Chew & Review: Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken Verde

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I like to combine errands. Really kill two birds with one stone. So it comes as no surprise that I decided to combine a jogging excursion with a trip to Jewel/TCF the other evening. I threw in a load of laundry before I left for good measure, and was out the door.

I did my usual 2+ miler, ending up at the Jewel on Ashland/Milwaukee/Paulina. After waiting the obligatory 15 minutes in line at the bank, I high-tailed it to the frozen “single dinners” aisle – a place so familiar, it’s basically my own personal Cheers. Quickly navigating past the full priced Lean Cuisines and SmartOnes, and noting briefly that the entire line of Healthy Choice products was on sale (but not a really great sale), I thought I might have to tough out the week eating Michelina’s Lean Gourmets, which I believe Jewel is required by law to sell at the low price of 10/$10 (that’s $1 to you).

But, wait…  Did I happen to see something new in the Healthy Choice section? Could a whole treasure trove of culinary adventures be awaiting that would allow me to bypass my frugality and spend $2.49 per meal without any coupons? I wheeled back around, and sure enough, my trained eyes had not deceived me – Healthy Choice has more new meals that capitalize on “steam cooking for freshness.” Not my beloved Cafe Steamer Bowls, but new meals with good stats for a Weight Watcher like myself. I picked up 3 of the new flavors to finish out the work week and paid a whopping $2.49/each sans coupons for these steamed delicacies.

Upon further investigation, these meals appear to be so new and exciting that even Healthy Choice doesn’t know what to call them. I couldn’t find them yet on their website, and they don’t seem to fall into one of their other categories of frozen meals, which we all know are: Cafe Steamers, Complete Meals, Select Entrees and All Natural Entrees. The lack of category has me at a loss for what to call these, but for my own purposes, I’ll just call these new creations “Steamies.”

Let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of my Roasted Chicken Verde Steamie. Here’s what the packaging looks like:

Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken Verde

Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken Verde Nutritional Information

The full description is “chicken tenderloins with whole grain rice, sweet corn, red & poblano peppers in cilantro-lime sauce.” It clocks in at 240 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber.  Weight Watchers Points = 4. The packaging also claims it is “Ideal for Lunch!” Thanks for the tip, Healthy Choice.

The instructions told me to microwave on high for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, but since all my frozen meals start the day with an hour train ride in whence they get a chance to fall into the defrosty danger zone, I threw caution to the wind and microwaved my RCV for 4 mins and 10 seconds.

After peeling of the film (which tore off in two chunks vs. one, thereby increasing my chances of a steam burn), my Roasted Chicken Verde looked exactly like this:

Cooked Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken Verde

Ok, not too far off from the photo on the package, and with a pleasant enough aroma. Upon my first few bites, it seemed that the steaming had left the veggies crisp and fresh. The combination of veggies, chicken and rice was agreeable, and the sauce had enough flavor that I actually forgot to add salt…which I usually add quite a bit of, despite the sky-rocketing levels of sodium frozen meals usually pack. The sodium level in this Steamie is 500 mg. Is that high? Not as high as it would be had I liberally dumped salt on it, that’s for sure.

Since my lunch was only 4 points, and I hadn’t eaten anything yet for the day, I was planning to combine my meal with a side of Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats, which is a rare 100 calorie, 1 point Weight Watcher wonder. If you don’t know what that means, just go on WeightWatchers, and you will. Ok, back to the deli flats. Yes, bread with a liberal dosing of spray butter (zero calories!)  is just what this meal called for. I made for the mini-fridge to collect my precious blue bottle of buttery spray. Instead my eyes seized on the delicious fat-free cheese slices tucked away under the block of ice that had formed where the freezer portion of the fridge used to be. Are you thinking what I was thinking? That I would turn this Roasted Chicken Verde Steamie into a Roasted Chicken Verde Sammie? Well you were right, and here’s the proof:

Roasted Chicken Verde Sammie

Look at how delicious that looks with the processed, devoid-of-any-fat cheese struggling to break its chemical bonds and melt against all laws of nature! It was actually pretty good – probably better than eating the meal and bread separately. I added 130 calories to the meal, 1 or 2 points, depending on how sanctimonious you are as a WW.

Overall the Roasted Chicken Verde was pretty decent. Nothing super exciting here, but I will probably buy it again because I like to stick to the low end of the WW points for lunch. The rice was slightly glue-y, but the chicken, veggies and sauce were slightly above average. It was acceptable on its own, but much more enticing as a sandwich. Thumbs up to Healthy Choice for giving it enough taste to make me forget about my salt shaker. More Healthy Choice Steamie Reviews coming soon!

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  1. Liz says:

    I ate this steamie today for lunch. I thought the rice was a tad mushy and there was not enough chicken, but all in all, good flavor. The fact that its only been 30 minutes since I ate and I’m pretty starving isn’t that great, but again, what can you expect for 4 points I guess. I agree it is worth a try.

  2. Nirali says:

    This is my favorite healthy choice steamie by far b/c of the spiciness and tangy-ness. The rice is a tad mushy at times, but I dont mind. I took your tip and made mine into a sammie and it is delish!

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