Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews


Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

Grainful is another brand we discovered through our local Winn-Dixie. I'd never really thought of Winn-Dixie as being a source of innovative frozen meals, but while Whole Foods Market continues to sell Amy's, Annie's, evol, Sweet Earth, and Saffron Road, Winn-Dixie has branched out to bowls from Red's All Natural, souffles from Garden Lites, meals from CedarLane as well as Luvo, and (like Whole Foods) Saffron Road. Indeed, we first spotted meals from Frontera Foods at our local Rouse's, and only thereafter at Whole Foods Market. This is not to say that any of the three stores are better, but it demonstrates that healthier frozen meals are not the exclusive province of what we think of as the higher-end grocery stores.

That said, the meals we review today were $4.99 each, which is not even close to cheap in terms of frozen meals. Further, for the same price per serving you could likely create a dish that served easily twice as many people.

The two meals available from Grainful at our local Winn-Dixie were the Vegetarian Chili and the Tuscan Bean & Kale, just two of a total of 8 frozen meals that Grainful produces, 6 of which all meet our sodium criteria. All of those meals are at 530 milligrams of sodium or less - and some significantly less.  Grainful »

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Featured Recipes

Shrimp and Leek Soup

I was thinking about making a shrimp bisque, and traditional recipes call for the white part of a leek. That seemed wasteful, and I wondered what it might be like if the green part were included.

This soup is really delicious and takes all of about 20 minutes to put together. The key is, of course, making your own shrimp stock, which is really easy and great to have on hand for any seafood soup or sauce. The other key is to not overcook the shrimp. It only takes about 7 to 10 minutes for the shrimp to be cooked, and any longer will make them too tough.

Serve this with a grilled cheese or open-faced toasted tomato sandwiches for a great Fall or Winter meal.

Shrimp with Luscious Shrimp Sauce

Shrimp with Luscious Shrimp Sauce

This sauce takes a long time to make, but it's oh, so worth it. It is subtle and at the same time powerful and unctuous. The long slow reduction of the shrimp stock along with the tomatoes gives it the sweet and umami flavor that makes it the perfect complement to pasta.

Corn and Poblano Crab Cakes

Crab is very delicate in my opinion, and this crab cake is a great example. Too much of a seasoning and you end up not tasting the crab, too little and it is just another crab cake. The poblano peppers lend themselves well to the task, with just enough spice to be interesting but not mask the flavor of the crab.

Cilantro Garlic Sauce

Simple recipes are always the best in my opinion. A few ingredients in the correct amounts makes every bit of sense: you can taste each but the sum is greater than the parts. Sauces like this one are just that, simple but amazingly delicious.