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Smart Ones Classic Favorites Thin Crust Cheese Pizza

Product Description:  “A blend of reduced fat cheeses with a tangy tomato sauce on a crispy-thin crust.”

Calories: 280


Fat: 9 g


Sodium: 480 mg


WW Points Plus: 7


First Impressions: The instructions say “lift black tab and peel lid open” and then tell you to fold the lid back. There is no black tab. There are no perforations upon which you can fold the lid back. So I just reclosed the side of the box and cooked the pizza on its little crisping sheet on top of that. It looks a little burnt around the edges. Also, it doesn’t look like it’s got enough cheese.

Gustatory Impressions: Most boring frozen pizza ever. I can’t remember a thing about it except that the crust was nice and crispy. The sauce was bland, the cheese was nothing special. YAWN.

Summary: While it’s not bad, it’s just about the most forgettable meal I’ve had in ages. Points off for bad packaging and/or instructions, and points off for hardly any cheese. I’ll stick to my Lean Cuisine pizzas, thank you!

Rating: 3 out of 5 forks

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Smart Ones Chicken Marinara with Mozzarella Cheese Grilled Flatbread

Product Description:  “Grilled white meat chicken, bell peppers, onions, reduced fat mozzarella cheese, with marinara sauce on a flatbread.”

Calories: 320


Fat: 6 g


Sodium: 380 mg


WW Points Plus: 8

First Impressions: Ok, the box is a pain to open. And when you get it open, there is a thing that looks just like a little pizza in it. You have to unwrap it, and then stick it back in the box to cook it. I’m not sure why. The box is just paper, no fancy foil crisping surface or anything. Whatever. Once it’s done, you fold it over, and there are the “grill marks” on the flatbread, some of which got left on the box as it stuck to the bottom of the box while it cooked. But after all that, it doesn’t look too bad.

Gustatory Impressions: Eventually I managed to pick a half of the sandwich up without spilling most of the contents back onto the plate. The bread itself is bland and a bit chewy. The chicken is the best part of this meal. The pieces are small but tasty and not gristly or rubbery at all. The peppers and onions are a little mushy. The sauce is also bland. 

Summary: While individually none of the ingredients were horrible, as a whole, they didn’t really seem to work together. It was messy to eat and a pain to cook. Just not worth 320 calories, in my opinion. I won’t be getting this one again.

Rating: 3 out of 5 forks

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tdro:

frozendietmeals:

Guest Review by Cathy Bloedorn

Smart Ones Ravioli Florentine

"Tender ravioli filled with creamy ricotta cheese and tossed in a hearty spinach marinara sauce"

Calories - 270

Fat - 5 g

Sodium - 860 mg

WW Points - 7

First impressions — Those folks at Smart Ones sure like to use fancy-dancy descriptive adjectives when writing their description.  The prep on this was easy, but I was preparing one for me and one for my almost 2 year old son, so having to do it twice was annoying.  Also, I did not follow Terry’s instructions about checking the wattage on my microwave, and it ended up being like the surface of the sun.  It didn’t really look like the box art, though the six ravioli shown are indeed how many you get.  The sauce was MUCH thicker than the picture would have suggested, though I do agree with the characterization of it as “hearty.”

Gustatory impressions - Not bad!  Not bad at all!  It actually truly tasted like something I might make myself—take some cheese ravioli, grab packaged sauce, and add some canned spinach to it.  The only thing that was at all off-putting was just how “hearty” that sauce was.  There was too much of it, and it didn’t really coat the ravioli the way a thinner sauce would.  You ended up having to eat the ravioli, followed by a forkful of sauce.  I did consider getting a piece of bread for the sauce, but it was thick enough to eat the extra on a fork, and I didn’t want to sully the purity of the experience with random bread.  The cheese in the ravioli was creamy and ricotta-like.  The sauce was pretty tasty, for packaged tasting sauce.  The pasta was done to a nice level of doneness—I don’t like my ravioli al dente, so Terry might think they were too soft. (For the record, other pasta should be al dente, but not ravioli.)  I ended up eating one and a half of my son’s ravioli, but he happily ate the rest, plus a couple of forkfuls of sauce, so it is definitely to the taste of a toddler.  (Is that a recommendation, or not?)  However, for those of you preparing food for the itty bitty set, it was VERY hot coming out of the microwave, especially since ravioli become little pouches of molten lava.  I cut his in half and put his plate in the freezer.  When it came out, it was tepid, but he didn’t mind.  Toddlers do not have very discriminating palates.

