Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

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Just Tell Me What to Eat!

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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Weight Watchers Smart Ones

Pasta Primavera and Chicken Fettucini

Way back in 2008 we reviewed Weight Watchers' Pasta Primavera, and while we gave it a thumbs up, we did caution you about the 700 milligrams of sodium it contained. While at the store the other day I noticed the "improved recipe!" emblazoned on the package, and checked the package to find that it's now a much more reasonable 520 milligrams of sodium (200 calories, 6 grams fiber). That's good news.

The other bit of good news is that this is definitely an improved recipe. The bow tie pasta has been replaced with rotini, and although they don't stand up quite as well as the bow ties to microwaving, they're not too terribly overdone. The parmesan sauce is still fairly thin, but it does have a light, creamy parmesan flavor - much more than the original version, I seem to recall.

It's also a pretty plate: the veggies, a mix of broccoli, yellow squash, red and orange bell peppers, and julienned carrots, stay bright and colorful, and not only do they keep their texture (the squash in particular has a nice crunch), but they're still quite flavorful, as well. This is not just improved, it's pretty darn good!

Dr. Gourmet reviews Chicken Fettucini from Weight Watchers Smart OnesThe Chicken Fettucini starts out well: there's a fair amount of a thick, creamy, Alfredo-light sauce with a hint of garlic and plenty of parmesan. The fettucini noodles aren't as al dente as I'd like, but they're firm and don't break up when you mix the noodles into the sauce. All good so far.

Where this dish falls down is in what's in the pasta: there are no vegetables whatsoever, just chicken. There are 2 larger pieces of chicken and 2 or 3 smaller, dice-size pieces.

With 300 calories in this dish, we might see 670 milligrams of sodium as being a little more than we'd like, but not terribly over-salted, but the problem is that the chicken tastes like every single milligram of sodium has been injected into the chicken. It's like solidified chicken bouillion made from those awful cubes. And that's about the texture of these chicken pieces, as well: rubbery. Ugh. Leave this on the shelf.

First posted: October 23, 2015