Thursday, October 21, 2010

First Compartmentalized Tray

Today’s meal is the Healthy Choice Roasted Monterey Chicken.  This is part of the “Complete Meals” line from Healthy Choice, and it is easy to understand why.  More than any other meal I’ve reviewed thus far, this reminded me of the TV dinners of my youth.  What I mean by that is that the entrée, side dish, and dessert were each compartmentalized in the (recyclable) tray and I got the distinct feeling that I was indeed consuming an *entire meal* and not just an entrée that would likely need supplementing in order to fill me up (note: the package weighs in at 11 oz.).  But also, I believe it reminded me of the TV dinners of twenty-five years ago because even though it was named “Chicken Monterey,” implying a flavorful, distinctive dish, I found the flavor of chicken, mushrooms, and rice pilaf in a cheese sauce to be rather unmemorable, leading me to feel like it could have been named “Baked Chicken,” as it probably would have been named twenty-five years ago. 

The vegetable side was a dry concoction of corn, black beans, poblano pepper, and cilantro, although you could have fooled me on the cilantro because it had absolutely no flavor.  One would have to actually add some salt to bring out some flavor in this side, and I think we’ll save the discussion about sodium and these frozen meals for another day. 

The peach dessert, which contained whole grain rolled oats, caught my attention.  I do love both peaches and rolled oats, so this made it a winner in my book.  It cooked well too.  Additionally, I am starting to suspect that the addition of fruit is what makes the difference between a frozen meal having absolutely no nutritional value and starting to be worthwhile.  This meal has 35% of the RDA of Vitamin C, and 15% of Vitamin B12.  So, that’s something…?

Calories:  320
Fat:  8 g / 0 g trans fat
Sodium:  560 mg
Notable good nutritional content:  35% Vitamin C / 40% Folic Acid / 15% Vitamin B12
Notes on cooking:  4 minutes, stir, 1-2 minutes more
Notes on packaging:  Old School compartmentalized tray, recyclable

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