Review of Lean Cuisine Meals: Baked Chicken

One of the frozen entrees in Stouffer’s “comfort classics” product line is Baked Chicken. It is advertised as “Tender roasted chicken tenderloins served on a bed of herb seasoned cornbread stuffing with a savory gravy. Accompanied by creamy whipped potatoes with a dash of paprika.” This Lean Cuisine meal sells for about $3 and the package weight is 8.5 ounces.

Nutritional Information

  • 240 calories
  • 4.5 grams fat
  • 650 mg sodium
  • 34 grams carbohydrate
  • 15 grams protein

The Lean Cuisine entree is intended to cook in the microwave for 4-5 minutes after removing it from the box and slitting the film cover. Alternately it can be warmed in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes but it is not meant to be put in a toaster oven. There are 5 Weight Watcher points for this lean cuisine meal.

Presentation

I cooked the baked chicken meal in the microwave for the recommended time. It was thoroughly heated when I took it out, but the first thing I noticed was that the presentation is different from the picture on the box. The food is in a divided tray with two sections. The sections were almost equal with one being only slightly larger than the other. The smaller side contained the whipped potatoes which did have a red stain of paprika on the surface. The portion looked to be about a third of a cup. The slightly larger section of the tray contained the chicken and cornbread stuffing. Two small pieces of white meat chicken – much smaller than the picture on the box – were surrounded by about two spoonfuls of stuffing and a bit of gravy. Both pieces of chicken together would cover only half the palm of your hand. Actually, the chicken and stuffing combined might cover the palm of a woman’s hand.

Taste

The taste was adequate. The cornbread and gravy had a nice natural flavor while the chicken was a bit tough. The potatoes were improved by the paprika but still a bit bland. They did lend an air of “comfort” to the dish, which seems to be the premise of the comfort classic line.

Conclusion

I would rate the meal high for convenience and attractiveness as it is handy to have on hand when you don’t want to cook or go out for fast food. It stands up fine nutritionally with few calories, low fat and a fair amount of protein. At 650 mg of sodium – just over a quarter teaspoon – it isn’t bad for a packaged product. The American Heart Association recommends no more than one teaspoon (2300mg) of sodium a day.

The taste, for me, was just average. I didn’t expect it to taste like real home cooking chicken but it didn’t stand out for any reason. The portion size of the potatoes was fine but was lacking when it came to the stuffing and chicken. There could have been half again more of each, although that would have raised the calorie and fat count. I think it would be worth it since the two small bites of chicken looked and felt pretty skimpy. Another 100 calories of food would improve this entree.

If you really do want small portions or you are a very light eater, then you might enjoy this meal for convenience. Otherwise it lacks taste and substance. On a scale of one to five, I’d give it a rather flat three.

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