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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I don't know why I was surprised to see that the vast majority of the meals we've reviewed from Weight Watchers have been positive ones. I suppose it's because I have such a dim view of convenience meals in general. New visitors to DrGourmet.com should be aware that although I would far prefer that you make your own healthy meals from scratch, I do realize that people are going to eat them - often for lunch at work, but sometimes for dinner, too. We here at Dr. Gourmet taste and review these foods so that you'll know which ones taste good as well as being on the healthier end of the frozen food spectrum. Life is far too short to eat bad food.
I'll admit that my expectations for today's meals were very low. The first meal we reviewed was that Thai Style White Meat Chicken & Rice Noodles, and my experience has been that rice noodles are easily overcooked and can turn to mush at the drop of a spatula. (Those of you who are sensitive to wheat gluten should take note that this meal, despite its rice noodles, is not gluten-free.) Even worse, too many pad-thai-style meals have been simply awful. Tandoor Chef's Vegetable Pad Thai was bad and the one from A Taste of Thai wasn't even pretending to be a full meal - it's just noodles and peanut sauce.
Upon opening the package before cooking it, we noted that there's a lot of carrots in this dish. Nice to see so many vegetables in a frozen meal! After the four minutes of cooking and stirring this is not a particularly appealing-looking dish. The sauce is orangey-brown, the carrots are orange, and the chicken is also orange under the generous amount of sauce. Note that this is a full meal: starch, vegetable, and protein. That sauce lives up to its billing: "a zesty peanut sauce." The sauce has a nice peanut flavor, not too sweet, with enough zing to linger in your mouth. One taster noted that they'd had Pad Thai at a famous Chinese food chain recently that wasn't as good as this dish.
The chicken chunks are not too dry (make sure you stir the sauce thoroughly during cooking), and the rice noodles manage to hold up to microwaving quite well. Keep in mind, however, that these will stick together as they cool, so don't dawdle. The carrots, and there are indeed a lot of them, also hold up well to cooking and provides texture to what could otherwise be a pretty mushy dish. There are 290 calories, 570 milligrams of sodium (for a full meal; not too bad), and 3 grams of fiber.
Next we turned to the Cranberry Turkey Medallions. If you're yearning for the flavors of Thanksgiving, you've almost come to the right place. This is... not bad. Not terrible, but just not all that good either.
We'd expected the cranberry sauce to be sickeningly sweet, and it's not. The cranberry's tartness comes through nicely over turkey slices that are pretty tender. Unfortunately, the roasted potatoes and vegetables it comes with are a bit of a disappointment. The potatoes are overcooked and a little mushy, which is not unexpected from potatoes that are reheated, but somehow the vegetables, both the green beans and the carrots, get overcooked as well. They have a subtle thyme and rosemary scent and flavor. With so many better-tasting meals now on the market, we have to give this a thumbs down. If you really want a little taste of Thanksgiving, take some of that leftover turkey out of the freezer and make Turkey, Wild Rice, and Cranberry Salad. (You did freeze some of that turkey, didn't you?)