I’ll admit a certain degree of skepticism when I heard about this new product from Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing. I had visions of gluey macaroni and cheese from a box with a few broccoli florets scattered around for variety. Of course, I should know better.

Pamela's Kitchen: Mann Packing Veggie Mac N’ CheeseThis product seems aimed right at me. I have a 4-year-old who likes most fruits and vegetables, but would choose pasta all day every day if he had the option. What a great combination to have fresh, flavorful vegetables with a well-made macaroni and cheese.

This does take some assembly, and make sure you use a bowl deep enough that your cover does not touch the food inside or you’ll have melted plastic with your cheese.

It took the full three and a half minutes for my broccoli to be well-cooked, but not mushy.

The best part about this product is that everything was good. It wasn’t good steamed broccoli with so-so mac n’ cheese. The mac n’ cheese could have stood on its own. The combination (especially the bacon cheddar flavor) was perfect.

This product brings me back to the beginning of Pamela’s Kitchen, back in 2007. The first product I tested was Mann Packing’s Ready Set Steam, a broccoli with cheese sauce in a microwaveable tray. While Ready Set Steam was a decent product in its time, the technology and recipe development have come a long way.