Back in February, I made a post about how I make gluten-free mac and cheese. Ya know, the type that kids love with the neon orange coloring? In that post I tossed out a little teaser:
The good news though… I have heard on VERY GOOD authority that a cheddar cheese powder (that is sold in individual packets, no less!!), will soon be coming to market. The cheese powders will also be TESTED to ensure they contain less than 20ppm of gluten (but so far they have actually registered “undetectable” for gluten in preliminary testing!), WOO-HOO! That is all I can say for now, but I will update you as soon as I can.
I am excited to say that the time is here, my friends. Last week, I received a complimentary package of the latest gluten-free product by Riega Foods (the same company that imports Cerealvit gluten-free cereals from Italy). The Gluten Free, All Natural Cheese Sauce Mixes are this gluten-free mom’s dream come true!
A little information on the cheese sauce mixes from the Riega Foods website:
The new Cheddar Cheese Sauce Mixes from Riega Foods are a delicious and economical way for the busy family to enjoy time together. Whether you are making gluten free mac & cheese, cheese sauce for vegetables, or sprinkling on popcorn our cheddar cheese sauces can be enjoyed by the whole family. It is simple, tasty and priced right. The cheese sauce mixes are Gluten Free and All Natural.
Each pack gives you the freedom to choose the pasta your kids love. Just measure out 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c of elbow pasta (or equivalent of other type) and prepare. When pasta is ready just add one pack of Riega Cheese Sauce with 1/4 c milk, stir, eat and enjoy!
Kids love the taste and busy mom’s love the price at only $1.39 per pack.
Ingredients: Whey, Buttermilk Powder, Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Salt, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Maltodextrin, Cream, Sodium Caseinate and Lactic Acid.
Ingredients: Whey, Buttermilk Powder, Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Salt, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Maltodextrin, Cream, Natural Color (Annatto Extract), Sodium Caseinate and Lactic Acid.
Both Cheese Sauce mixes are:
- Gluten Free
- GMO & Hormone Free
- All Natural
First I just want to say that I love the packaging, that little cow is too cute! We’ve only had the chance to try the Yellow Cheddar flavor thus far, as we have spent the weekend hiking in the mountains. Sam and Luke loved it and Sam even requested a second helping, which he seldom does because he “wants to save room for dessert.” My husband even liked it and he would never touch the prior version I made, LOL! I really enjoyed it too and thought it tasted more like real mac and cheese (the homemade variety with shredded cheese), and there was no chemical aftertaste to it. I am excited to try the cheese powder in some recipes over the coming weeks, including a new cheese cracker recipe I found that calls for cheese powder. I also think some cheese popcorn is in our near future.
An added benefit for me is that I no longer have to print up labels with “cooking directions,” to stick on my pre-portioned bags of mac and cheese. The cooking instructions are printed right on the back of the sauce packets! I not only save time, but I also save money for the cost of the labels!
Most importantly though, is the fact that the Riega Foods Cheese Sauce Mixes are tested (twice in fact), to be sure the product is truly gluten-free. If you read my recent post, you may recall that my last blood test came back tTG positive. I was apparently unknowingly ingesting gluten, so I have since been revising my personal approach to shopping for gluten-free foods. It makes me feel safer knowing that a product has been tested for the presence of gluten and I will support the companies that test their products, even if it costs slightly more. In the end, it will cost me less if I can avoid further health complications related to untreated gluten sensitivity.
As for the cost, I priced out what I have paid for bulk cheese powder in the past. A 1-lb. package of cheddar cheese powder from Frontier Coop costs $23.40 before shipping. There are approximately 16 (mac and cheese size) servings per pound, so that is approximately $1.46 per serving and Frontier Coop does not test their products for the presence of gluten (due to potential cross-contamination). It also comes in bulk, so I have to weigh and portion it out into individual bags. I also have to print up labels which adds more time and added cost (for my homemade “boxed” mac and cheese packages… convenience does have a cost!).
The Riega Foods Cheese Sauce Mixes are set to retail (before any shipping costs) for $1.39 each. Riega Foods also tests their products to be sure they are gluten-free. Plus, their cheese sauce is already portioned out and pre-packaged, with the cooking instructions right on the packet!!
I will add a 3rd comparison just in case you are wondering why I don’t just buy a commercial boxed GF Mac and Cheese that includes the pasta:
Annie’s Homegrown Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese cost $2.69 a box on Amazon. The only problem is that my kids do not like the pasta, so I end up using my own anyway, which means Annie’s cheese powder essentially costs me $2.69 a packet! Nothing against Annie’s, we love a lot of their other GF products, just not the pasta.
The Riega Foods GF Cheese Sauce Mixes just started hitting the store shelves last week. They can currently be found in some Hy-Vee locations and in natural health stores around the Kansas City area. They should also be appearing on Amazon and a few other online sources in the coming weeks.
You can also download this link and print out a New Store Request Sheet to fill out and take to your favorite store buyer!
**This Giveaway is now closed**
Riega Foods has generously offered to give TWO of my readers a 24-pack of their gluten-free, all-natural cheese sauce mixes, Woo-Hoo!
To enter, please leave a comment about:
How important is testing for the presence of gluten in a product to you and your family? Would you be willing to pay slightly more for a product that has been tested and confirmed to be below 20ppm of gluten?
Bonus Entry Opportunities:
For 1 Bonus Entry: Tweet about this giveaway and include a link to this post, then leave a comment letting me know you did this.
For 2 Bonus Entries: Mention this giveaway on your Facebook Page and include a link back to this post, then leave a comment letting me know you did this.
I will use a Random Number Generator on Friday, May 21, 2010 to select the TWO winners.
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