Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: Blake's All Natural Meals



 Blake's All Natural Foods is the true embodiment of a family company. It all started in a farmhouse in Concord, New Hampshire, back in 1929. Clara Blake and her son, Roy, sold all-natural, free-range turkeys to New England families (especially around the holiday season). In the 1950's, Roy's son, Charlie, took to farming and later he graduated from the Thompson School of Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire. He was the one to branch out, taking the all-natural turkey and putting it into one of his grandmother's recipes - a turkey pot pie. Just as they do now, Charlie made all of his ingredients from scratch. He became very successful selling the pot pies from the back of his truck. Charlie and his wife built a production facility as the business grew. In 2006, Charlie's daughter Amy and her husband Chris joined the business, and brought in many of Clara's recipes to really expand Blake's product line to what it is today - natural, from-scratch, and healthy.

Chicken Pot Pie

Here is what Blake's has to offer:

 Organic Meals
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • All Meat Chicken Pie
  • Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie
  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Harvest Vegetable Pie
  • Farmhouse Macaroni and Cheese
  • Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken
  • Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies
  • Macaroni and Beef
  • Upside Down Chicken and Waffle Pie
All Natural Meals
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie
  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Garden Vegetable Pie
  • Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
  • Veggie Macaroni and Cheese
  • Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Beef
 Family Sized Portions
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • White Meat Chicken Pie
  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Turkey Pot Pie
  • White Meat Turkey Pie
  • Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
Blake's All Natural meals are healthier alternatives to what we generally see in the frozen food section. What are the differences? Well, first of all, Blake's meals are free of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils (commonly known as trans fats). Their meat-containing products are higher quality -- you will find no animal by-products, antibiotics, or hormones in their ground beef and they only use white meat chicken. Their company has been certified organic by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. Blake's organic meal selection uses at least 70% organic ingredients, and the Harvest Vegetable Pie and White Meat Chicken Pie are 100% organic. Their meals are great for anyone who focuses on purchasing organic foods, or for anyone who follows a strict diet, such as vegan, lactose-free or vegetarian. They have several vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free options. Their cheeses are rGBH, and animal enzyme free; they are aged using a microbial/vegetable rennet. Blake's pot pies are significantly more healthy compared to other brands, because they are manufactured in a unique way. They do not have a bottom crust, which cuts back on sodium, carbohydrates, and fat. Instead, they contain more of Blake's yummy fillings!

Taste is one thing that Blake's has mastered; it is clear that they care about the quality and marketing of their products. You can really tell the difference in "authenticity", since Blake's meals are prepared by people and not by machines. This way they do not lack that special homemade taste that we all crave from our parents or from a favorite, local restaurant. Their meals are "made from scratch" -- they mash real potatoes, they cook their own chicken, and they make their own gravy recipe.



Blake's was generous enough to send me two free product coupons so that I could test out their meals and report my opinions to you. I chose the Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies and the Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken. At first, my free product coupons were lost in an envelope under some other mail, so I didn't even know they came! They were unearthed when I moved, so I was nervous that they wouldn't have Blake's meals in Maine, where my new apartment is. Lucky enough, they do, and these meals actually came in handy - we are a little strapped for cash and this helped out with dinner last night!






The Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken comes in an 8 oz. box in the frozen section of some local grocery stores. It contains the following ingredients: Cheddar cheese sauce (water, cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto color), organic whole milk, corn starch/wheat flour, organic butter (pasteurized organic sweet cream, salt), sea salt), organic macaroni (organic durum wheat flour), cooked organic white chicken meat, organic broccoli, breadcrumbs (wheat flour, dextrose, sugar, yeast, salt), soybean flour, non-fat dry milk. Therefore, the Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken contains milk, wheat, and soy - just so you are aware for any food allergies. This product is minimally processed, contains no artificial ingredients, and contains no preservatives. It uses no antibiotics, no animal by-products, and no artificial coloring. There is one serving per box (8 oz) and that contains 360 calories, 17g of fat, 80mg of cholesterol, 320mg of sodium, 34g of carbohydrates, and 18g of protein. It has 10% daily value of Vitamin A, 15% daily value of Vitamin C, 15% daily value of Calcium, and 4% daily value of Iron.

The Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken can be cooked in a conventional oven (best results) at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. You just need to remove the wrap and place the container on a cookie sheet. You can also put the Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken into the microwave for 3-4 minutes.

