I always get excited when I see a brand of supermarket mac and cheese that I haven't previously tried, and since I'd actually never even seen Michelina's products before I couldn't resist this one. I opted for the kind with wheel-shaped pasta as opposed to more conventional elbows, since unique pasta shapes are always exciting.
Preparation was really easy with this one, since it was a microwave product. The cheese starts out on the opposite side of the tray from the pasta, and you have to stir it partway through. Though this sounds minor, it was actually a slight hassle because of the fact that the tray is supposed to remain covered while the mac and cheese cooks, with one corner vented to let steam out. This made it difficult to stir properly and resulted in uneven cheese distribution throughout the tray. Again, this sounds like a minor concern, but for those of us who take our mac and cheese seriously (even when it comes out of a freezer) this is actually a pretty big deal.
Flavor: 2.5/5. The cheese was not particularly flavorful and had a strange aftertaste. I ended up adding a few shakes of salt – probably not the wisest choice for a sodium-filled frozen meal, but it seemed necessary and ended up improving the sauce's taste to the point where I was willing to eat the rest.
Consistency: 3/5. The sauce was creamy and worked nicely with the pasta, but there wasn't much of it.
Pasta Shape: 5/5. The wheels were a unique choice for a store-bought macaroni and cheese and held the small amount of sauce nicely.
Overall: 2.5/5. Michelina's tagline is "Let Mama Feed You," but if this is the best Mama can do, I'm not impressed. The one thing that saved the Wheels and Cheese from a truly atrocious rating was the pasta shape, but even that did not redeem it to the point where I would go out of my way to eat it again. Sorry, Mama, but I'm going to have to put this one in the category of "Foods I won't buy even if they're on sale."
Nutrition Information: Serving Size 1 tray. 350 Calories, 90 Calories from Fat; 11g Fat, 4.5g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat; 20mg Cholesterol; 780mg Sodium; 48g Carbohydrate; 2g Fiber; 6g Sugars; 13g Protein.