Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Meal Review Number Two

I have to start out by thanking everyone for all the great suggestions about different elements to highlight in a review of a frozen meal.  Is the packaging recyclable?  Can it be heated in a single programmable segment at full power, or is there a lot of cooking and half power, stirring, cooking at full power, and stirring.  And just how long does it take to cook it?  I will keep all of these suggestions in mind and incorporate them into future meal reviews.

Can a frozen meal really be spicy?

Yesterday for lunch I had the Healthy Choice Spicy Caribbean Chicken.  This was your standard-sized meal for the calorie-conscious, which is to say that the portion size seemed rather small.  Indeed, there were only 310 calories which I believe to be an impressively small amount for an entire meal, so it’s no wonder the portion size is small.  However, this mix of chicken, pineapple, black beans, and corn had brown rice as its base, giving it 30 grams of whole grain fullness (brown rice always seems to fill me up easily). 

The beans and the corn had an unfortunate consistency that made it seem like they had been dehydrated and then rehydrated.  The pineapples, while a great addition to a frozen meal entrée, had a less-than-flavorful canned quality.  The chicken was fine; not great, but fine.

As to the question of whether or not a frozen meal really can be spicy, I have my doubts.  This meal’s jerk sauce had a spicy level that was about equal with your standard “medium” salsa.  Personally, I don’t find this to be a terrible thing, but does that really qualify it as “spicy”?  Additionally, the entire meal seemed to have the same flavor.  No individual bites of chicken, corn, rice or beans seemed to stand out with their own flavor.  The pineapple, of course, was still noticeable in its sweetness, but not enough to help give this meal high marks in the category of flavor.  It *was*, however, enough to give a person 25% of their daily recommended value of vitamin C.  Not too shabby.

It should be noted that this meal *was* able to be cooked in a single shot of several minutes, without additional stirring and other inconveniences.  That's worth extra bonus points.


  1. Hi Carly,
    This blog gives me hope. We have the dinner problem on Tues and Thurs nights because JT teaches at LLCC those nights. As you have already no doubt noted, it is hard to do meal prep with little boys underfoot. We have been working are way through mac and cheese and grilled cheese but those are getting old for me-the boys love them and would probably eat them everyday, if I let them. Instead, I could eat one of your suggested meals. This is very exciting and gives me hope!
    Anne Armbruster

  2. Glad to be of service! The variety of options available is staggering. Maybe this will help you zero in on some you would like to try.