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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers

Southwestern Style Chicken and Sesame Teriyaki Chicken

Southwestern Style ChickenWe reviewed the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers at about this time last year. These new meals, Fresh Mixers, are sort of like those except that you cook the rice or pasta "fresh" in the microwave in a little plastic steamer that comes with the product.

These really are a cute gimmick but a needless one. After peeling off the plastic retaining strap the top lifts off and a tray of sauce lifts out. Fill the bowl with water to the fill line and then snap on the top. Oops, first you have to peel off the plastic label on the top to open the steamer holes. If you are arthritic, forget this step. It can't be done. (Hey, I'm only 50 but I was reaching for some pliers when it finally came loose.)

The rice is steamed in the microwave for 5 minutes. Then the small tray of sauce is heated for 30 seconds. Then you add the sauce to the rice bowl and mix it all up. Whew! That's a lotta work for a microwave meal. (Who thinks this stuff up anyway?)

This is not worth the effort. Period. Leave them on the shelf.

Sweet and Sour ChickenThe two that we tested were the Southwestern Style Chicken and the Sesame Teriyaki Chicken. Both were awful. Just. Plain. Awful! The rice is essentially Minute Rice and comes out pale, white and grainy. No cute little steamer basket is going to save this. Both sauces are overly sweet and really don't have much flavor at all. If you close your eyes you can barely tell the difference between the two. One is a bit tomatoey and the other a bit sweet and fruity.

All the plastic in the world won't make your food better and what's even worse is that now you have all that plastic to get rid of. A LOT of plastic! Not only is the food terrible, the whole concept is just plain stupid. This wins the prize for the most environmentally unfriendly food product on the market. (The EPA should be involved in this one.)

To add this insult to the taste buds and the injury to the environment they are $3.50 each! You can create quite a good fresh meal for two for $7.00 and if you don't want to, the Michael Angelo's products are only about 50 cents more.