Quick Barilla Meals: Saving Me From a Hangry Moment (With a Giveaway!)

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Barilla. Barilla provided me with product in order to conduct this review. However, my opinions on the product are entirely my own, and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Barilla or their products. For our sponsored post policy, click here
You know those days when you totally eat a sensible breakfast, but then all of a sudden, BAM, 11 a.m. rolls around, and you know you’re not going to make it until noon? You’re starving. Like, NOW. When that happens to me, I start to get shaky. And when I start to get shaky-hungry, I’m steps away from getting hangry. You know hangry; when you’re so hungry that you’re angry. And you start to feel like a caveman who will knock anyone down who gets in the way of you and your next meal. A Barilla survey said that 33 percent of respondents skip lunch because they don’t have time, and I’m just curious: Who are you people!? (Hopefully not the same ones that skip breakfast, too!)
For those moments, which honestly happen to me a few times a month, I love the Barilla Italian Entrees. A sneak peak:


The new Meat Sauce Gemelli. Looks simple, tastes pretty darn good.

Ready in just 60 seconds, they’re a microwavable meal that is ready so fast you won’t even be able to remember what hangry feels like. And while these meals are fantastic at helping me out in a pinch, I know from experience that they are also perfect for kids who decide they are starving the moment the clock strikes five. They don’t care that you haven’t even thought about dinner yet — they want food, NOW. (They must get it from me.)
Ok, so yes, they’re super convenient and super easy. But how do they taste? And do they deliver any sort of nutritional value? Luckily for you, yes and yes.
To make these, you simply peel back the edge of the packaging to vent…

A little vent action.

…and pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds. Once it’s done, pull it out and pull the packaging off to reveal this:

The separation of the sauce and pasta increases the fresh taste.

The meals keep the pasta and sauce separate in the tray, so you can customize your pasta experience. If you’re saucy like me, dump it all in. If you like light sauce, save some for another day. If you like to dip one pasta noodle at a time, no one’s stopping you! One note: The packaging does say to hold the sauce tray down with your thumb while peeling the plastic packaging off. After a few of these, I forgot to do that, and I’ll just say that, yes, pasta sauce does go flying, so play careful, kids!
Then you simply pour …

Pouring like a chef. Not pictured: My husband stealing noodles.

… and enjoy!
Because Jenn’s gluten-free, I took on this tasting challenge. (She’s actually in luck, too, as Barilla will be coming out with a gluten-free variety in 2014!) I’ve long been a Barilla pasta customer, but I didn’t know what a prepackaged meal would be like — and I was so pleasantly surprised by the taste. I’ll just say it’s a far cry from your kids’ canned ravioli. The new Meat Sauce Gemelli variety tasted fresh, with chunks of tomatoes and meat you could see.

And a close-up so you can see the detail.


Super extreme close-up.

The pasta is al dente — it’s soft but has a bit of a bite — and you can add a splash of water and 30 extra seconds for softer pasta if you like. It has roughly a quarter of your daily value of sodium, but there are no preservatives, and you can actually pronounce all of the ingredients, which is really nice. The Meat Sauce Gemelli version clocks in at 350 calories, 13 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber — all in all, not bad for a nukeable meal. The meatless Marinara Penne comes in at 310 calories, 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. While you’d probably need to top off  your meal with a piece of fruit, some veggies or yogurt, these are certainly satisfying meals that are great in a pinch — and that will totally save you from hitting a drive-thru.

Separation of pasta and sauce

The Tomato & Basil Penne, separating sauce and pasta for easy customization.

We’re giving some of these away to readers, so tell us: When do you most often get “hangry”? Is it before lunch? Dinner? Breakfast? How would a solution like this help you? Comment below for a chance to win. U.S. residents only, please! —Erin

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


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  1. Susan Christy says:

    Cooking for one is not much fun, so this would be a great alternative to my usual bowl of cereal.

  2. Lisa says:

    I get REALLY hungry early in the morning. I’m a night-nursing mama, so I must be using a ton of energy all night long, because the hunger pains actually wake me up. And that’s with a bedtime “snack”.

  3. Ashley says:

    In between lunch and dinner for sure! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  4. I get hangry right before dinner. Sometimes it’s so bad I want to just throw my hands up and cry. This would be great as a late afternoon meal.

  5. Dee says:

    I get very hungry at breakfast…after not eating for 8 hours, that’s when it hits me the hardest!

  6. Ivori Rose says:

    I get very HANGRY for dinner around 5:30 – 6 PM. ; I want something to EAT and I WANT IT NOW !
    The Barilla Italian Entrees would help me because, not only is the meal healthy, and filling, it’s also fast and easy to make.

  7. Renata says:

    I get very “hangry” around 11:30ish and these would be extremely helpful for a quick, convenient and fast workday lunch on the go when I’m super busy!

  8. Ray says:

    I usually get hangry at dinner when I get home late from work and these meals would be handy. Thanks!

  9. Georgiana says:

    I’m always running out of time during lunchtime when I’m hangry so these would be wonderful!

  10. Erin says:

    Congrats to No. 1 Susan Christy! Expect an email with details shortly! —FBG Erin

  11. Susan Christy says:

    Got your email – responding now! Thanks, Erin!!