Summary - Tasty!  I will definitely be seeking this one out again as an emergency dinner to have lurking in the back of the freezer.  I liked it, my son liked it—what else can I say?  I just wish the sauce had been a) thinner and b) slightly less plentiful.  Maybe one extra ravioli could sneak in if you reduced the amount of sauce.

Rating: 4 out of 5 plastic forks

I tried this one today, and I liked it. 4/5, I didn’t mind the thickness of the sauce, but I do wish the pasta was just a smidge less soft.  ;p

Source: frozendietmeals
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Lightlife Perfecto Penne Primavera with Meatless Crumbles

Product Description:  “Enjoy a taste of Italy in every bite of this delicious nine-grain pasta meal. Boasting a comforting recipe of portabella mushrooms, meatless crumbles, zucchini and mozzarella cheese with a sweet and zesty marinara sauce, it’s a dish that’s sure to have everyone saying “Buon appetito.”

Calories: 240


Fat: 4.5 g


Sodium: 630 mg


WW Points Plus: 6

First Impressions: I’ve never head of Lightlife before, but I am running out of mainstream meals at my grocery store, and this looked interesting. It doesn’t look like much frozen, but after heating it up, it does look a lot like the box art, other than a noticeable lack of mushrooms.

Gustatory Impressions: The pasta is pretty good. It does taste a bit cardboard-y ,though, but as I’m used to whole-grain pasta, it doesn’t really bother me. The sauce is pretty thin, and doesn’t really have much taste. The zucchini is by far the best part of this meal, fresh-tasting and not too mushy. The mushrooms in it are good, but I wish there were a lot more of them. The cheese was not great, and I even checked the box to see if it was actual cheese and not some weird vegan concoction. Yes, it was real cheese, but no, that didn’t make me like it any better. The “meatless crumbles” had a good approximation of the texture of meat, but didn’t really taste like anything. Still, they added something to the sad-ish sauce.

Summary: I’m not sure if this meal was interesting enough to make me pursue more Lightlife products, but there are windmills on the box, so surely it must be healthy and good for me. All kidding aside, it was an okay meal, especially for one with fake meat in it. Might be a good option for a vegetarian, but I’ll be skipping this particular meal in the future

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 forks

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Smart Ones Chicken Quesadilla

Product Description:  “Grilled white meat chicken, cheese, peppers, and onions folded into a crispy flour tortilla.”

Calories: 210


Fat: 6 g


Sodium: 470 mg


WW Points Plus: 5

First Impressions: When I bought this, I didn’t realize there were two servings in it. And 210 calories seems a bit light for lunch, but 420 is a little too much. I’ll just make one and see how I feel.  It looks a bit more flat and a lot less colorful than the box art, but if you peel up the tortilla, there are definitely peppers in there.

Gustatory Impressions: It’s hard for me to judge meals where all the components are just all mushed together, in that I can’t judge each component separately. Here we have a decent and indeed crispy tortilla, and then all the stuff inside it. The stuff inside is a mixture of chicken, cheese and peppers with a tomato base. There are also supposedly onions in here, but I didn’t taste them. The filling is pretty good. 

Summary: So, one of these is not quite enough for lunch. I ended up eating them both. But, if you are looking for a snack, one would do nicely. I quite liked them.

