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Comfort from the Folks At Amy's

Amy's Shepherd's PieIt's getting colder now and time for some warm comforting meals. Cottage Pie is one of my favorites and we recently posted a recipe for Cottage Pie on the web site. But what if you are a vegetarian? While Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with lamb, and Cottage Pie with beef, there's no reason to leave out folks who don't eat meat. (Gardener's Pie maybe?)

The folks at Amy's have created a vegetarian Shepherd's Pie and then went themselves one better by making a "Light In Sodium" version. I have said before that Amy's generally puts too much salt in their foods. Not by much, mind you. If they cut about 150 - 200 mg out their dishes, the flavor wouldn't be affected but would be far healthier.

Amy's Light in Sodium Shepherd's PieBoth of these products are good. There's a light, not quite tomatoey sauce and the pies are chock full of veggies including garbanzos, celery and carrots. The mashed potato topping is good and not too grainy as most frozen products are. The "regular" version is just a little too salty. Not bad and better than a lot of frozen meals, it comes in at 590 mg while the lower sodium version is just a little bland having only 290 mg. (They would have been better off splitting the difference, having about 500 mg in it, and making a single product.)

Still, this is a good meal and at only 160 calories it makes a great lunch to keep on hand or part of a dinner alongside a salad. There's 5 grams of fiber and no saturated fat. Tasty, healthy and a low sodium version. Not bad, Amy's.

Amy's Rice Mac and CheeseI noticed their Rice Mac and Cheese in the freezer case, and never being one to turn down an opportunity for a themed review, I added this to my basket. Mac and Cheese is really my favorite comfort food. We've reviewed a lot of the boxed versions, and some are OK, but none are that great. I was especially dubious because of the rice pasta. While this is a must for those who are gluten free, my experiments with rice pastas, especially macaroni shapes, has been dismal.

This stuff is really good. I wish that it had about 100 mg less sodium. It'd be tastier, but even so, hands down this is the best ready made mac and cheese on the market. The sauce is rich and creamy. The rice noodles have a nice firmness that is far better than the wheat noodle version offered by Lean Cuisine. The drawback? It is higher in saturated fat (10 grams) and there's 590 mg of sodium. As with most rice noodles there's not much fiber: only a gram.

While it is higher in calories and saturated fat and the numbers don't come close to the Lean Cuisine, with 100 extra calories and 6 more grams of saturated fat, if you are on a gluten free diet, this is a good product. Since eating well is about balance, these two complement each other well. Higher saturated fat one day and none the next and you get to have your comfort food.