Lean Cuisine Cheese Ravioli

March 5, 2009

Lean Cuisine Cheese Raviolo=i Furthering my quest for a good frozen pasta dish, I picked up Lean Cuisine’s Cheese Ravioli at the grocery store yesterday. Ravioli may qualify as the best invention ever, and if I can eat it every day for only 240 calories I would be in heaven. Lean Cuisine offered just that, saying the dish contained “delicate ravioli stuffed with Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, then topped with a robust tomato sauce accented with basil, onion and garlic”. You’ve got to love it when Lean Cuisine starts using “robust” in their product descriptions.

Needless to say, the ravioli was not robust. Even though microwaving it smelled incredible, when I took it out I was disappointed to find only 6 small ravioli pieces. They were only just covering the bottom of the little plastic container! Deciding that this would be better suited as a side dish, I reheated some chicken Parmesan and served myself the ravioli to go along with it. Were I eating just the ravioli, this would be massively disappointing. I would have to eat at least two of these for them to qualify as a dinner.

As far as taste is concerned, the ravioli definitely ranked well above the previously reviewed Angel Hair Pomodoro. The pasta shell had a much better texture and the sauce was not as runny. Despite all this, they were not packed with flavor. You could taste the cheese (although the ravioli could have contained more of it) and the tomato sauce had some hint of the basil, onion and garlic. All together, though, this did not hit the spot. If you’re looking for a full meal, you’re better off going a different route. As a small side dish to something more substantial and tastier (I served myself about 2/3 of the package), it actually works decently well.  Massive reduction on the overall rating due to the serving size, though.

Stars: 3/5

Nutritional Facts: Serving Size: 1 Package.  240 Calories.  50 calories from Fat. 6 g Fat.  3.5 g Saturated Fat.  40 mg Cholesterol.  600 g Sodium.  540 g Potassium.  38 g Carbohydrates.  3 g Dietary Fiber.  10 g Sugar.  11 g Protein.  5 Weight Watchers Points.

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Lean Cuisine Angel Hair Pomodoro

March 4, 2009

Lean Cuisine Angel Hair Pomodoro

From Lean Cuisine: “Delicate angel hair pasta in a chunky marinara sauce and topped with melted Parmesan and zesty Asiago cheese”.

If I had to describe Lean Cuisine’s Angel Hair Pomodoro in word word, it would be forgettable. Craving pasta again last night, I popped this in the microwave looking forward to what I was hoping would be a satisfying, healthy alternative to ordering out from an Italian restaurant. Size-wise, this was fairly substantial for only 250 calories. Taste-wise, this wasn’t what I would call a winner. Despite subtracting 30 seconds from the cooking time, the angel hair pasta was a little overcooked and gummy (by no means al dente). The sauce, while it wasn’t incredibly watery, didn’t really taste like much at all. While the chunks of tomatoes were tasty and sizable, they were also somewhat sparse. As for the Parmesan and Asiago cheeses, I could barely tell they were there.

While I wouldn’t describe it as bad, it wasn’t necessarily good, either. There was enough pasta to make it a full meal, but the only way I would buy this again is if I needed a 5 minute side pasta dish to something more flavorful and filling. Also, its good to keep in mind that this contains a whopping 620 mg (26% DV) of sodium. Better bet? Boil a small pot of water and drop some pasta in it and add some marinara sauce. It seriously only takes about 12 minutes longer and you will be a much happier camper.

Stars: 3/5

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 1 package. 250 Calories. 45 Calories from Fat. 5 g Fat. 2 g Saturated Fat. 0 g Trans fat. 5 mg Cholesterol. 620 mg Sodium. 470 mg Potassium. 42 g Carbohydrates. 4 g Dietary Fiber. 10 g Sugar. 8 g Protein. 5 Weight Watchers Points.