Rating: 4 out of 5 forks

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Healthy Choice Beef Strips Portabella

Product Description:  “Tell your taste buds to saddle up because it’s time to ride. Tender and juicy beef strips covered in a savory portabella mushroom sauce, served with fluffy whipped potatoes and a fresh mix of green beans and carrots. Then finish up with a sweet caramel-apple dessert that’s close to perfection.”

Calories: 280


Fat: 7 g


Sodium: 500 mg


WW Points Plus: 7

First Impressions: I walk into the kitchenette the allotted two minutes after I’ve heard the microwave beep, and something smells really, really good. Could that possibly be my lunch? IT COULD. After peeling off the rest of the plastic film on top of the meal, I am less impressed. There is no way in hell anyone could even guess this was supposed to be the food represented on the box… the pieces all look much smaller, and the gravy is a lot thinner-looking. But still, it does smell great… I think that’s mostly the apple dessert.

Gustatory Impressions:  Everything is pretty tasty. The beef, though the bits of it are smaller than the ones on the box, is tender and flavorful. There are hardly any mushrooms, and they’re tiny, but they do taste nice. The green beans are good, not too mushy and pretty fresh-tasting. The carrots were a little bit fiber-y, but not inedibly so. The mashed potatoes were a bit bland, but they had a really nice, creamy texture and tasted great with a little gravy or a bit of beef. That gravy is pretty thin, but it’s good and not too salty. THE APPLE DESSERT. That was fantastic. I stopped just shy of using my finger to scrape out the last of it, and I still managed to get some in my hair.

Summary: This was a great-tasting meal. I wish they sold the apple dessert on its own, that’s how good that part is. I had to take a point off for the wildly misleading box art and almost complete lack of mushrooms, though. Still, for 280 calories, it’s totally worth a shot!

Rating: 4 out of 5 forks

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Healthy Choice Beef and Broccoli

Product Description:  “Enjoy fresh ingredients and a fresh approach to this classic Asian dish. Savory beef, sautéed onions, and crisp red peppers all served over tender whole-grain brown rice and topped with a spicy and sweet teriyaki sauce. The meal comes with a side of fresh broccoli for a meal you can feel good about digging into.”

Calories: 280


Fat: 6 g


Sodium: 520 mg


WW Points Plus: 7

First Impressions: Okay, full disclosure, the rest of the office ordered in Five Guys burgers, and I’m eating this instead. I don’t feel deprived, as I don’t like their food enough to justify the calorie content, but it may color my perception of this meal just the same. Also, they sure aren’t kidding when they say “beef AND broccoli”… there’s the beef, and there’s the broccoli WAAAAAAY over there in its own tray. Okie-dokie. So, it for sure doesn’t look like the box art, and it doesn’t smell very inviting, either. Just vaguely meat-y.

Gustatory Impressions:  The beef was wildly inconsistent. Some bits were tender and some were quite chewy, though most were in the middle. The rice was the sort of bland white rice that seems like it would fall apart if you stirred it a bit too hard. The “sweet and spicy teriyaki sauce” tasted like none of those things. It just tasted… brown.  The broccoli was pretty good, and there was a lot of it. It cools off FAST, though, so maybe eat that first, or don’t try to write a blog post while you’re eating this one.

Summary: This was… not good. And not just because the air in my office smells like french fries. It was boring and the quality of ingredients was not great. There are lots of similar meals out there… skip this one, and try one of those!

Rating: 3 out of 5 forks

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Healthy Choice Roasted Chicken Marsala

Product Description:  “Mushroom lovers, form a line because this dish was made for you. Juicy chicken breast tenderloins with al dente whole-grain penne pasta, tender mushrooms, fresh asparagus, and sautéed onions, all served in a rich Marsala wine sauce. A Top Chef inspired dish that delivers nutrition and flavor with no preservatives.”

