Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Choice’

Who here watches Top Chef? Oh, all 3 of my loyal, very patient readers? Perfect. Well, then I’m sure you remember Kristen Kish‘s revamped Crustless Chicken Pot Pie in Season 10. It rang a vague, dim bell for me in the frozen meals aisle of my local Dominick’s, when the Healthy Choice Steamer line was on sale 4/$10. I hadn’t seen this particular Steamer in the store before, so I figured I’d better pick it up with the intentions of blogging about it, then eating it at my desk and totally not blogging about it when I got home in lieu of watching reruns of Vanderpump Rules. Side note, I think we can all agree Bravo has the best programming lineup ever, am I right?

But…I feel inspired by this Healthy Choice Crustless Chicken Pot Pie Steamer – not because it’s really all that good, but because I’m curious about this Google Authorship business. I’ve been spending some serious time at work updating my company’s Google+ profile because I’m pretty sure it’s going to do great things for its SEO, and I’m pretty sure adding authorship to my blog content will also skyrocket me to instant success! Job offers will pour in, I’ll be booking speaking engagements and press tours in no time and will have to write my labor of love memoir/cookbook, which I imagine will be a cross between Sonja Morgan‘s toaster oven cookbook and Teresea Giudice’s “Fabulicious!”. Perhaps should stop watching so much TV.

Back to the topic at hand – this Crustless Pot Pie Steamer. Meh. I mean, you should try it, and I will actually probably try it again, just in case I actually do like it, but I was underwhelmed. This was the Top Chef Season 10 Elimination Challenge winner in Episode 9, “Past Suppers“? I’m sure Healthy Choice got a hold of it and it went something like this:

Healthy Choice executive: “Kristen, this dish is nice and all, but have you thought about using a bland, mildly revolting, translucent sauce as your base? I’m just saying…. Oh, and have you thought about adding pearl onions? We really like pearl onions around here.

Healthy Choice Crustless Chicken Pot Pie

Yeah, the translucent sauce is the base of this Steamer, but it does seem to have a better flavor this time around. Described by Healthy Choice as ” juicy chicken breast tenderloins with carrots, corn, peas, and tender dumplings, all in a savory pot pie sauce,” one instantly hones in on “tender dumplings” and gets oneself pretty pumped for this crustless crust. And then oneself is pretty damn disappointed, because the tender dumplings taste like the outside of a Wow Bao, and we all know the best part of the Wow Bao is the bbq pork inside. You wouldn’t just eat the outside of a Wow Bao, would you? The answer is no, you would not.

I would like to say the corn was really excellent in this Steamer. It seemed fresh and delicious, and the chicken wasn’t in the least bit disgusting. It just overall lacked flavor, but I’d be willing to give it another try, just to make sure. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to these DVR’ed episodes of I Dream of Nene. Oh, and if someone stumbles across this blog, it seems I’d also be willing to get famous writing reviews of Bravo reality shows.

Healthy Choice Crustless Chicken Pot Pie Nutrition Facts:

CALORIES: 300

FAT: 6g

FIBER: 5g

PROTEIN: 20g

SODIUM: 560mg

CARBOHYDRATES: 40g

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I’m trying my first iPad review from the WordPress app – fancy!

So, I watch a LOT of crap TV; this is not news. What is news is that Top Chef is back with a new season on Bravo, and, man, do I not like that denim dress Padma’s wearing in the promos. I’d actually rate Top Chef in the classier category of crap shows I watch. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty great, and it’s produced a lot of celeb chefs over the seasons. If you come to my house, you’ll even find photos of Kevin and Mike from the Las Vegas season on my fridge from the time when the Top Chef tour rolled into town ON MY BIRTHDAY! Dreams really do come true, kids.

You can only imagine my delight when Healthy Chice teamed up with Top Chef to create a line of Cafe Steamers. Oh, the joy! I marched into Target last week with my “buy 2 HC meals, get a Top Chef Steamer free” coupon and picked up this Linguini thing and some other one that I can’t remember now because I’m on the train.

I was pretty pumped for today’s lunch, because dining at my desk is clearly the best part of the workday, and I was excited to try the Top Chef inspired entree. Since I’m totally back on track with Weight Watchers (since, uh, Tuesday), I was happy to see this only had 6 Points Pluses, meaning I can more liberally soak myself in booze later, or at least not feel as bad about it.

So…my take on the whole thing? A real snooze fest. I did my best Padma impression while I ate (totally flat and monotone) and tried to think what Tom Colicchio would say. I’ve come up with this: “pass the salt and the spray butter.” Yeah, forget about the perfectly seasoned dishes they make on the show – this dish would have fallen squarely in the middle of the pack in a Quick Fire challenge. It wasn’t bad, it was just very…expected. Snore.

I am still looking forward to trying that other one on my freezer, and all of them, really, so look forward to more chew and reviews (and possible tipsy train blogging!).