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Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips

March 3, 2009
The barbeque kind looks just like these, but the bag is bright orange

The barbeque kind looks just like these, but the bag is bright orange

I am always on the lookout for a way to fulfill my desire for potato chips without giving myself a heart attack from all the saturated fat I would be consuming by eating a bag of Utz everyday.  I keep coming across various forms of “popped chips” in grocery stores lately, so when I was at Trader Joe’s I snatched up a bag of Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips.  What are popped potato chips?  Not fried or baked, they’re potato chips cooked under heat and pressure until they “pop”.  Apparently this means they’re much healthier than regular chips.  Side-by-side with Lay’s Barbeque Potato Chips, they contain 30 less calories for a 1 oz serving (in the case of the Trader Joe’s chips, this translates to about 19 chips) and less than half the fat.  They are also free of saturated fat and cholesterol.  They do, however, contain 20 g of carbohydrates to Lay’s 15 .  Curious, I looked at the ingredients.  The first ones named are potato flour, potato starch safflower oil and/or sunflower oil, barbecue seasoning, onion and garlic powder.  In a nutshell it sounded like a pretty darn good combination of flavors.

Assured that these would not, in fact, kill me, I gave them a try.  In one word, these are AWESOME and not lacking in flavor like the sad cardboard excuses for potato chips that baked chips are.  Each od the popped chips has a very generous amount of the barbecue seasoning on it, giving the chips the necessary bright orange color.  The seasoning had a nice smoky, spicy mesquite flavor to it.  They are roughly the same size as regular potato chips, although they are circular and slightly thicker and airier and seemingly grease-less (they do, however, still have a fantastic crunch to them).  My only complaint is that they were a little too salty, but it did keep me from eating the whole bag.  Overall though, these were absolutely incredible and have officially become my new favorite potato chip!  I will have to try the regular store version (Popchips) in comparison.

Stars: 5/5

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 19 chips (28g).  Calories: 120.  Total fat: 4 g.  Saturated fat: 0 g.  Total Carbs: 20 g.  Protein: 1 g.  3 Weight Watchers Points

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Marie Callendar’s Pasta Al Dente Tortellini Romano

March 3, 2009

marie-callenders-tortellini

While browsing the frozen food aisle because I was too lazy to actually cook anything, I came across Marie Callender’s new Pasta Al Dente “steamed to perfection” pasta dishes. Who was I to turn down perfection? Especially when what is promised are cheese-stuffed pillows of heaven covered in a creamy marinara sauce topped with basil and Parmesan cheese. And on top of all that, it contains no preservatives and is “authentically Italian!”. Since apparently the frozen dinners aisle had turned into a free flight to Italy, I quickly snapped up the Tortellini Romano.

I popped it in the microwave later that night to see what perfection tasted like. The dish comes with the tortellini and tomatoes inside a colander-like basket nestled inside a plastic bowl containing the sauce at the bottom.  While it seemed a little elaborate for a frozen dinner, the system worked wonderfully.  After letting the dish set for the recommended 2 minutes, I dumped the tortellini in the sauce and mixed it all together. While it was no Hungryman mega-meal, the serving was fairly substantial and satiating. The tortellini actually steamed nicely with only one or two pieces being just a little harder than the others and the tomato pieces were decent-sized, tasty and not soggy. While I would’ve liked to see a little bit more cheese inside and the sauce was a little more watery than creamy, altogether the meal was flavorful and satisfying.  If you’re craving an easy, quick, tasty pasta dish, this is a keeper.  Definitely one of the better frozen meals I’ve ever had.  Keep in mind, though, that this is just tortellini.  If you’re looking for some sort of a meat portion to your meal, you’re better off going with something else.

Stars: 4/5

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1 meal. Calories: 460. Calories from fat: 140. Total fat: 15 g. Saturated Fat: 7 g. Total Carbohydrates: 62 g. Dietary Fiber: 7 g. Sugars: 7 g. Protein: 19 g.  10 Weight Watchers Points

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