My boyfriend got to choose one Blake's All Natural Meal from the grocery store for dinner, and I got to choose one. The Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken was his choice. He loved that the meal was made with organic chicken that was not raised on antibiotics, and that it was made with organic bowtie pasta. The ingredients really can be trusted and have that authentic, homestyle taste. He said that the breadcrumbs added a nice texture, and that the cheese sauce was creamy and delicious. Although the meal was not big enough to fill either of us for dinner, we paired it with mashed potatoes and some extra veggies and made a full course meal. It would be plenty for lunch or if you were really in need of a hearty snack! My boyfriend really enjoyed the Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken and asked if we can get it for dinner again sometime. He wants to try some of the other varieties of Blake's All Natural Meals that we found in Whole Foods.





The Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies comes in an 8 oz. box in the frozen section of some local grocery stores. It contains the following ingredients: Cheddar cheese sauce (water, cheese (pasteurized mil, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto color), organic whole milk, corn starch/wheat flour, organic butter (pasteurized organic sweet cream, salt), sea salt), organic macaroni (organic durum wheat flour), organic peas, organic carrots, organic broccoli, organic red pepper. Therefore, the Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies contains milk and wheat. One box of Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies contains one 8 oz serving and 300 calories per serving, 12g of fat, 35mg of cholesterol, 510mg of sodium, 40g of carbohydrates, and 7g of protein. It contains 60% the daily value of Vitamin A, 25% the daily value of Vitamin C, 10% the daily value of Calcium, and 4% the daily value of Iron.

The Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies can be cooked in a conventional oven (best results) at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. You just need to remove the wrap and place the container on a cookie sheet. You can also put the Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken into the microwave for 3-4 minutes.

I ate the Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies for dinner last night and I loved it! I love that it tastes like I am eating one of my grandma's special recipes, and not like your standard frozen food. Sometimes I think of frozen food as bland, loaded with chemicals, and just...artificial and preservative tasting. It usually has too much salt, no flavor, and weird textures. I felt like I was simply heating up leftovers when I ate the Macaroni and Cheese with Veggies - NOT like I was eating something frozen. It had all the right flavors; the cheese was creamy and scrumptious and the vegetables were hearty...not tiny little tough things that you find in other frozen foods. You could pass this off as your own cooking if you were desperate! This is definitely a meal I would recommend for all mac and cheese lovers, as macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite foods...definitely my favorite comfort foods. This one is right up at the top, along with my mom's recipe and several other. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

You can purchase Blake's meals in many major retailers, such as Whole Foods, Shaw's, Market Basket, Top's, Wegman's, P&C Foods, etc. Check here, at Blake's store locator, to see where you can pick up some of their awesome products. If you can't find them in your area, Blake's offers large sampler packages that can be ordered online on their website.


Interested in learning more about Blake's All Natural Foods? Visit the links below:

24 comments:

  1. This is the first I have heard of this brand! I love that it is actually healthy and made with all natural ingredients without any yucky stuff! Plus the servings look so big! I am definitely going to be on the lookout for these!

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  2. I'm so excited to read this, I've never heard of this brand but I'm so happy to see all of this natural and organic food!

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  3. I must say I have never heard of Blake's All Natural Meals, I would like to try their organic meals....look so yummy!

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  4. This look's like a great brand. I love that it's all natural.

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  5. Yum, I'd like to try the Mac & Cheese with chicken - that looks good! I love easy meals.

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  6. I have never heard of Blake's, and really because we eat organic/chemical-free had started to avoid the freezer area of our grocer. I am going to have to look for this brand!

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  7. Those look absolutely wonderful! I have never heard of Blakes, but I am going to have to look for them now!

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  8. These look really tasty. Thanks for all the pics! I like when a reviewer includes pictures so we can see what it actually looks like.

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  9. These look delicious!! Yum yum! They sell them near my folks so I will have to keep my eye out. Maybe I can convince our grocery store to sell them. Thanks for the honest review. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

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  10. First Time to Try Blake's Tried The Chicken & Dumplings ,, Very small portion & was NOT very good ,,, was disappointed ,, was hoping my husband would like this ...So Blake's is of my shopping list

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  12. This is the first time I have tried a Blake's product. I bought the chicken pot pie and was so surprised as to how GOOD it tasted! I think the overall flavor, texture and ingredients earn the 'Made from Scratch Since 1929' logo on the front of the carton. I will search out which local stores carry other Blake's menu items. I bought the chicken pot pie at my local Walmart store. It was only 8 ounces, but it was 8 ounces of yumm!

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