In celebration of frozen food month (woohoo!), we tried out a bunch of meals in Michelina's Lean Gourmet Line. Truth be told, we hadn't even heard of these meals before finding them at our local market. But we're REALLY glad we did. Not only are they super-affordable (ok, we actually spotted these things for an embarrassingly cheap 97 cents per meal at Super Target!), but they taste really great, too. Here's what we found...
What They Say: "Italy is home to many fine regional cuisines, and in this recipe, Michelina has created a Southern masterpiece. Delicate baby shrimp, sweet bell peppers, crisp broccoli and penne pasta are smothered in a mildly seasoned sauce that’s surprisingly low fat: just 260 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving."
What We Say: Michelina is exaggerating a bit on this one. This is our least favorite dish of the ones we tried. It was just nothing special -- sort of bland, and the shrimp were so tiny you needed a microscope to see them (they actually looked more like seamonkeys to us!). But that being said, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't great.
What It Is: Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Vegetables in a Light Alfredo Sauce.
What We Say: This is a brand new addition to the line. And it has more fiber than some of the others b/c it is made with 100% whole wheat pasta. It was awesome - we REALLY like this one. The pasta was GREAT, the veggies were fresh, and the light alfredo was super-creamy!
What They Say: "A gift from Michelina’s Latina neighbors, this zippy vegetarian recipe features plenty of protein and southwestern flavor. Soft beans and tender corn are nestled on a bed of spicy Mexican rice and topped with a mild sour cream, jalapeno sauce and bubbly cheddar cheese. Magnifico! Plus, there are only 350 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving."
What We Say: We agree, wholeheartedly! This dish was a fantastic hot 'n spicy rice & beans fiesta! Really AWESOME! It didn't taste diet-y at all, and it was VERY thick and rich (with lots of sour creamy goodness). We recommend tossing some shrimp or chicken breast in with it to round out the meal and add some protein.
What They Say: "Cheese lovers rejoice! Here’s a lasagna you can really sink your teeth into — guilt free. Michelina’s version features thick pasta layered with a blend of five different dairy-fresh cheeses and Italian herbs, smothered in her favorite, tomato-rich Marinara.”
What We Say: This lasagna really does taste great. It wasn't exactly thick (it was actually sort of flat, but in a good way). The noodles tasted great! The sauce is a bit sweet, which we like. And, although they say there are FIVE different cheeses in this lasagna, we really only tasted two, maybe three of them. That's ok, though, we still REALLY enjoyed it. Another plus? It's LOADED with fiber...woohoo!
What It Is: Tender fettuccine noodles, juicy all-white chicken and savory spinach, blanketed in a tempting, light alfredo sauce.
What We Say: This one tasted ultra-creamy (like it would have WAY more fat than it actually has -- which isn't a bad thing). We say this is the best tasting frozen healthy chicken alfredo we've ever tasted! The noodles are thick and chewy (the way we like 'em), and the sauce was fantastic. The only downside was that there wasn't very much chicken in it at all. (More chicken, please!!!) That said, it still manages to pack in 14 grams of protein.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.5
CHEW ON THIS: There's still a lot of time left to celebrate National Frozen Food Month! So head on over to your grocery store freezer and grab some chilly meals & snacks!
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