Assessing gourmet frozen meals.

How to be the best consumer you can be.
March 29 2005 7:27 AM

Cold Case

Are the new frozen dinners any good?

(Continued from Page 1)

Moroccan Stew (Moosewood)
Price:
$3.79

Moosewood Restaurant, the famed "natural foods" temple, is responsible for publishing cookbooks that many call bibles. But this frozen dinner was dreadful—a brown-orange mush that received comments ranging from demure ("way too sweet and redolent of pumpkin pie spice") to out-and-out peeved ("this is swamp water"). The nutritionists were not happy, noting it contained "not much that's good for you" beyond "a few small vegetables."

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Taste and presentation: 1.3
Nutrition: 1.6
Would you buy this: 0
Value: -3.04
Total: -0.14

Chicken Vindaloo Bowl (Ethnic Gourmet)
Price:
$2.89

The pseudo-authentic looking food photos on the package would have you believe that these meals could match those served in your favorite take-out joints. Our findings for this watery dish—said to taste like "curry, curry, curry" and "weak chicken goop"—suggest you stick with take-out. The nutritionists lambasted the meal for its overcooked vegetables stripped of nutritional value.

Taste and presentation: 2.25
Nutrition: 1
Would you buy this: 0
Value: -2.03
Total: 1.22

Farfalle Spinach Pesto Sauce (Moosewood)
Price:
$3.79

Given this organization's reputation we "expected strong pesto flavor" but "got weak, stupid pesto instead." The major problem was the "watery" consistency, "like bland spinach soup." As for health, "no fresh veggies and lots of carbs," the experts said.

Taste and presentation: 2.3
Nutrition: 1.4
Would you buy this: 1
Value: -2.29
Total: 2.41

Amy's Black Bean Enchiladas With Spanish Rice & Beans (Amy's Kitchen)
Price:
$3.99

Amy's Kitchen is a very popular line of vegetarian frozen meals, yet no one here could figure out why. This entree "doesn't have tons of flavor" and is "mild and bland." And "everything is covered in enchilada sauce," one nutritionist pointed out, so "not much good stuff."