Healthy Choice Top Chef-Inspired Cafe Steamers, Chicken Linguini with Red Pepper Alfredo

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Whaaat? Is it possible that the last time I hit you with a Chew & Review was in September? Wow, I really apologize. I know you feel neglected, plus how will you know what to eat on your New Year’s resolution diets? I’m just a tad late buckling down on my diet (and let’s not even start on my NY resolution to start washing my face before bed), but I figure February 1st is better than never.

So, how were everyone’s holidays? Did you eat a ton of cookie breakfasts like I did? Followed by cookie snacks, cookie lunches, cookies with afternoon coffee, cookies pre-dinner, cookies for dinner and cookies post-dinner? And let’s not forget the cookie midnight snacks. Thank god the holidays are over…but I just put in my Girl Scout cookie order.

In order to keep myself from getting too jiggly, I’ve been eating a lot of portion-controlled frozen meals in hopes to counteract the effects of the above paragraph. It’s kind of been working – I somehow unbelievably didn’t gain too much holiday weight. But then I threw out my back doing laundry and have been MIA from the gym for a few weeks. Good news – back is doing better. Bad news – snowmg is coming, meaning I probably can’t get to the gym for another few days. But I plan to do a lot of shoveling, which I hear is great for the back.

The Healthy Choice Thai Style Chicken and Vegetables Cafe Steamer has 240 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. On the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program (which I love, btw), this clocks in at 6 points.

Healthy Choice Thai Style Chicken and Vegetables

Described as “Chicken Tenderloins with Whole Grain Pasta and Vegetables in a Sweet and Mild Curry Sauce.” So much for listing off what the vegetables actually are. I can exclusively tell you that there are carrot and yellow squash strips, and a whole bunch of green onions. Whether of the pearl or green variety, HC never skimps on the onions.

Healthy Choice Thai-Style Chicken & Vegetables

I actually enjoyed this meal. It’s steamed with a green curry sauce that is pretty mild. Curry is delicious, but I know that some people don’t like it (weirdos). If you’re not familiar with curry, this could be an okay way to cut your teeth on it. Overheard in the office after heating it up – “You can really smell the curry in that…reallllly smell the curry.” You may want to keep that in mind.

The chicken is…you know, standard frozen meal quality. This was actually my second time eating this meal, and I found something hard in a piece of the chicken today. It grossed me out and then made me unhappy that I have yet another one of these in my freezer (I had some great coupons, but Target didn’t have a great selection). But we all know that you take your lumps with frozen meals, and by the time I finished this, I didn’t mind. It’s a decent size, and I like that it’s served with noodles instead of rice.

Overall, this will probably not be one of my standard weekly go-to meals, but I’m sure I’ll keep it in the monthly rotation. It has a lot of flavor and is a nice change of pace to some of the more standard frozen options.

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All of this...for 47 cents

For all of you kiddies that live close to a Jewel, I suggest you scamper over there before October 14. You see, they’re having a “Buy $25 worth of select Con-Agra products, get a $10 coupon at the register sale” and it goes through October 14. In the crazy world of couponers, this is code for “get a ton of free/cheap food, and where are we on filling out that application to be on an episode of Hoarders?” Let’s break this down.

At Jewel, the “buy $25” is based on the SALE price of the item (NOT shelf price, not PREFERRED CARD price – SALE price…check at the self-scanner what the sale price may be). For instance, the sale price of a can of Healthy Choice soup is currently $2.89. So…you’d need 9 to hit the magic $25 mark. Now, here comes the exciting part…although the $25 is based on the SALE price, when you scan your Jewel-Osco Preferred Card, all of a sudden the prices you actually pay become much, much lower. This is the Preferred Card price. For instance, remember that Healthy Choice soup that was $2.89/can sale price? Well, after you’ve scanned your Preferred card, it’s suddenly only 88 cents. $2.89 x 9 = $26.01, scanning your Preferred card will then give you $2.01 off every can (88 cents/each), so suddenly you’re down to $7.92 WITH a $10 coupon off your next order printing out after you pay (coupon is called a Catalina). In essence, ConAgra just paid you to eat their soup. Note, the $25 must be hit BEFORE taxes. So if you’re at $25.50 and taxes are .60 of that, you’re .10 short an NO coupon would print.

Now, if you’re smart (and trust me, couponers are v. smart), you’ll look at that $10 coupon that printed and say, “hey, if I repeat that transaction, and use this $10 coupon to pay, I’ll get another $10 coupon!” And you’d be absolutely right. If you’re doing just soup ($7.92), you’d need to add a couple more items to be able to use that $10 coupon to pay, so why not throw in at least $2.08 worth of regular groceries and get those for free? That’s how I bought that plastic silverware, bread and hot dog buns for free above.

The play-by-play goes something like this:

  1. Go to the self-checkout lane. DO NOT SCAN YOUR PREFERRED CARD YET!
  2. Scan $25 worth of ConAgra products (must hit $25 before taxes). Stop as soon as you’ve got over $25 (or just over).
  3. NOW scan your Preferred card. Watch total price go down!
  4. Pay. Collect $10 coupon.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4. Remember, you CAN use manufacturer coupons to further your profits. Just be sure to have at least $10 in your order so that you can use the $10 coupon that prints at the register.
  6. Enjoy your very cheap or free groceries.

