Healthy Choice Italian Sausage Marinara is described as having Italian pork sausage in a marinara sauce over whole grain pasta with green beans & zucchini. I decided to buy this classic pasta dish (along with a few others), for lunch this week.
I thought the dish delivered a solid performance in taste, but it wasn't spectacular. I love the thick hearty pasta, which soaked up the slightly sweet and not too tomatoey sauce nicely, but the cheese was a bust for me. It was in the middle of the dish and there it stayed. When I tried to mix it with everything else, it was just stringy and stuck to the fork. I'm a huge fan of green beans, so thanks Healthy Choice for including 1 cup of vegetables in this meal - but I'm not big on zucchini and thankfully, there wasn't much of it.
Each meal provides 310 calories, 7 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of which is saturated fat (11% and 13% of the daily value), 24% of the daily value for sodium (580 mg), 7 grams of fiber (20% of the DV), 9 grams of sugars and 16 grams of protein.
Since this week's meal plan calls for lots of seafood, I've been trying out a variety of frozen meals that have either shrimp or fish. The latest one is Healthy Choice All Natural Lobster Cheese Ravioli, It's described on the packaging as having, "Ricotta cheese and lobster filled ravioli, with green and yellow zucchini in a vodka sauce, topped with parmesan cheese."
After a brief stint in the microwave, I was greeted by some (i.e. 5) delicious tasting, lobster ravioli. There was no mistaking the lobster flavor, although it was a wee bit salty. What I could have done without was all that salty vodka sauce - WAY too much. It detracted from the taste of the lobster and I would much rather have less of this sauce and more ravioli. The rest of the meal was green and yellow zucchini, which were okay - not too soft, but these aren't 2 of my favorite vegetables - I would have preferred some green beans, asparagus or pasta. Overall, I ate all the ravioli without messing too much with the sauce, and left everything else.
Each Healthy Choice All Natural Lobster Cheese Ravioli provides 270 calories from 6 grams of total fat including 2.5 grams of saturated fat (9% and 13% of the DV), 600 mg sodium (25% of the DV), 4 grams of fiber (16% of the DV), 9 grams of sugars and 11 grams of protein.
Healthy Choice Herb Crusted Fish is described as a, "herb crusted white fish and whole grain pasta in a tomato basil sauce, with green beans and carrots." There haven't been many "fishy" frozen meals that I've enjoyed, but the picture on the front of the packaging looked so enticing that I decided to try this.
The individual components of the meal were okay, but they just didn't come together. The green beans & carrots were firm and plentiful. The pasta was al-dente but flavorless. I gather there should have been a tomato basil sauce, which I came to realize later was the wetness on the underside of the fish - it totally soaked up the sauce, and didn't add anything positive to the eating experience I might add - who wants to eat soggy fish bottoms? The fish itself was - okay - it wasn't dried out, but it wasn't exactly flavorful either.
Each Healthy Choice Herb Crusted Fishh meal (312 grams) provides 270 calories from 5 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of which is saturated (8% of the daily value). 350 mg sodium (15% of the DV), 5 grams of fiber (20% of the DV), 8 grams of sugars and 16 grams of protein.
Healthy Choice has really worked hard on changing the image of their frozen foods. The line of entrees they now produce are All Natural, Café Steamers, Complete Meals, Select Entrées and Steaming Entrées. Since they were on sale recently at the grocery store I decided to try a few "new to me" ones, including the Healthy Choice Chicken Romano Fresca, part of their "Steaming Entrées". Healthy Choice says, this line includes bigger, more vibrant ingredients in a lunch-sized portion. "Steaming locks in freshness and unlocks the delicious flavors of quality ingredients, so you can taste and see the difference. Forget poking or stirring; our new steaming technology cooks your meal thoroughly in one easy step."
The directions for the Healthy Choice Chicken Romano Fresca said to just pop it in the microwave (no poking holes in the plastic film) for 3 to 31/2 minutes, then let it stand for 2 minutes. The meal certainly looked delightful with quite a bit of broccoli, red bell peppers, chicken and pasta. I mixed everything together, and took up a forkful. With such a fancy sounding name, I didn't expect that the taste would be so ordinary. The texture was beautiful, crisp broccoli plus tender chicken and pasta, but there wasn't much flavor. It wasn't bad, but not really that good either. It reminded me a lot of the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Roasted Chicken Marsala - something that also, despite a ton of sauce, is lacking in flavor. And I wouldn't exactly call this a filling lunch - or maybe I just have a big stomach, but I had a decent sized salad along with this to ensure that I wouldn't be hungry in another hour or 2.
My roommate and I always make a productive stroll through the frozen entrée aisle of the grocery store with each weekly grocery trip that we make. Frozen meals are just perfect when I'm in a pinch and have a major test or project that demands all of my attention. As I was trying to narrow down my options to the select few that would go home with me that week, my roommate suggested that I try the "all natural," vegetarian, Healthy Choice Tortellini Primavera Parmesan.
As you pull back the plastic and put your microwave to work, you will notice a plethora of plump tortellini and large vegetable pieces, which is a welcoming attribute. However, we all know that the taste is what it really comes down to, but, no worries on that front. The veggies (zucchini, red bell peppers and carrot sticks) are plentiful and tender-crisp, while the whole grain tortellini are cooked to a just-right, al dente texture and have a cheesy interior (which I would have loved to see just a bit more of). Overall, the components of the dish combined with the thin, yet flavorful marinara type sauce and the extra touch of cheese for a most delightful dish. It is one of my roommates' favorite frozen dinners and I can certainly see why.
Let's talk ravioli - something that I love. Of the frozen dinner type meals I've tried, Lean Cuisine Cheese Ravioli is fantastic, Weight Watchers SmartOnes Ravioli Florentine is pretty good too, and Healthy Choice Pumpkin Squash Ravioli is just okay. One that I hadn't tried before was Healthy Choice Ravioli Florentine Marinara, so when I saw it on sale for $1.89, I was all about it.
I put my standard bag of frozen broccoli to good use when I realized that there was not much in the way of veggies going on in this little black tray. Other than that, it looked like it could be a winner. The sauce was a well-developed marinara sauce, differing from a spaghetti sauce with a lighter texture and a more prominent tomato flavor. The little round pasta pockets were al dente and filled with a creamy, ricotta-like spinach mixture that was quite enjoyable. The only thing that was a bit overbearing was the cheese, which was a bit chewy, and a few bites were full of solely cheese. I also had about 2 tablespoons of the plentiful serving of cheese leftover when I threw the otherwise empty tray into the trash. If Healthy Choice would simply cut back on the cheese, a lot, I would add this dish to my favorites list. Then again, if I just remove some of the cheese on my own and add some frozen veggies for a little extra crunch factor and boost of vitamins, it's not too far off.