REVIEW: Lean Cuisine Frozen Entrees

Since I like to take the occasional easy way out by finding an alternative to whipping up something in the kitchen myself, I try to find pre-packaged foods that require me only to pop ’em in the microwave and …viola!

I want something that saves time, energy and effort. This, of course, can be achieved by choosing the route of frozen meals. Frozen meals have evolved considerably from those dreadful t.v. dinners in the aluminum trays our mothers used to serve us. Our only choices were pretty much limited to meatloaf, rubbery fried chicken, turkey with mashed potatoes and spaghetti and meatballs. Today’s frozen meals offer a far greater variety to choose from, thank God.

Choice is very important to me and my husband as consumers and, when it comes to food, it has to be as pleasant to the palate as it does healthy, if we are going to eat it. I have tried too many so-called “low-cal, low carb” products that are watery, bland and tasteless, a complete waste of my money.

One of the most popular is the “Lean Cuisine” line of frozen meals made by Stouffer’s, which I have eaten on more than one occasion and actually enjoyed them.

I really am impressed by the selections they offer.

They have several categories, including “One Dish Favorites”, “Comfort Classics”. “Cafe Classics”, “Spa Cuisine Classics”, “Skillets”. “Dinnertime Selects”, and “Casual Eating”.

Just to give you an idea of the tremendous choices they have, some of my personal favorites include Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Spaghetti With Meat Sauce, Stuffed Cabbage With Whipped Potatoes, Chicken Fried Rice, Teriyaki Steak, Beef Pot Roast, Chicken Parmesan, Roast Turkey and Vegetables, Salmon With Basil, Lemon Chicken, Lemon Garlic Shrimp, and Chicken Fettuccini. There are, of course, many others to pick from, but these are the ones I liked best.

They are constantly striving to add more dishes to their “Lean Cuisine” line and recently added Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza, Gourmet Mushroom Pizza and BB-Q Chicken Recipe Pizza, all of which I look forward to sampling soon.

Of course, there are some things I do not like about Learn Cuisine.

The first thing is that they, like other similar manufacturers of “diet food” products, seem to forget the fact that many people are on low-sodium diets, my husband being one of them. While Lean Cuisine’s entrees are generally low in fat and cholesterol, the sodium levels are quite high.

Unfortunately, if you want a low sodium meal, you are probably better off cooking it yourself. where you have complete control of the seasoning. When my husband and I cook on our own, we don’t even use salt, just garlic powder, pepper and other spices, so when we do eat entrees that contain a lot of salt, we can really tell the difference.

Lean Cuisine’s prices range from about $2.79 to $4.79 and, considering the serving sizes are not particularly generous, I think they ought to think seriously about lowering the prices slightly.

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best), I would rate Lean Cuisine an 8 for taste, a 8 for variety and a 7 for nutritional value.

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