Miss A Columnist

Emma Mincks is a free spirit in her 20's with feminist leanings and a love of all things foodie. She graduated with a BA in English from Gonzaga University in 2008, where she studied abroad in London, and eventually made her way back to the Pacific Northwest after graduating with her MA in Literature from the University of New Mexico in 2011. She is excited to work as a freelance writer, editor, and tutor in Seattle, and is beginning a career with words. You can check out her local literary musings at the blog lookingforpemberley.com. If you have a Seattle charity or cultural event, restaurant, boutique, spa, or salon you would like covered on Miss A, please contact Emma at emma.mincks@gmail.com.

Cucina Fresca Gourmet Smoked Gruyere Mac And Cheese

Cucina Fresca, a Seattle-based natural prepared foods company, got its start as a small family business in Pike Place Market, serving the community wholesome and fresh comfort foods. When creating their line of fresh and frozen meals, they make sure that only the highest quality ingredients are included–and it shows. Recently, I had a chance to try some home-baked goodness from this local gourmet food leader, and was very impressed with what I tasted.

Smoked Gruyere Mac and Cheese. Photo Credit: Cucina Fresca

I honestly am not usually a fan of most frozen meals. I find they all end up tasting the same, and are usually bland. Cocina Fresca breaks the mold with outstanding food.

I made one of their several Gourmet Mac and Cheese dinners, with a side of strawberry salad and steamed broccoli for my housemate and myself. We both loved how creamy, well balanced, and “ineffectually delicious” the Smoked Gruyere Mac and Cheese tasted paired with the light and tangy  salad.

Something I really appreciate about this company is that they only use the best ingredients in their recipes. For example, they use only rBST free whole milk and creamery butter in their Mac and Cheese.

The Mac and Cheese was not over seasoned, but very flavorful. The different elements and the smoked Gruyere were present in every bite, making just a small amount enough for one person to savor and enjoy. I mixed in my steamed broccoli and the Mac and Cheese was still the star of the meal. It is a very wholesome tasting meal, and even more so when mixed with your favorite vegetables.

Mac and Cheese and Salad. Photo Credit: Emma Mincks

Because this product is so versatile, I would definitely recommend playing with your food when you try the Mac and Cheese. That nondescript box of Mac and Cheese could definitely feed a family. I was surprised that there was about half of it left, even after my housemate and I both had two portions.

I added my salad and broccoli after the macaroni was finished baking in the oven, so I could taste it in its pure form before adding anything. There are many different ways to mix in various ingredients during or after your Mac and Cheese is cooked to create flavorful and nutritious meals for your friends and family.

One of the mix-in recipes suggested by Cucina Fresca chefs themselves is perfect for the spring and early summer and has a quick prep time–sautéing asparagus, corn, red bell pepper, and garlic for a few minutes before adding thawed Mac and Cheese entree and cooking on the skillet. This yields a beautiful and nutritious meal, and if desired, you can also add crab or shrimp for a light and summery dish.

Asparagus Skillet Meal. Photo Credit: Cucina Fresca

I highly recommend trying Cucina Fresca’s Gruyere Mac and Cheese next time you are in a Seattle grocery store. Their current line also features fresh pastas, sauces, and their famous “lazy” lasagna.


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