Women

Warm hors D’oeuvres seem like an upgrade from the usual cheese and crackers, but are products from a super-market freezer case worth serving your guests? Yes, if you choose right.

Our trained tasters tried six spanakopites (aka spinach pies or triangles), six mozzarella sticks, and six mini tacos or taquitos (their tortilla is rolled like a cigar). Half of the 18-all six spanakopites plus one mozzarella stick and two mini tacos-are very good. The rest are just decent.

 
Our trained tasters tried six spanakopites (aka spinach pies or triangles), six mozzarella sticks, and six mini tacos or taquitos (their tortilla is rolled like a cigar).

Our trained tasters tried six spanakopites (aka spinach pies or triangles), six mozzarella sticks, and six mini tacos or taquitos (their tortilla is rolled like a cigar).

When it comes to nutrition, all earned a score of Good, based on calories per gram of food, fats, sodium, sugars iron, calcium, and fiber. Per piece, however, their nutrition numbers differ. For example, sodium ranges from 55 milligrams to 255 milligrams per piece. As a group, the mozzarella sticks tend to have more calories, fat, and sodium than the other types. Sizes range from about ½ to 1 ounce per piece tend to be in the biggest packages.

Spanakopites.

Most of these Greek snacks have fresh-tasting spinach that blends well with feta cheese in browned, crispy phyllo. The best of all, Cuisine Adventures spanakopita (Costco) and The Fillo Factory, cost about one-fifth as much as Dufour per piece. Cuisine Adventures tastes freshly prepared; Athens has a hint of dill; Trader Joe’s has more feta than most and tastes a bit saltier.

The Fillo Factory

The Fillo Factory

Mozzarella sticks.

Farm Rich are big, made of cheese with just the right amount of stretch, and have a lightly seasoned, browned, crispy coating. They cost just 27 cents each. Drawbacks in the other five products include dehydrated seasonings, uneven texture, and off-tastes. Appetitos sticks, for example, have an overused-oil flavor; Alexia sticks have slightly rubbery cheese; T.G.I. Friday’s sticks had more breading than cheese after most of the cheese leaked out. Appetitos, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Nice come with dipping sauces, which didn’t help their flavor. 

 
Farm Rich cheese sticks

Farm Rich cheese sticks

Mini tacos and taquitos.

Don Miguel and Trader Joe’s combine tasty chicken and flavorful, spicy sauce in a tasty corn tortilla. Trader Joe’s sauce has less of a kick and has a tomatillo flavor. Those two cost less than the rest per piece but are also about half the size of most. Lowest- rated Delimex has a tasty corn tortilla, but that’s about it. The filling’s ground chicken reminded testers of chicken liver.

Trader Joe’s sauce

Trader Joe’s sauce

Bottom line.

Eat your spinach. The spanakopita appetizers are the tastiest and have 75 calories or fewer per piece. Pop a few appetizers, though, and the calories, fat, and sodium can reach dinner –size levels. Eating a light snack before a party might stop from overdoing it and ending up with hors d’oeuvre remorse.

The spanakopita appetizers are the tastiest and have 75 calories or fewer per piece

The spanakopita appetizers are the tastiest and have 75 calories or fewer per piece

Ratings in order of taste

Ratings in order of taste

365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods)

365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods)

T.G.I. Friday’s sticks

T.G.I. Friday’s sticks

 

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