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Frozen Entree Roundup

Posted by tinako on January 17, 2010

Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup

This morning I made Waffles and Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup.  Delicious.

Sweet Potato Dal

Some other stuff I made today was Pita Bread and Sweet Potato Dal for a potluck tomorrow,

and Poppy Seed Bagels for breakfasts next week.

Sunday we bring takeout to my parents’ house for dinner, and lately we have been picking up a non-veganizable pizza and so I bring a frozen meal.  For a few weeks it was Kashi’s vegan pizza, but it has oats, to which I am allergic, and it was making me itch.  I also found the quality a bit unpredictable – the first couple had more veggies on them.  I just looked at the above link and it seems like other customers have found the same thing – some people say they love it and it has lots of veggies, but others either complain of it having almost none or happily added their own (I did that with the last pizza and it was much better, but Kashi needs to give their pizzas the same amount of toppings shown on the box – every time).

So, realizing there was no need for me to eat pizza just because everyone else was, I broke free and started bringing other stuff.  The first one was Helen’s Kitchen Thai Yellow Curry.  It was pretty good, but of course these things never look like they do on the box.  That may be their “serving suggestion,” but how on earth could anyone have the nice white rice on the bottom and the curry poured over it when it all comes in one bowl?  Despite not looking like very much food, it was 362 calories and I felt satisfied afterwards.

The second one I tried, last weekend, was a Moosewood Moroccan Stew.  There was about the same amount of product as Helen’s, but the stew, billed as an entree, had only 150 calories.  If I hadn’t eaten a bunch of those samosa snacks ahead of time, knowing that dinner would be a bit skimpy, I would have been starving.

Tonight I had Amy’s Black Bean Enchilada Whole Meal.  That was good, and at 284 calories it satisfied me, with almost as much protein and carbs as Helen’s, and less fat.   It still looks nothing like the photograph though.  All those things were submerged in a big flat puddle of brown sauce.

I think for truth-in-advertising, manufacturers should only be allowed to include photographs of meals that were actually frozen as the customer would receive them.  They’d be allowed to rinse off the rice, fluff it up, whatever, but only from what’s in the frozen box.  They could add garnish, put berries and milk on cereal, and so forth, but no more having the chef whip up a separate portion in a fancy kitchen miles from the factory.  Then it would be an actual “serving suggestion,” as opposed to, “we suggest you come to our facilities and pick out the items before they’re poured together into a plastic bowl and drowned in sauce.”

All of these were about $4 each.  I would not typically buy frozen meals like these.  They are too expensive, too small, don’t look very good, and have too much sodium (460, 400, and 740mg respectively), but they are reasonably whole foods and taste pretty good with only 5 minutes in the microwave.  They solve the problem I’m having with cheese in takeout pizza sauce, so I’ll stick with them for this situation.

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One Response to “Frozen Entree Roundup”

  1. David Abed said

    Hi Tinako,

    I came across your mention of Helen’s Kitchen Thai Yellow Curry, and wanted to thank you for giving it a try. I am the social media director for Helen’s Foods. While I see you had a few concerns, I am glad our low calorie dinner was able to keep you satisfied. I look forward to reading your other food thoughts and reviews. I love the “bring your parents takeout on Sundays” tradition! And if you’re a curry fan, keep an eye out for our Thai Red Curry and Indian Curry meals too.”

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