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11.10.06
 

 
We took Lean Cuisine's Cafe Classics Bowls out for a ride. See how they fared...   
Creamy Basil Chicken

(290 calories, 7g fat, 640mg sodium, 34g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g sugars, 22g protein = 6 Points)

 

What it is: "Roasted white meat chicken with penne pasta, red & yellow peppers and zucchini in a creamy basil sauce."

 

What we think of it: Truth be told, we didn't exactly flip over this entree. The sauce is a bit watery (we were really looking for thick 'n creamy, based on the name -- but "Watery Basil Chicken" doesn't have the same ring to it).  The chicken chunks are actually very good – nice solid white meat pieces -- and tasty, too.  And there are impressive hunks of veggies, as well.  The soft, squishy noodles are somewhat disappointing, though.  Overall, not a frozen meal we'll be racing out to buy again anytime soon.

 

Overall score: 6.  Eh.

Three Cheese Stuffed Rigatoni

(240 calories, 6g fat, 660mg sodium, 35g carbs, 4g fiber, 10g sugars, 12g protein = *4 Points)

 

What it is:  "Stuffed rigatoni pasta filled with a creamy blend of ricotta, romano and mozzarella cheeses tossed with orange and yellow carrots, zucchini and red peppers in a fire roasted tomato sauce with accents of oregano and basil."

 

What we think of it:  Wow...wow...wow! This entree ROCKS!  We're a little puzzled as to why they're calling this "stuffed rigatoni," when it's really just ravioli.  Granted, the pasta DOES have lines on it, which we guess can make them sealed, stuffed rigatoni in SOME circles.  But still, it's RAVIOLI.  OK, now that we're beyond that, on to what's important.  This may be our absolute FAVORITE Italian frozen entree EVER.  Really. The sauce is a nice and thick chunky tomato, and it's a little sweet (which we love).  It has all kinds of cheeses (well, 3 to be exact), and it tastes like homemade ravioli.  The chunky veggies add a nice touch, too!  And, this entree contains just 240 calories -- sign us up!

 

Overall score: 10...YAY!

 

*The box says 4 Points, but our calculations say it's 5 Points. Just a friendly warning.

Chicken Teriyaki

(250 calories, 2g fat, 690mg sodium, 44g carbs, 3g fiber, 10g sugars, 15g protein = 5 Points)

 

What it is:  "Roasted chicken white meat in a flavorful teriyaki sauce with golden pineapple, snap peas, carrots and red peppers over a bed of long grain rice."

 

What we think of it: This one is definitely our second favorite.  It has nice, crunchy sugar snap peas, which, quite frankly, we think Lean Cuisine should use in MORE of their items.  The teriyaki sauce tastes like the real deal (which is hard to come by in lower cal meals).  The chicken chunks are soft and there's lots of rice.  We like it and would definitely buy it again.  Why not?

 

Overall score: 9. Nice job!

Chicken Fried Rice

(280 calories, 6g fat, 690mg sodium, 39g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g sugars, 17g protein = 6 Points)

 

What it is:  "A traditional Oriental fried-rice mixture of sweet green peas and shoestring carrots, scrambled egg, and green onions combined with a blend of sesame and soy sauce topped with roasted chicken white meat."

 

What we think of it: Oh boy.  After tasting this one, we can't help but WISH Lean Cuisine had opted to NOT take a stab at fried rice.  Eeek.  This rice tastes a lot like Band-Aids (yes, actual adhesive strips) and garlic.  Not exactly what they were going for, we're sure. The egg pieces are yucky.  Oh, and it looks NOTHING like the beauteous picture on the box.  All in all, a big fat disappointment.

 

Overall score: 5.  Sorry, LC.

Grilled Chicken Caesar

(230 calories, 6g fat, 690mg sodium, 24g carbs, 3g fiber, 2g sugars, 19g protein = 5 Points)

 

What it is:  "Herb-grilled chicken tenderloins tossed with freshly made garlic flavored radiatore pasta in a creamy parmesan- caesar sauce with red peppers and broccoli florets."

 

What we think of it: We were totally psyched to try this one!  And it looks mighty impressive once it's cooked, too.  Unfortunately, the sauce doesn't live up to our expectations.  It's super-garlicky and pretty peppery, too.  So if you're a huge fan of garlic and pepper, you may fall head over heels in love with this bowl.  The “radiatore” pasta is AWESOME in every way - we can't lie.  And the huge broccoli chunks are fantastic, too.  This meal is different and pretty good, and we'd buy it again -- but it's not going to change your life in any way.

 

Overall score: 7.5. Love that cute squiggly pasta.

Teriyaki Steak

(280 calories, 6g fat, 680mg sodium, 37g carbs, 3g fiber, 9g sugars, 19g protein = 6 Points)

 

What it is:  "Roasted teriyaki steak tossed with freshly made garlic and ginger flavored pasta, green beans, crispy carrots, red peppers and water chestnuts in a zesty teriyaki sauce accented with ginger and soy."

 

What we think of it:  We're a bit snobby when it comes to steak, so we're not likely to do backflips over ANY steak-themed frozen entree.  And this one is no exception.  There's a decent amount of meat in this dish (albeit a bit CHEWY), but it tastes just okay.  There's a pretty serious ginger theme going on here, and it sort of looks/feels more like a beef lo mein dish than actual steak teriyaki. The sauce is nice and sweet, which we do like, and the veggies are a nice addition as well -- especially the green beans.  Feels a bit like Chinese takeout to us -- sans all the grease, of course!

 

Overall score: 7.5.  A decent effort.

 

HG Tip!  While these bowls definitely make you feel like you're eating more than the average Lean Cuisine entree portion, we recommend tossing some steamed veggies into these entrees to help fill you up.

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