A few weeks ago I wrote about eFoodsDirect and their awesome emergency pantry foods. Through the generosity of eFoodsDirect, I received a package containing their Tortilla Soup, Creamy Potato Soup, and Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.
The Tortilla Soup was very delicious. As I mentioned in my review of the Tortilla Soup, it was so good that I ate three bowls. The next item I decided to review was their Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.
The directions for making the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole were quite similar to the directions for making the Tortilla Soup. Bring water to a boil, whisk in the contents of the pouch, and cook for a few minutes. Does it get any easier than that?
As I poured the pouch into the boiling water it smelled really good. Like any other packaged rice meal, I knew it was going to take a bit of time for this one to cook. I lowered the heat and settled in to read one of my textbooks while it cooked.
With five minutes remaining on the timer, I decided to check it, and I was a bit disheartened to see that the mixture had not thickened up as much as I thought it would have. The Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole contains rice, cheddar cheese, peas, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and sea salt. It also contains autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed corn protein. This matters, and I will tell you why in a few moments.
This product took much longer to cook than the directions indicated. After 25 minutes of cooking, it was nowhere near cooked, in fact some of the rice was still crunchy. I had to cook it an additional 15 minutes, at which point I decided to take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Even then, it needed an additional 10 minutes before it thickened up enough.
As I waited for the food to thicken, I finished reading the package. It contains 912mg of sodium, 7 grams of protein, 14 mg of cholesterol, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of saturated fat. The sodium content is much higher than that of the Tortilla Soup, and I was a bit nervous that this product would taste a bit salty.
The first bite was quite delicious. My first thought was, “This is real good, I could eat this everyday, forget emergencies.” The texture was just right, given the amount of cooking time, and I continued to eat the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.
Four or five bites in, I noticed a strange aftertaste. I picked up the package to review the ingredients and that is when I noticed the autolyzed yeast extract and the hydrolyzed corn protein. As someone who suffers from adverse affects of eating foods that contain processed free glutamic acid, I have to be careful not to eat too much of those foods. Ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid are autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn protein, and the more commonly known ingredient, monosodium glutamate.
I did not suffer from an adverse reaction to the processed free glutamic acid, and I never figured out what was causing the strange aftertaste following each bite, but I decided not to push my luck by eating any more of the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole. I did not suffer from a reaction when I ate the Tortilla Soup either, which also contains both ingredients. The mere presence of those ingredients does not mean I will always suffer from a reaction, but I was not taking any chances.
In summary, I think the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole serves its purpose as a food stored for emergency preparedness, but it did take much longer to cook and the strange aftertaste left me a bit perplexed. eFoodsDirect asked for my honest opinion about their products, and I honestly hope they work to remove additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed corn protein from their ingredients for these products.