Posts Tagged ‘Lean Cuisine’

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the urge to blog. It happens. But inspiration hit while eating a brand new (to me) Lean Cuisine.  Almost nothing excites me more than finding a new Lean Cuisine that I love, so please allow me to share my thoughts on this one with you.

Lean Cuisine Ranchero Beef

Clocking in at 6 Points Pluses, this Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Ranchero Braised Beef is described as “braised beef in a spicy red chile sauce served with a side of chipotle mashed sweet potatoes.” Mmmm, frozen meal quality beef – one of my favorites! Seriously.

Lean Cuisine Ranchero Braised Beef

While this might not look like much (and let’s be honest, there were like 4 chunks of meat in this), it tastes DELICIOUS! The whole thing actually has tons of flavor – the weird beef is fantastic with a bbq-like spicy sauce with weird chunks in it (onions? chiles? who cares!) and the chipotle mashed potatoes are sweet with a bit of a smoky kick. Because I can’t get enough carbs with spray butter, I sprayed the potatoes and added salt. It wasn’t totally necessary, but I have an itchy spray butter finger.

I’ll definitely be adding this to the lunch roto, provided I can find Lean Cuisines on sale (yeah, I’d never pay $4 for this).

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Something happened during March. Well, a few things. I managed not to post a single blog, I totally fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon and I tripped, fell and tumbled quite un-gracefully to my knees while running on one of the busiest streets in Chicago. Fabulous. I quickly mumbled an incoherent f-bomb, then recovered enough to speed-limp away from the stares of the gaping hipsters. Only, my leg hurt. My knees were bloody and my hands were missing some skin, but the real problem was my left leg – some sort of muscle behind my knee felt pretty terrible. That thing hurt (badly), but I stupidly pressed on, determined to hightail it to Kmart to redeem some coupons. This was probably a mistake, as that thing still kind of hurts, but hey, I’m set on Ziploc bags for the next year. A torn muscle is a small price to pay for such a luxury.

So I took two weeks off running, and 3ish weeks off my diet, because that makes good sense. I sunk so low that I managed to have McDonalds twice before 8 a.m. the other day, and I probably single-handedly kept the Reese’s Pieces Easter egg factory in business this year. Damn, those little eggs are good.

Reese's Pieces Easter Eggs

But, like always, I’ve got to reign things in and make an effort to throw away that gigantic bag of fried cheese balls I accidentally bought yesterday. Luckily, things over at Lean Cuisine seem to be on the right track, too. Instead of making things that people sort of dread to eat, they’re making things that are fun to eat, like cheesy dips and spring rolls. I live for dips and foods in the shape of taquitos, so it’s no wonder that both the Spinach Artichoke Dip and Thai-Style Chicken Spring Rolls get my big stamp of approval.

Lean Cuisine Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Mmmm, dip. I ate this the other night after I had an early dinner of the new Dorito Taco Loco from Taco Bell (more on that later). I was hungry, but not starving, so thought this would be a sensible option. Notice how I cut that pita bread into 4 chunks, not the mere 3 pictured on the box (genius). You might not be able to tell, but that’s actually a pretty large amount of dip. In fact, there was even dip left over when I was done, and I am NOT just putting a smattering of dip on my bite of pita. I’m double dipping all day long, and basically just using the pita in lieu of a spoon. This dip is delicious, tastes like something you’d get at a restaurant, and will cost you just 5 Points Pluses for one pita and one dip (2 come in a box). It makes an awesome snack, and would be perfect with a small salad or veggies for lunch.

Next up are my new favorite, Thai-Style Chicken Spring Rolls. Let’s have a look:

Lean Cuisine Thai Chicken Spring Rolls

Disclaimer, they do not come with those multi-colored pepper strips; I merely added those for garnish and nutritional benefit in the days when I actually cared about eating a vegetable. Alright, listen, I’m not getting paid in free Lean Cuisines or anything, but these spring rolls are insanely good. They have a bit of a coconut zing to them, which I love. They, too, are only 5 Points Pluses for 3, and are another excellent snack/late night after bar option, or nice for lunch with a side of veg. I even served them to my intern a few weeks ago, and he agreed that they’re great. I highly recommend you pick them up next time you’re in the “Single Dinners” section of the frozen foods aisle.

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Lean Cuisine Thai Style Chicken

Today’s contender – Lean Cuisine’s Thai-Style Chicken, a dish of “roasted chicken tenderloins in a creamy thai-style sauce with rice.”

The stats: 260 calories, 4 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs, 21 grams of protein and less than one gram of fiber. For those of you counting your Points Pluses, this will set you back 6 points.

In a sea of endless frozen meals, I find there are very few I’d write home about. Plus, why would I write home when my Mom could just read my blog (not that she does, unless I’m at home and forcing her to do it – hi, Mom!)? Anyway, the drudgery of eating frozen meals everyday at your desk is occasionally broken up by a few outstanding selections, and LC’s Thai Style Chicken ranks right up there in my frozen food hall of fame.

Now, I’ve eaten this meal a few times before, but just failed to blog about it, because I’m particularly awesome at eating things and forgetting to take pictures, or I’ll take the pictures and then I’ll never write about it. Whoops – although I am actually slightly upset about some of the recent Dining Away from the Desk posts you’re all missing out on because I sometimes forget that I’m a well-known, respected food blogger, and the people  I eat with don’t seem to remind me, either.

Back to the topic at hand – this meal is definitely one of my favorites, but I wouldn’t say it tastes incredibly “Thai” to me. The chicken is swimming in a delicious, creamy red pepper and coconut milk sauce, and the rice seems to have its own sauce as well, negating my need for spray butter. I still dumped a ton of salt on this because apparently 540 milligrams of sodium is NOT enough. I don’t know how you’re supposed to eat this, but there’s so much sauce that you could easily mix up your rice and chicken with the sauce. I prefer not to do that, because this Thai-style sauce is brilliant and must be savored apart from the rice. A little mixing is ok, but generally I try to implement my brother’s grade school rules for eating this meal – the food must not touch. I’ll take a bit of sauce and mix it with my bites of rice, and then I’ll take the chicken chunks and try to scoop up the remaining sauce with those. I’m sure this is not pretty to watch, but I dine in solitude, or at least I try. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people interrupt my lunch. It doesn’t take me long to wolf down a Lean Cuisine, people – come back in 5-7 minutes.

If you’re looking for a solid 6 point lunch option with a lot of flavor, I definitely recommend you try this. I think the only place I’ve seen it is Jewel, so if you’re a Dominick’s fan, you may be out of luck.

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