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Today we have two more Steam Meals from Kashi. A few weeks ago we reviewed their Roasted Garlic Chicken Farfalle and Chicken Fettuccine, which received thumbs up and thumbs down, respectively. (Mind you, the Chicken Fettuccine received a thumbs down only by comparison to the much better Chicken Farfalle - either one would make a decent lunch.) These cook-in-a-bag meals seem to work out much better than the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers we reviewed recently, which try to do much the same thing but use many times more plastic and to no good effect.
Today's first offering, Sesame Chicken, returns to Kashi's trademark 7 Whole Grain & Sesame™ Pilaf. When I could still eat wheat gluten I really enjoyed this mix of grains. It has a nice, nutty flavor and a chewy texture that I think really makes the meal more satisfying. Certainly it doesn't hurt that the meal contains 8 grams of fiber because of it.
This meal adds strips of white meat chicken to a colorful plate of edamame (soybeans), red bell pepper, julienned carrots, and green beans. While cooking this gives of a distinct aroma of garlic and ginger - "smells like a Chinese restaurant," said one taster - and this doesn't disappoint. This is described as "a spicy citrus sauce," but those concerned about spicy foods needn't be concerned: none of our panel felt that this was very spicy at all. A sauce like this is easy to go overboard on with any of the elements, but this has a nice balance of orangey zest with its light garlic and ginger flavors. It's not overwhelming at all. The carrots and green beans remain crunchy, but the chicken is just a little dry. Overall, a good Asian-flavored meal with 300 calories, 630 milligrams of sodium (a little high, but not too much so for a frozen meal), and 8 grams of fiber.
The Spinach and Artichoke Pasta, however, was a real hit with our tasting panel. This is penne pasta made from Kashi's 7 Whole Grain flour, and boy do we wish that everyone would follow Kashi's lead. These penne have the same nutty flavor as the pilaf and have a nice al dente texture. When we poured this meal from its pouch onto the plate, we noted that this seemed like a bigger portion than we might get in another pasta meal. There's plenty of spinach in this dish, and the parmesan sauce is nice and creamy with a garlic-lemon zing. Subtle, but there. The artichokes add tartness and the bell peppers add sweetness, so there's a good balance of flavors when you get all of the elements of the dish on your fork (or in your spoon). The protein in this dish comes from cannellini beans, which we felt added a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a remarkably good pasta dish - one the panel felt you should keep on hand for quick dinners. "Have a salad with this and you'll be full for sure," they agreed. 280 calories, 620 milligrams of sodium, and again, 8 grams of fiber. Enjoy!
Posted December 21, 2012