For examples, in total, I paid $10.47 out of pocket (this total amount was broken up into 6 different transactions) for the groceries above. Of course, a $10 coupon still printed on my last transaction, so I really only paid 47 cents for all the groceries above. I bought 31 cans of soup, 2 eight-roll packs of paper towels, 10 frozen meals, Crunch n’ Munch, napkins, bread, buns, cake mix & frosting, plastic silverware and ketchup for 47 cents! Now you see why couponing can be addicting – it’s like a game where you can absolutely “get paid” to shop.

If you’re new to couponing, I highly suggest you visit Mashup Mom for a more thorough breakdown of Catalina couponing at Jewel. Additionally, find out what products are included in the Buy $25, get $10 sale and some scenarios of how to maximize your efforts at Mashup Mom’s site.

Happy Couponing!

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When I was physically going to Weight Watchers meetings, I once heard my group leader say “September is the new January.” This thought made total sense to me. After a long carefree summer, there’s something about getting back into the routine and back on track that feels a little bit like starting a New Year’s resolution. And, for me, the Tuesday after Labor Day was the perfect day to start Weight Watchers again.

Tuesdays have been my official weigh-in day since I started Weight Watchers in February, 2007. I started the program up about 25 pounds from where I’m currently at, and at my official lowest on program, I had lost 35 pounds. So, I’ve got at least 10 pounds to lose to match my lowest, but I’m going to strive to lose between 13-15. I’d love to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

So how am I doing? Great, and the thing about me on Weight Watchers is that, when I’m on program, I’m really on. I track every point, I exercise (even when I have to force myself) and if I’m being really good, I skip tempting situations altogether. I’m trying to have the perfect Weight Watchers week, and already today I’ve skipped out on a sushi lunch invitation and an invitation to meet up with friends at a bar that has a huge selection of non-64 calorie beer and free popcorn.

Things I turned down today

I’m still on track to have the perfect week – I’ve got workouts planned for Saturday and Sunday, some drinking/eating with friends tomorrow, going to see a play on Sunday (1001 at the Chopin theater, my friend Mouzam stars), then on to Whole Foods for sushi/drinks (our Whole Foods has a bar in it, OR the bar just has a really big grocery selection) and then swinging by Stanley’s to stock up on some reasonably priced fruits and veggies.

I weigh in officially on Tuesday, so here’s hoping I can keep up the self control over the weekend.

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A few weeks after Healthy Choice debuted and started selling their new line of frozen meals in grocery stores, they finally decided to give them a name and place on their website, and (sadly) they’re not calling them Steamies. Ladies and gentlemen, behold their 8 new Steaming Entrées: Chicken Romano Fresca, Garlic Herb Shrimp, Honey Balsamic Chicken, Lemon Herb Chicken, Portabella Parmesan Risotto, Roasted Chicken VerdeRosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes and Sesame Glazed Chicken. They range in points Weight Watchers points values from 3-6, with the majority falling in the 4 point category.

I’ve already sampled the Roasted Chicken Verde and Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes. The last Steaming Entrée of last week’s Jewel run was the Honey Balsamic Chicken meal (I promise I’ll Chew and Review them all soon!). Weighing in at 220 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and 5 glorious grams of fiber, this lunch will cost you a mere 4 Weight Watchers points. It is described by Healthy Choice as “chicken tenderloins with red potatoes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes in honey-herb balsamic glaze.” I believe you left out a crucial “and” between asparagus and cherry tomatoes, Healthy Choice, but I ate your Steamie anyway… I was hungry, and hunger trumped grammatical correctness.

Let’s take a look at the box:

Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken

Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken

And now, through the power of the internets, you don’t even have to wait the 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 minutes cook time plus required “let stand 2 minutes” time to see what it looked like out of the microwave:

Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken

I’ll admit – it didn’t necessarily look much like the picture on the front of the box. But, in its favor, it smelled good and wasn’t covered in a highly disconcerting sauce, unlike the last Healthy Choice Steaming Entrée I tried. There were a great deal of potatoes, as I assume that’s the cheapest ingredient. The amount of chicken was standard, but I would have loved to see more cherry tomatoes and asparagus spears.

So, how did it taste?  It was really quite good…for a frozen meal. The whole vegetable/chicken medley worked out a lot better than that carrot, sweet potato and pearl onion disaster of last week. I love cherry tomatoes, asparagus and anything balsamic, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise that I really enjoyed this lunch. The honey balsamic sauce was plentiful, yummy and perfectly complimented the chicken and veggies. There was no need for spray butter, and I added just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I can’t ask for much more – great taste, a decent amount of food and only 4 points. It’s safe to say that I’ll be adding the Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken into my Desktop Dining rotation.

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