Bonnie: Kashi has baked up three tasty, good-for-you pizzas with crusts made with Kashi's signature blend of "seven whole grains and sesame" with flax seed. The flavor is great just don't overcook it, or the crust gets too hard. In fact, I'd suggest checking it a minute or two before the time suggested by the cooking instructions.The pizzas are topped with just enough tasty ingredients (chicken, feta cheese, fire-roasted peppers) to provide good flavor without lots of calories. A third of any of these all-natural pizzas serves up about 300 calories, 9 grams of total fat (including some good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids), 620 milligrams of sodium, a hefty 15 grams of protein and a decent 4 grams of fiber. A slice also provides a half serving of whole grains. In other words, unlike Pizza Hut's Meat Lover's Personal Pan Pizza (with its 49 grams of fat), these pizzas are a nutritious meal!
Carolyn: If you think pizza must have a doughy crust, red sauce and lots of greasy meat and gooey cheese, you can stop reading right now.
Kashi's new pizzas have none of the above. What they have instead are crusts so hard and thick that I wasn't sure I could recommend them. However, their interesting (but nontraditional) nutty taste and satisfyingly gnawable texture and their equally interesting and delicious gourmet toppings (like spinach and roasted red pepper sauce) won me over. These pizzas are also virtually grease-free.Loyal Supermarket Sampler readers may recall that I also liked Kashi's frozen entrees. Continue to come up with new products as good as these, Kashi, and I may lose my credibility as a junk foodie.
Campbell's Chunky Fully Loaded Soups. Beef Stew, Rigatoni & Meatballs, Stroganoff-Style Beef and Turkey Pot Pie. $2.99 per 18.8-ounce can.
Bonnie: Don't be mistaken by the Campbell's name: These new Fully Loaded Soups are not really soups. They're thick, gooey, salty and saucy meat-and-starch combinations reminiscent of other horrible canned meals. Campbell's Web site says that "Fully Loaded takes soup to the next level." That's blood lipid level, if you ask me, since each can is fully loaded with calories (up to 500) and fat (up to 28 grams.) To be fair, they are decent in fiber (the Rigatoni & Meatballs variety has 12 grams per can) and will fill you up.But none of these are satisfying when it comes to flavor. In fact, I'd say this is the worst new line Campbell's has introduced in recent memory.
Carolyn: It could be argued that Campbell's Chunky Soup is already "loaded." But the concept behind this new Fully Loaded sub-line is more meat, which for the most part is quite tender. I also liked the tomato pieces in the sauce of the Rigatoni & Meatballs, though I longed for more dumplings in the Turkey Pot Pie.This is a minor quibble. My major ones are like Bonnie's: (1) Despite the Chunky Soup name, these are not soup but shelf-stable meals. And (2), as shelf-stable meals go, these are closer in quality to Dinty Moore than the equally sinful but better-tasting frozen Marie Callender.
Betty Crocker Ultimate Fudge Truffle Mix. $3.99 per 15.6-ounce box.
Bonnie: Betty's latest baking-aisle offering is a candy kit to make chocolate truffles without baking. The kit includes the truffle mix, cocoa coating and 24 liners, and it will be available only through the holidays.
To make these truffles, just microwave the mix with water and some butter, shape the cooled mixture into balls, coat with the cocoa powder, and place them into their liners.Making truffles from scratch is pretty easy. But if you don't want to go to the trouble of getting a recipe and the ingredients, these could make a nice addition to your holiday buffet or a nice gift that's wrapped in a candy dish. Nutritionally, these probably are lower in fat than ones you'd make at home, with two truffles providing about 5 grams of total fat (half of which is saturated). But my homemade taste much better.
Carolyn: Don't make it yourself when good or even better-tasting already-made products are available. If you're going to eat something sinful, it had better really taste sinful. Otherwise, why bother? These are two "general rules of food" that came to mind after I tried Betty Crocker's new inaccurately named "Ultimate" Fudge Truffle Mix.
Though extremely easy to make, these are hardly "ultimate" in indulgence. The taste is more like uncooked brownie batter than the soft, rich chocolate candy I know truffles to be. Nowadays you can buy truffle candies this good at candy, gift, department stores even some supermarkets. The Trader Joe's chain sells wonderful ones that are relatively inexpensive.This mix is even cheaper. But you shouldn't be pinching your pennies with chocolate truffles, especially not around the holidays.
Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian and professional speaker. Carolyn Wyman is a junk-food fanatic and author of "Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods That Changed the Way We Eat" (Quirk). Each week they critique three new food items. For previous columns, visit www.supermarketsampler.com, and for more food info and chances to win free products, visit www.biteofthebest.com. © Universal Press Syndicate