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Two Thumbs Up for Healthy Choice

The new "Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees" have a pretty good track record here at Dr. Gourmet. All but one have been really good, so I was pleased to find the last two varieties in my grocery's freezer case for today's review.

Asian PotstickersThe first one we tried was the Asian Potstickers. I'll admit to being a little dubious - potstickers are hard to do well in the first place, but microwaved? The numbers are good, however: 380 calories with 560 mg sodium, 6 grams of fiber (6 grams!) and 8 grams of protein. The product is labeled "Asian Potstickers with vegetables on a bed of whole grain rice and sweet and spicy asian style sauce."

As advertised, the sauce is indeed sweet and spicy, but not cloyingly sweet. Actually nicely balanced - the sauce has a nice umami/sweet/chili oil flavor giving the dish a nice zing. The potstickers themselves are good-sized pillows and the wrappings, while a little thicker than you might get freshly made in a restaurant, are not gummy. For some reason I had expected them to be stuffed with pork, but these are vegetarian: stuffed with tofu, vermicelli and cabbage. Those who shy away from tofu as bland and flavorless should try these, as the filling adds subtle flavor without being overpowered by the sauce.

The rice and vegetables are a little disappointing compared to the potstickers, but it's hard to reheat white rice well and not have it turn grainy as it did here. The matchstick carrots and red peppers hold up fairly well, however, and if you mix the vegetables and rice with the extra sauce it's just fine for a frozen meal. Surprisingly good stuff, here!

Portabella Spinach ParmesanThe second dish is the Portabella Spinach Parmesan, billed as "9 grain penne with baby portabella mushrooms, spinach & tomatoes, topped with parmesan cheese."

Ordinarily I would expect to need to use a microscope to find the parmesan, but there's a fairly generous amount of it in this dish. The penne holds up nicely to cooking: just a little over al dente and lending the whole 5 grams of fiber to go with the 270 calories and 11 grams of protein. (Once again the sodium is a little high at 600mg.)

The sauce, with the mushrooms and spinach, is also well seasoned and you can really taste both the mushrooms and the spinach. The tomatoes don't show up quite as well, as the microwaving renders them mushy. Once you've stirred the dish they've broken down into bits. Still, this is just as good as something you'd get in some restaurants: flavorful and satisfying. Both meals are definitely worth keeping on hand for lunches at the office or as emergency dinner meals with a side salad. Two thumbs up.