Feeling desperate for a quick and easy way to get a relatively healthy dinner on the table? Consumer Reports says look no further than your supermarket freezer! Its test kitchen found several delicious, healthy choices that will keep your family-and your pocketbook-happy!
Consumer Reports evaluated 19 frozen convenience meals-from brands like Contessa, Birds Eye, and Stouffers.
All of them could be prepared in under 20 minutes, either in a stovetop skillet or microwave.
Ellen Klosz of Consumer Reports says, "Most of the meals we looked at were complete, with chicken or shrimp, vegetables, and usually pasta or rice."
But are they meals you'd enjoy? Trained sensory panelists at Consumer Reports evaluated them for both taste and nutrition.
Klosz says, "There were many good, healthy choices, but it's important to check the nutrition label, because there were some meals that were high in fat and sodium."
But don't despair. Consumer Reports found lots of quick, tasty options for the time-strapped or kitchen-challenged.
For one, the Contessa Sesame Chicken. It's a Consumer Reports Best Buy for around $2.50 a serving. It scored very good for both taste and nutrition, with fresh-tasting vegetables and tender chicken.
For even less, another good choice is Birds Eye Voila Chicken Florentine. It has firm penne pasta and fresh-tasting spinach and yellow squash. It costs just $1.28 per serving.
Consumer Reports' tests show the quality of all-in-one meals can vary within a brand.
For example, while the Contessa Sesame Chicken was top-rated, the Contessa MicroSteam Chicken Florentine was at the bottom of the Italian chicken dishes. The Contessa Shrimp Primavera wasn't great either.