fridge to chill. What I like to do once the water is added to the soup mix is add about half a box of pasta, and two or three cans of chicken breast meat. Then, when the mixture has chilled and you take it out of the fridge to form it into balls, the pasta can cook at the same time the balls can, once the fire under the soup is turned down to a simmer.

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After twenty minutes, when you turn the fire off, the soup is ready, and you can just stir it up, wait for it to cool, and serve it. I tend to like sprinkling a little dried parsley on top, more as a garnish than for any significant flavor it brings.

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Like a warm hug on a cold night.

What I like about doing this is that at the end of about forty-five minutes, you get matzo ball chicken noodle soup, savory, filling, and extremely easy to throw together. Is it the same as Mom used to make? Well, no, let’s be honest. But it’s still pretty good, if you feel like having a Jewish comfort food meal, but you don’t feel like getting involved in a major cooking project. You can use any kind of noodle or pasta shape that you have handy, and with the reduced-sodium soup mix, this is reasonably healthy. Plus, you should get several servings out of it, so if you make it on a Sunday, you can have it for dinner a couple of days during the week.

 

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It’s pretty great having the house smell like chicken soup as this is cooking.

More Proven Breakfast Options

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I work ten hours a day, five days a week, so it’s vitally important that I bring some food with me to my job, otherwise I’d be buying breakfast and lunch at the places around me in Manhattan every day, and it would get really expensive. Therefore, I like to buy food in bulk (usually from Amazon Fresh or Boxed.com), and bring stuff for two-three small meals with me when I take the train in the mornings. I’m usually not really hungry first thing when I wake up, but I know that breakfast is necessary, to get the metabolism going. One of the breakfast options that I like is a protein shake and a Nutrigrain bar.

I’ve been eating the Nutri-Grain Bars, made by Kellogg’s, since I was in high school. I remember the art teacher’s office was stocked with them, and I would have one, along with a cup of instant hot chocolate, every lunch hour while working on my studio art projects. It brings back pleasant memories when I have a Nutri-Grain Bar, even today. They come in several different flavors, apple, mixed berry, blueberry, and strawberry, among others. My favorites are apple and mixed berry. The bars are low in sugar, total and saturated fat, and they’re a good size, not too big, not too small.

To wash down the Nutrigrain bar, a nice protein shake is a good way to go. There are several on the market. Kellogg’s makes a Special K Protein Shake that’s pretty good in either the chocolate or french vanilla flavor. They come in packs of four. Other good options are Ensure shakes, which come in a variety of flavors. I’m not a fan of the strawberry, but the original chocolate or vanilla are both good, or the butter pecan is delicious, but difficult to find for sale where I live. These come in packages of six.

Ultimately, when I’m looking at protein shakes, I’m looking for the total and saturated fat to both be less than ten percent of my daily recommended amount. Most of the Special K or Ensure ones have 8 percent daily fat and 3 percent daily saturated fat. Combine that with any of the Nutrigrain bars, which have 5 percent total and 3 percent saturated, and you’re looking at less than 15 percent total and saturated fat for your whole breakfast, which is pretty healthy. Once again, these options are comfortable, and familiar. Like with a bowl of cereal, you know what you’re getting, and there’s no surprises. I have this breakfast usually multiple times a week, and I can fully recommend it to you, my fellow picky eaters, as well.

The Best Cereal for Picky Eaters (and my favorites)

I think that part of what bothers me sometimes about eating out is that if someone else is preparing your food, then you don’t know what’s in it. That means that regardless of what you’re ordering, if it’s something you haven’t gotten before, or if you’re going to a restaurant for the first time, you don’t know if what you’re getting is going to be a hit with you, the picky eater.

Getting products at the grocery store (or getting your food delivered to you at home from Amazon Fresh, like I do), it’s comforting to get the same products if you’re not feeling adventurous, because if you’ve gotten them before, you know exactly what you’re getting.

Going forward, one of the things I plan on doing here on the site is to review some of my favorite products, the ones that are more than likely to be on my grocery list every time I place an order, which me and my wife tend to do every two weeks. Cereal has always been one of my favorites, probably in part because cereal is carbohydrates, and carbs are called comfort food, for good reason. For me, the best cereal tends to be uniform, which is to say that one bite is much like the last. I’ve been eating cereal all my life, for as long as I can remember. I don’t tend to be a fan of the very sugary cereals, especially as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve tried to watch my sugar intake so I stay away from cereals like Honey Smacks, Golden Crisp, and Fruit Loops.

So what is the best cereal for picky eaters like me?

Over the years I’ve had a few that I’ve enjoyed, like Shredded Wheat, which isn’t very sweet at all, so it’s not to everyone’s taste, and the unfortunately named Product 19, which is actually pretty difficult to find these days. The best cereal for my diet, that is to say the ones I seem to go back to more and more often, are all Kellogg’s products: Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, and Raisin Bran. All of them are relatively low in sugar, and Raisin Bran is especially good, because as I’ve gotten older I’ve wanted to make sure I was getting plenty of fiber, and Raisin Bran is quite high in it. Last year I got a hemorrhoid, which comes about mostly from a lack of drinking enough water and not getting enough fiber, and since then, I’ve been super-careful to get plenty of both, because that was a painful experience I’d just as soon not go through again.

Any of the above three cereals are a reliable go-to meal for me, which I’m actually more likely to have for dinner than for breakfast. Freak that I am, I oftentimes like to have dinner and lunch foods for breakfast, and breakfast foods like cereal for dinner, or for a late-night snack. Any of the three, part of a well-balanced diet, go best with fat-free milk. I used to drink two-percent milk when I was younger, but in the effort to reduce total and saturated fat from my diet, I switched to fat-free a few years ago, and I found I got used to it pretty easily.

So that’s my recommendation this time around: select some go-to cereals that you can eat several times a week, preferably ones that are fairly low in sugar and, if possible, high in fiber.