14 August, 2009

Healthy Frozen Meals: Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers - General Tso's Spicy Chicken

General Tso stood on a hill looking over the city of Shaoxing. Smoke rose from numerous fires behind the city walls, and his triumphant troops were bringing loads of looted treasure and supplies back to their lines. Soon, one of his lieutenants approached with a line of prisoners. The General eyed them coldly. It had been a long campaign, and these soldiers had cost the lives of many of his best men. He turned to the first of the prisoners and said, "I will spare your lives...if you cook me a chicken."

It's been a hundred and fifty years since that day. I wonder what General Tso would have thought of this Healthy Choice chicken meal bearing his name.

I guess I'll never know, but I'm not sure if he'd be pleased with it.

There were three little pieces of chicken inside the steam tray - about a third of a chicken tenderloin. It tasted slightly artificial, like it had been beefed up with something. Sure enough, there's hydrolyzed soy protein, flavoring added, and tenderizers added to it. It's not too bad, just a bit chewier than I expect my chicken to be.

The veggies in this one seem to be the same as last time: scallions (which were more or less nonexistant), and a giant helping of cubed carrot and red bell pepper. The scallions that were present in the meal were a bit tough, but the carrots and bell peppers were done so that they were still just a bit crunchy. The rice was done to perfection as well; not chewy, not crunchy, but damn there was a lot of it.

And the sauce was pretty good too. It had a well-rounded flavor that included soy, ginger, hot pepper, garlic, black pepper, and sake if you concentrate really hard. The hot pepper and ginger gave the sauce a nice mid- to tip-of-the-tongue heat without making it too spicy.

Overall, it was something that I'd get again if it was on sale, but its regular price ($3.59) is just too expensive for me to justify paying for what's really just carrots and rice in a bowl.

Total Calories: 320
Calories From Fat: 40
Sodium: 500 mg; 21%

TOTAL PREP TIME: 5 minutes

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