Calories: 240


Fat: 5 g


Sodium: 520 mg


WW Points Plus: 6

First Impressions: I’ve never had Chicken Marsala with asparagus and peppers in it, but I’m willing to give it a shot. They do add some really nice color to the meal. And this meal looks great… a lot like the box art, big pieces of chicken, and a good amount of the asparagus & peppers.  Smells pretty good, too.

Gustatory Impressions:  The chicken pieces are really big, but I got bits of  gristle in two of them. This is my second biggest frozen food pet peeve. My first is mushy noodles, and, luckily, I have no problem with the ones in this meal. They’re a good texture, but a little bland. The mushrooms are… hey, where are the mushrooms? There are hardly any in here. Sigh. What’s there is good, though. The asparagus was pretty good, and although I had all stems and no tips in my meal, it wasn’t tough. The peppers were okay, mostly there for their color, I think. There were REALLY BIG pieces of onion in here, which tasted okay but were a little rubbery. The sauce was a bit boring, but it wasn’t too salty or gross, at least.

Summary: If the chicken in this one was better, I would probably add it to my regular rotation. However, that paired with a lack of promised mushrooms means that I don’t think I’ll be buying this one often. Also, if you hate cooked onion, you should give this one a pass, because there really is a lot of it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 forks

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Smart Ones Thai Style White Meat Chicken & Rice Noodles

Product Description:  “White meat chicken, rice noodles and carrots tossed in a zesty peanut sauce.”

Calories: 290


Fat: 5 g


Sodium: 570 mg


WW Points Plus: 7

First Impressions: This is a very… orange meal. My eyes are quite picky about frozen dinners, they usually require multiple colors for maximum enjoyment. And there are a LOT of carrots in this. It does look quite a bit like the box art, though, so that’s a plus. It smells good, too.

Gustatory Impressions: The noodles are quite good. They’re a little chewy and soak up the sauce nicely, but not too much. The carrots are… carrot-y. They seem mostly there to take up space. The sauce overpowers whatever flavor they might have on their own. The sauce is hotter than I expected… this is definitely spicy, not “zesty”, but it’s tasty enough, and you can taste the peanut. The chicken is pretty middle of the road. Again, its flavor is overpowered by the sauce, but that might not be such a bad thing in this case.

Summary: So, this isn’t going to compare to Pad Thai from an actual Thai restaurant, but it’s surprisingly close for an extremely cheap frozen dinner. If the chicken were just a bit higher quality, I would have really enjoyed it. I think maybe adding some fresh bean sprouts to this would give it some needed interest and crunch, but it’s not bad as-is.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 forks

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Healthy Choice Country Herb Chicken (Complete Meal)

Product Description:  “For the freshest, most flavorful herbs around there’s only one place to go: the country. This tasty feast features a wonderfully seasoned chicken patty smothered in a rich herb gravy, served with red potatoes, a medley of freshly picked vegetables, and finished off with a sweet cherry-blueberry dessert”

Calories: 250


Fat: 5 g


Sodium: 500 mg


WW Points Plus: 6

First Impressions: Well, this product does NOT match the description or photo on the Healthy Choice website. The meat & potatoes and veggie portions of the meal do look quite a lot like the box art, though. The fruit dessert does NOT.  This does look like a whole bunch of food, so that’s a good sign!

Gustatory Impressions: The chicken is very good, and the potatoes are mostly good (a little mealy). The gravy here is the worst part of this segment of the tray, as it’s less herby than salty, and a weird, glue-like consistency. The veggie segment is more of a success, but the best part was the cauliflower, of which there was very little. The dessert portion… well, if you put a small portion of pie filling in a tiny bowl and heated it to the “lukewarm” setting on your microwave, I think that would be quite a good approximation.

Summary: This is the sort of meal I think of when I think “tv dinner”, which all the segments and the sad little dessert. However, despite its faults, this isn’t a bad meal. It’s a bit boring, but it is a lot of food for only 250 calories. If you are looking for a super-traditional dinner but you blew your calorie allowance on a bag of Candy Corn M&M’s at lunch, this might be just the ticket!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 forks