Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews: So Right

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

Last month we discovered the brand So Right®. With packaging similar to that of Michelina's (which does not enjoy a particularly good reputation here at Dr. Gourmet), I think we had an unconscious bias against them, but even so, the first two meals we reviewed from them were given a thumbs down mostly for their (generally "one-note") flavor, not their quality. The company that makes So Right frozen meals is clearly trying hard, so we kept an eye out for other meals we might review.

Like last month's meals, this week's meals look promising because they seem to be relying on stronger flavors, like jerk seasoning and a combination of sweet corn and tart/savory poblano peppers. We've seen that frozen meals with spicier flavors seem to fare better in reviews, but on the other hand, I believe we thought the same thing about the So Right meals from a month ago - and ended up giving both of those a thumbs down. So Right »

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Featured Recipes

Tuna and Olive Pasta Salad

This recipe uses olive oil, tuna, and olives, making it healthy, but these ingredients also create a good mouthfeel from the monounsaturated fats these ingredients have. The olives and parmesan offer great saltiness and umami taste along with the tuna, while the vinegar brings the brightness that complements the other flavors - especially the saltiness.

Quinoa Salad with Smoked Fish

This is a great summer picnic recipe with a terrific balance of flavors – smoky fish, sweet leeks and cranberries, savory quinoa, and some sharpness from the vinegar. It is best made the night before to allow all of these flavors to blend together.

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Zucchini

This is a great example of how to balance flavors to keep sodium content lower. Quinoa, rice, and other grains often feel like they need a lot of added salt to keep them from being bland. Balancing the saltiness of the capers and goat cheese with the sharpness of the vinegar and the sweetness of the shrimp and vegetables means that you don't have to add salt to the dish for it to taste salty enough to be satisfying.

Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork)

This barbecue sauce is nothing short of amazing. There are lots of variations, but most all begin with the hoisin and five spice powder. Many use brown sugar, but I think that makes the sauce far too sweet. The sesame oil really balances this out, bringing a bit more exotic umami flavor to the dish.

You can marinate the pork (or other meat) prior to cooking, but I don't see that it imparts that much more flavor. Likewise, you can use this sauce on chicken or beef (I think it would be great on boneless, skinless chicken thighs; flank steak; or skirt steak). This would be great on firm grilled tofu, as well.