I try to bring my lunch to work as often as possible, but sometimes just have trouble finding time to prepare something to bring in. I have never really been a big sandwich eater, and mostly crave warm food at lunch (I blame my office for being so darn cold!) So I was excited to try Lean Cuisine’s new Chef’s Picks within their Culinary Collection line. Having a few frozen meals at my disposal would be great for days that I didn’t have time to make a lunch!
A number of chefs have been working with Lean Cuisine to add to their Culinary Collection of meals. Michelle Bernstein, Brad Farmerie, Paul Kahan, Anita Lo, Lior Lev Sercarz, and Lucien Vendome make up the Cuisine Culinary Roundtable. Together, these chefs and Lean Cusine are really stepping up the options available with bold flavors and meals.
There are currently 13 different Culinary Collection Chef’s Picks, and I was able to try three of them: Ranchero Braised Beef, Thai Style Chicken, and Steak Tips Portobello (I really wanted to try the Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli but my local store didn’t have it. Boo).
The Thai Style Chicken (“roasted white meat chicken in a spicy thai-style sauce & creamy rice with toasted coconut”) was a pleasant surprise. Normally, chicken in frozen meals has a really unattractive consistency, so I tend to steer clear of poultry dishes. But the chicken was really tasty! I loved the coconut taste that came through the rice. The sauce to chicken/rice ratio seemed a bit off though, I would have liked more rice or chicken and less sauce. I really loved how it all tasted, but at just 280 calories, I was hungry within a few hours. Perhaps I should have paired my meal with an apple or something.
I was pretty excited for the Ranchero Braised Beef (“braised beef in a spicy red chile sauce served with a side of chipotle mashed sweet potatoes”), although I don’t think I’d consider the sauce spicy. There was a ton of flavor in the sauce and the beef was really tasty. I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes, and the chipotle really made these fantastic. I was pleased with my serving size of mashed sweet potatoes, but was one again wanting a bit more of the beef (this Lean Cuisine was just 240 calories).
The Steak Tips Portobello meal (“tender beef steak & portabello mushrooms in a savory beef sauce with broccoli”) was kind of a disappointment. The flavor was once again really good but… why did they skimp on the broccoli? 1 cup of steamed broccoli runs you like… 30 calories. Why are there so few in this dish? The entire meal is about 160 calories. I really would have liked more broccoli and still could have come under 200 calories.
Overall, I was really impressed with the flavors of these dishes. However, I feel like I’d need 2 at each sitting! When they are on sale, you can get something like 4 for $10 so 2 a day wouldn’t break the bank. But boy do I wish they just had a bit more in each dish.
It is definitely worth stocking up on these during promotions for those days you didn’t have time to pack a lunch. They really are tasty!
I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!