Have you seen the new Great Value Gourmet Soups and Mac & Cheese selections at your local Walmart yet? We recently heard about this and wanted to give them a try as they are said to be compared to the quality and taste of those found at casual dining restaurants (i.e. chain restaurants).
Today, we are reviewing these new selections and also giving away a $50 Walmart gift card.
For example, according to reviews, many are saying that these soups are compared to the similar varieties found at Panera Bread. We really enjoy eating at Panera Bread, but it is not very often because they are a bit pricey.
In addition, our kids LOVE the the Pub Mac & Cheese from Red Robin. We get one to share between two kids as it is FAR better than the expensive yellow mac & cheese kids meals. But even this is not that frequently as it is still pricey to take a family out to eat.
That is why we occasionally like to explore the freezer options for these restaurant-style dishes at home. It generally means that we can feed everyone a similar meal for 1/4th of the cost.
And this case is no exception! In fact the soups are so-panera-style that they also include croutons like the restaurant.
But the real question is….how do these Great Value Soups and Mac & Cheese compare?
The first and often one of the top comparisons for all of us budget-minded families is the price. I know that we can’t eat “restaurant style” everyday, but if we can eat restaurant-style at home instead of eating out, we can get that much closer to our goals.
So I am not comparing the prices for “everyday eating” but for those alternatives to eating out.
Great Value Soups are in the freezer section
Walmart is offering 4 different varieties of soups:
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Each one serves 4 people. The price of these soups is $5.48.
This makes them only $1.37 per serving. This is literally less than 1/4th of the “eating out price.”
When you are at Walmart, you can find these soups in the “convenience foods” freezer section.
Great Value Mac & Cheese in the freezer section
Walmart is offering 2 different varieties of Mac & Cheese:
- Classic Mac & Cheese, and
- 5 Cheese Mac & Cheese
The 5 Cheese Mac & Cheese reminded me of my kids’ favorite restaurant mac & cheese – the Pub Mac & Cheese from Red Robin as this is also a 5-cheese version with bread crumbs on top.
Each one contains 3.5 servings. The price of the Great Value Mac & Cheese is $4.98. This makes each serving $1.42. Since Red Robin is 5 times this price, this also is a REALLY GREAT VALUE!
The Mac & Cheese was located with the soups. In our local store, the Great Value Mac & Cheese was located in the “Entrees” freezer section.
Cooking Ease and Options
We chose these three products as they are our favorite “restaurant” soups and mac & cheese for our family specialty dinner.
This is what they looked like when we opened the packages:
Another thing that I noticed about these Great Value casual restaurant varieties was the many options for cooking these dishes. I was intrigued and excited that the microwave was not the only option for these freezer meals. And along those same lines, that the conventional oven was also not the second or only option.
I get tired of trying to make a fast and convenient meal from the freezer either in the microwave or oven.
With both the soups and the mac & cheese, they have 4-5 options for cooking:
For the soup, you can cook it by:
- Slow Cooker (YAY!)
For the mac & cheese, you can cook it by:
- Slow Cooker (YAY!)
I LOVE having all of these options. I personally chose to cook the soup by the stovetop (thawing method) and the mac & cheese by stockpot, topping it off by baking it in the oven for that crispy, cheesy, top!
My experience cooking the soups:
We had the Great Value Broccoli & Cheese Soup and the Great Value Tomato Basil Soup. I wanted to cook it on the stovetop like how soup is normally cooked.
Since it was frozen, I thawed it in a stockpot of tap hot water for about 10-15 minutes.
They went in the stock pot of tap hot water.
After 10-15 minutes, they were mostly defrosted.
After they were defrosted enough to put in a stock pot, we just poured them out into the pan. They had some frozen chunks still, thus the clumpiness of the Broccoli Cheese Soup and the wateriness of the tomato soup.
I only had to cook them on the stove top for about 6-7 minutes at this point. I did notice that the tomato soup really had to be whisked to make one uniform consistency.
After that, they were done in just over 20 minutes total from freezer to table.
When I made the Great Value 5-Cheese Mac & Cheese, I decided to go with the stockpot cooking option. It was so easy. I just dropped the frozen bag into a stockpot of boiling water. The instructions say to boil for 10 minutes if thawed and 35 minutes if frozen.
I was cooking from frozen. I planned to bake the topping and finish is off with a baked finish. So I noticed that the mac and cheese looked thoroughly steamy hot after about 25 minutes. So I only boiled it for 25 minutes from frozen.
I then poured into a baking dish:
I then topped it with the included topping:
I popped it in the oven at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
It was beautiful with that delicious extra crunchy, baked element. I love topping off gourmet mac and cheese in the oven.
So I was VERY pleased with the ease of cooking, outside of a microwave or conventional oven.
Since these options passed the price and cooking test, the final test was the taste. If the taste wasn’t there, then who cares about the other factors? Right?!?
Great Value Broccoli & Cheese Soup
My kids LOVED this soup. I tasted it as well and it did taste like it had just come out of a Panera-type kitchen. I personally am not much of a cheese soup person, but they liked the dish dry.
Great Value Tomato Basil Soup
I personally opted for Tomato Basil. Most of my kids were not too fond of it. But Tomato Basil is one of my favorite soups.
I think it a bit sophisticated for their little palate. But I really, really enjoyed the Tomato Basil soup.
It was the perfect choice for me. I will buy and eat this over and over again for date night in with Alex. It’s a perfect solution.
Great Value 5-Cheese Mac & Cheese
This was also a total winner! It was so, so good! The thing that surprised me was that I expected the noodles to be a bit squishy and a gross consistency. At least this is what I expected from frozen to cooked noodles from my past experiences. But they were actually perfect, slightly al dente, which is how we like it. So only boiling for 25 minutes and baking for 8-10 minutes was PERFECT.
The 5-cheese blend was amazing and my kids said they thought it tasted EXACTLY like their favorite restaurant version. So I am happy to have found an option to save a bit of money on eating out.
In the end, these options are really a stellar alternative to the restaurant versions. Now you can have family or date night in and enjoy the same kind of meal for a fraction of the cost.
Enter to Win A $50 Walmart Gift Card
Now that we have shared an alternative to eating out that will save you loads of money, we want to make it even more awesome for one of you! We will be giving away a $50 Walmart gift card so that you can have a totally free date night in or family night in.
It’s easy to enter! All you have to do is leave a comment! But we would also love for you to try these out and share your pictures and thoughts with us too.
Enter by leaving comments like:
- Which product(s) seem of most interest to you?
- Have you tried these yet?
- Would you use an alternative like this for eating out?
- What product DID you try (and share a picture with us!)
- Whatever you want about this topic!
You can also receive one bonus entry for subscribing to our weekly money-saving/money-making newsletter HERE, then confirm your subscription by clicking on the confirmation link in your emai. Once you have done that leave a comment that you subscribed AND confirmed your subscription.
This giveaway will run through Monday, March 31st at 11:59 pm MST. The winners will be selected randomly and will be notified via email. Must be 18+ to enter and reside in the United States. The information collected is utilized for entry into this giveaway only.
This is a sponsored post, written by me, and my opinions solely. We strive to provide real and helpful information for a money-conscious audience in all of the posts we provide.