Pros: a little goes a long way
Cons: there are better choices
On a recent shopping trip at my local Super Walmart, my daughter noticed this Kraft Macaroni and Cheese topping sitting on a high shelf near the Parmesan cheeses. She wanted to know what it was so I got it down so she could look at it. She was very excited to see all the things it said you could do with it and begged for me to buy it for her. Now usually, shes begging for candy or some expensive toy so I figured if this was what she wanted, wed try it. Besides, our agreement always is that if I agree to buy her something on a shopping trip, she cant start begging for something else afterwards or she gets NOTHING (and that includes whatever the first thing was). So, I figured I was getting off easily since it was still early in the shopping trip and this tactic usually works pretty well. I reminded her of it and we were off.
So, What is it?
This product comes in a container similar to the Kraft parmesan cheeses. It is a plastic container with a shaker top. Inside is an orange powder that looks very much like the cheese sauce in the white packets in the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It smells the same too.
The taste of this product totally reminds me of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese so I am assuming that it is pretty much the same as the cheese sauce they use. It is a mild cheese flavor that is just a bit salty.
What Do We Use This On?
The side of the container lists ideas of things you can use this Cheese Topping on. It says you can sprinkle on: fish sticks, potato chips, baked potatoes, chicken nuggets, hot popcorn, and vegetables. It also says that this product can be stirred into chili, soup, rice, scrambled eggs, grits, and mashed potatoes.
We have tried several of these ideas. My daughter really likes to sprinkle this onto popcorn. We simply make microwave popcorn and shake the bag. It makes cheesy popcorn that is pretty tasty. It is mild but I like the flavor and so does my daughter. She says it makes ordinary popcorn taste special.
We have also tried using this product on steamed vegetables, particularly broccoli. I add just a small amount of butter to the hot broccoli after it is steamed and then sprinkle on a little bit of this cheese topping. It makes the broccoli very flavorful. It is not the same as when we melt actual cheese on top of the broccoli but it is more mild and it is tasty. My family likes real cheese better but enjoys this when we dont have any real cheese to use.
My daughter has also tried sprinkling this on several other foods but I have not had a chance to taste them. She has tried chicken nuggets and found that it really did not stick so it was hard to taste. She tried sprinkling it on salad but decided it tasted weird. And, she tried stirring it into her alphabet soup but said she couldnt even taste it.
Ingredients and Nutrition
Per the package label, the ingredients in this product are:
whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, contains less than 2% of citric acid, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, milk, calcium phosphate, yellow 5, yellow 6, cheese culture, enzymes.
A serving of this product is 2 teaspoons and there are approximately 14 servings in the can. (Personally, I use a lot less than 2 teaspoons in a whole bag of popcorn which gets shared 3 ways!). In you 2 teaspoons serving, there will be 25 calories, including 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of protein. There is 270 mg of sodium (or 11 % of the RDA) and there is 4% of the RDA of calcium.
So, basically, we have found that this makes a good topping for popcorn and vegetables, but really not much else. When used just for these purposes, the small can will last quite a long time. We still have more than half of the original container so a little goes a long way and this product lasts quite a while! Its a bit expensive but if you only use a little and it lasts, then, I guess, it is worth an occasional purchase!