The first impression I had when I took the film off after heating my Healthy Choice Shrimp Diavolo was this: "Eew, cherry-berry crisp in my shrimp," but you need some backstory before you'll know what I'm talking about. So let's skip to my second impression and take it from there: I was amazed at the amount of shrimp that I got in this. I counted twelve in the dish. The shrimp were tender and sweet and were nestled on a bed of pasta and covered in a spicy marinara sauce that lives up to its name: a generous amount of crushed red pepper mingles within the sauce, giving it a pleasant, flavorful peppery burn. Delicious. The best thing? There wasn't an overabundance of sauce. There was a 'just right' amount.
The veggie section - industry standard carrots and broccoli - were cooked very well. The carrots were actually really sweet, instead of kind of woody and 'carroty' in this one. I was shocked.
|What was left of the "crisp" after it|
erupted all over my microwave.
And then we had dessert. The crisp...except in reality, that crisp isn't so crisp. It's more like a 'soggy' actually. Made with blueberries and cherries, this cherry-berry thing wasn't really bad, but I hesitate to call it "good." The oats at the top get soggy and kind of fall into suspended animation in the middle of a sticky sauce pod that has little dots of berries in it here and there. And because its cooking time is actually less than the rest of the meal, it turned into this little molten goopot spewing...stuff...all over the microwave. And, to be frank, it's always these little fruit-flavored goopods that deter me from spending the extra bucks for a "complete meal" instead of just a one-dish thing. But anyway, the "crisp" was tart, in an unripened cherry sort of way, and had little blueberry flavor at all. And the gummy oats didn't help the texture much, either. I think that if I get this again, I'll just skip dessert and have a scoop of shebert from my own freezer, instead. Other than that, though, this meal's a winner. Mostly.
There's a few problems with this meal other than the cherry-berry crisp, so don't go away talking about my shining review yet.
Problem one is the cooking time. Remember the molten cherry-berry goo I was telling you about? The stuff that's supposed to be crisp? Well, I had a hard time cooking the rest of the entree because that goo had started to boil over from the tray and get all over everything. The microwave, the plastic film, my shrimp...you get the idea. So, I did what anyone else would do: take the meal out. Bad move, though. My shrimp entree is still frozen on the inside, even though I stirred it up like the directions told me to. So I pulled the now-sticky, disgusting film off, chucked it, and threw it in the microwave uncovered for another thirty seconds, watching it like a hawk the entire time. When the dessert - that "crisp" - started to boil over again, I finally said "To hell with it," took the meal out, and ate the now-slightly-crunchy shrimp first.
Problem two was the packaging. I'm not talking about the box it came in; that was fine. I'm talking about whatever machine was on the assembly line, spitting out food into trays. It got some cherry-berry
goo-mixture crisp in my shrimp meal, and some things are just not made to go together. Like cherry-berry crisp and spicy shrimp. I ended up picking out a rogue cherry and scooping out a clump of goo with it. And then, I'd get a sugary-sweet tang in my spicy marinara. Eew.
Problem two may be atypical case though. Maybe the Quality Assurance department was out getting some coffee, or something, and this one happened to slip through. Overall, this is a pretty tasty meal, and the super generous amount of shrimp you get in here is well-worth another purchase as far as I'm concerned. I just hope that I don't get any of that cherry stuff in my shrimp next time.
Calories: 250 (25 from fat)
Total Fat: 2.5g