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Sweet potatoes? In a convenience meal? Surely the Rapture IS coming (tomorrow, or so I've heard). That's what I thought when I spotted today's Healthy Choice Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes. I think I've seen sweet potatoes in convenience meals only a very few times, and they're usually whipped or mashed or are part of the included dessert. NEVER have I seen sweet potatoes in chunks, as they appeared to be in this meal.
Healthy Choice's new steaming packaging hasn't fared too well with us in the past, but that had more to do with their choice of pasta than the cooking technique itself. Steaming sweet potatoes, chicken, yellow carrots (now that I have definitely never seen in a convenience meal) and pearl onions should work pretty well.
And I'm glad to say that it does. This is a really colorful meal, with the orange of the sweet potatoes and the yellow julienned carrots. The chicken stays tender rather than drying out, although there could stand to be more of it, and the carrots stay fairly crisp. It was a good choice on Healthy Choice's part to leave the sweet potatoes in chunks, as they aren't cooked into mush. And the sauce? Simply put, this meal smells like Thanksgiving: rosemary and garlic. It's a well-balanced sauce, if a bit gooey.
According to the back of the box, eating this meal gives you 50% of your daily recommended amounts of vegetables. I'd sure hope you ate more vegetables than that, but this does have pretty good numbers at only 180 calories and 5 grams of fiber. The sodium level isn't too outrageous (at 500mg - not bad for a convenience meal), but given the low number of calories I would have liked to see that be still lower.
With the Roasted Chicken Verde we have another colorful meal. This one has big chunks of poblano and red peppers with brown rice, chicken and corn in a bright, flavorful lime-cilantro sauce. As I'd expect, the brown rice (brown rice!) retains its firm texture while the corn and peppers stay somewhat crunchy. At 230 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 500 milligrams of salt, this is fully as good as something you'd get in a Mexican restaurant - and this has far fewer calories and less fat. The only thing I could find to complain about is that this meal is almost too salty. A look at the ingredients list tells me why: this meal includes both salt and potassium chloride, a common salt substitute - and that comes through in the meal. Still, a good way to cater to people's salt cravings without using as much salt.
Two thumbs up this week for Healthy Choice. I'm starting not to cringe every time I walk down the frozen foods aisle - in fact, I'm interested to see what Healthy Choice comes up with next.
Reviewed: May 20, 2011