A few weeks ago, both my mom (Sharon) and I noticed a new product at the grocery store: Kraft Fresh Take Mixes. Located in the refrigerated section near the shredded cheese, these mixes feature a cheese and breadcrumb mixture that you can use to coat meat before baking.
We decided to give one a try since they were on sale and we had a coupon (yes, we are definitely couponers!). We choose the Cheddar Jack and Bacon version, but other flavors include Smokey Mesquite BBQ, Italian Parmesan, Southwest Three Cheeses, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic, Chili Lime and Panko, and Four Cheeses.
We decided to use chicken as the meat for this breading mixture. We used both thighs and white meat tenders (i.e. breast meat) because at our house some of us like dark meat and some of us like white meat. You could also use this mix to coat other meats, like pork chops and fish.
So what did we think?
The result wasn’t bad per se, but I personally don’t need to have it again. The breading was really crusty and kind of hard by the time the chicken was cooked through. It also didn’t stick very well. The directions say to make the chicken wet before putting it into the bag to coat, and we did that, but I think what it really needed was to be coated in flour and egg first like a traditional breading technique.
Even if it would have been tasty, I probably wouldn’t buy this product again. Why? Just take a look at the ingredients list, straight from the Kraft website:
CHEESE BLEND (MONTEREY JACK, CHEDDAR, AND PROVOLONE CHEESES [PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES, ANNATTO (COLOR)], POTATO STARCH, CELLULOSE POWDER, AND CALCIUM SULPHATE ADDED TO PREVENT CAKING, NATAMYCIN [A NATURAL MOLD INHIBITOR]), SEASONED BREADCRUMBS (ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR [WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], SALT, CANOLA OIL, MALTODEXTRIN, SUGAR, BACON FAT, AND BACON BITS [BACON (CURED WITH WATER, SALT, SUGAR, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE), SMOKE FLAVOR], CARAMEL COLOR, DRIED ONION, YEAST EXTRACT, HYDROLYZED CORN PROTEIN, DEXTROSE, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, YEAST, SPICE, PAPRIKA EXTRACT, SAGE, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, FOOD STARCH-MODIFIED, NATURAL FLAVOR, DRIED TOMATO, SILICON DIOXIDE, BACON [CURED WITH WATER, SALT, SUGAR, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE], LACTIC ACID, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, LACTOSE [FROM MILK], NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, ARTIFICIAL COLOR); CONTAINS: MILK, WHEAT
I understand some of those ingredients like bacon bits, paprika, and cheese blend, but what the heck is “HYDROLYZED CORN PROTEIN” (i.e. MSG!) doing in my breadcrumbs? According to Fooducate, this product also contains nitrates and controversial artificial coloring that could cause hyperactivity in children, cancer, and allergic reactions.
We don’t always cook the healthiest of healthy foods here at The PinterTest Kitchen, but we do at least like to know WHAT we are eating. When something as simple as breadcrumbs has too many ingredients to count, I have to wonder, should I really be eating this?
I feel like I could probably make this at home by combining some freshly grated cheese with some breadcrumbs and seasonings. No needs for all the processed junk. So my verdict is thumbs down. The flavor was “meh” and the ingredient list is scary.
Have you tried Kraft Fresh Takes? What was your experience?
Have a product you’d like us to review here on The PinterTest Kitchen? Drop a line to allisonmboyer -at- gmail.com.
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