Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl Review

Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl

We’ve only very recently began our journey in the Banquet line of frozen meals. It’s actually a bit surprising how long it took us to get there — we’ve been reviewing food for more than four years now, and we only started looking into the Banquet brand maybe a week or so ago.

But we’re slowly beginning to fill in this blind spot in our review repertoire. Today, for example, we’re digging into the Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl.

The cook time on this little bugger is a real doozy. You’ll pop it into the microwave for four and a half minutes, give it a quick stir, then pop it back in for another minute and a half to two and a half minutes. That’s a total cook time of six to seven minutes, which is certainly longer than average for a frozen meal (and in line with a lot of Stouffer’s offerings).

We should point out that the shorter time (six minutes total) worked out just fine for us.

When we first looked at the box and saw how many meatballs were pictured, we thought to ourselves, “There’s no way that’s an accurate photo. There are way too many meatballs there.” As it turns out, there actually are a ton of meatballs here. We counted 12 in our bowl (you can see 11 in the image below, and we found another one hiding beneath the pasta). They are just a bit smaller than they appear on the box, but this is still way more meatball content than we’re used to seeing in a single-serve frozen meal.

Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl

The flavor of the meatballs is actually quite good. These are soft (and not rubbery), and they have a garlicy flavor that we really enjoy. Of course, the garlic flavor probably comes from the sauce and not the meat itself. Still, we were honestly expecting lower-quality meatballs here, so these were a pleasant surprise.

As you might have guessed, the word Dynamite in the title refers to the fact that this is a little bit spicy. Now, this is a type of spiciness we weren’t necessarily expecting — it’s like they used an excessive amount of black pepper, and it sort of tickles the back of your throat as you eat it. While we do enjoy spicy foods, we’re not sure we enjoy this particular attempt at spicing up the dish. (We should point out that we don’t actually see black pepper on the ingredients list, but this tastes and “feels” like it does have a whole lot of it. We’re not sure what the culprit is.)

The pasta is a pretty middle-of-the-road penne. It’s ribbed, but the ridges are kind of shallow for our preferences. We appreciate the texture, but it’s a bit subtler than we would like it to be. Of course, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t a really, really insignificant nitpick here. It’s just an observation from one reviewer who particularly enjoys textured pasta.

This is not a food for dieters, that’s for sure! With 590 calories and a whopping 1,300 mg of sodium, this isn’t something you’ll want to eat every day. Both of those numbers are almost double what we’d hope for from a diet-friendly frozen food. Thankfully, because of the generous meat portion, this is actually quite filling.

We might have some nitpicks about the Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl, but we still think it’s quite good. In fact, this is a lot better than we were expecting it to be. After sampling the Buffalo-Style Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese, we were expecting mediocrity. While this meal doesn’t rise up to greatness, it certainly rises to goodness. And we appreciate that.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen food, check out our package scans below.

Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl
Banquet Dynamite Penne with Meatballs Mega Bowl