Friday, February 1, 2013

Lean Cuisine Chef's Picks

I was thrilled when I was contacted to try out Lean Cuisines new Chef Pick's meals.  I try and cook most of my meals, but I always keep a few Lean Cuisines in my freezer for those days I am too busy or lazy/need a quick lunch. I'll have to admit I stick to my chosen few and don't go outside my box so this was a great chance for me to add a few more choices to my stash. 
What's special about the new Chef's Picks meals is that Lean Cuisine collaborated with some of the hottest chefs of today, the "Culinary Roundtable" (Michelle Bernstein, Brad Farmerie, Paul Kahan, Anita Lo, Lior Lev Sercarz & Lucien Vendome) to create recipes with exciting flavors, utilizing brighter colors and tastes of the season. 
via Lean Cuisine facebook
I thought it would be fun to do a tasting of these new meals at my office so I brought a whole bunch for everyone to try earlier this week-about 10 people total tried these. 
I made little questionnaire sheets for people to comment on and was pretty happy people took it seriously. 
Before I get into too much detail and for those you don't like reading a lot, here's the short version. 

Favorites (starting with best liked to least liked)
1. Chicken Makhani
2. Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
3. Chili-Lime Chicken
4. Steak Portabella
5. Lemon Chicken (9/10 people didn't like this)

I would highly recommend the first two, most people LOVED them (including myself). Chili-Lime was 50/50, no strong dislikes-just wasn't a lot of peoples thing. Steak was another 50/50, more of a LOVE/HATE thing. Most problems were with texture. Lemon Chicken was a big loser, taste and texture were not appealing to the majority. 

I was impressed with the creativity of these new meals, especially the Makhani. It's nice to see more of an ethnic flair by Lean Cuisine. 

If you get one thing out of this, it is to try new dishes. I got a lot of comments about how people never would have tried certain items but they were really glad that I did because they found some new favorites-one lady even said she was going to start bringing them to work now! Stock up when they are on sale, that's what I always do :)

Now for the more in depth reviews which I really hope you read! 

Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
Ravioli filled with portobello & button mushrooms, romano & ricotta cheeses in a creamy marsala wine sauce with spinach & red peppers.
This one was one of my top choices. All of the flavors were wonderful, the ravioli and the sauce were both great. The kinda dish you could get at a restaurant. Other comments on the ravioli: "Not my thing" "Very good, great texture" "Most memorable" "ravioli was to doughy" "texture off" "Pretty good...sauce is ok, I liked the spinach". Even though some people didn't like it, it was still one of the overall favorites.

Chicken Makhani
White meat chicken in an indian-style tomato sauce with a side of rice, almond slivers, peas & carrots
Another one of my favorites. The complex flavors in this dish were extremely impressive. Other comments "Very nice. Good flavor & texture" "Flavors are more exotic, it stands out" "Ok" "Very tasty, can taste the Indian spices" "Sangham butter chicken??" Overall another staff favorite.

Lemon Chicken
lightly breaded white meat chicken in a sweet lemon sauce with broccoli, red peppers & oregano white rice
I was not a fan of this dish, I thought it was too sweet and because it was breaded and then microwaved with sauce it was soggy. Texturally it was not appealing. Other comments: "Too lemony, weird aftertaste" "Not a fan of the lemon flavor" "Very strong lemon taste" "More sweet then lemony-generic tasting" "Felt mushy, didn't taste lemon" "Savory taste of the lemon plus added mild sweetness to make it tasty" <--One person loved it. Overall everyone said the same thing, not good texture or flavor. Not a winning dish. 

Chili Lime Chicken
White meat chicken in a red chile lime sauce with a medley of rasted corn, peppers and rice
I had average feelings about this dish. The flavoring/texture was fine, just wasn't a flavor that I lean towards normally. Other comments: "Tastes like enchiladas" "Rice has no flavor" "Awesome taste, similar to Chipotle" "Better when you mix the sauce, rice & chicken" "Don't like the hint of sweetness""To plain for my taste". This dish went half/half for people. Some loved it and others thought it was ok. 

Steak Tips Portabello
tender beef steak & portabello mushrooms in a savory beef sauce with broccoli
My other least favorite dish. Ill start out by saying that microwaved meat disgusts me, particularly the red variety. Flavor was fine with this, but I did not like the texture of the steak. It was refreshing to see broccoli instead of rice on the side. Other Comments "Steak is very tender & tasty. Veggie is crisp" "Nothing special, but tasted like you expect it to" "Very standard, forgettable  "Tasted better then I expected it to" "So so" "Not really my thing, tastes like airplane food". This was another dish that was a love/hate it situation with a few in the middle. 

And because I love all of my readers so much (especially the ones who read all of this!), I decided to use one of the coupons that was provided to me and give it one of yall! It will get you one Lean Cuisine meal for free. 

*update...I have a 3rd party commenter thing on my blog but somehow it turned off on this post and switched to google's comments. I still have everyone who commented originally on that one-your comments still count *

To enter you need to be a follower of my blog and tell me which one of the Chef's Picks meals you would most like to try...or if you have tried one, which one is your favorite! Winners will be chosen on Wednesday 2/6 by a random number generator. Open to US residents only. 

Chef's Picks Meals....I reallyyyyyy want to try the Artichoke & Ravioli...couldnt find it anywhere :(

Spinach Artichoke Ravioli
Asparagus Ravioli
Ranchero Braised Beef
Chile Lime Chicken
Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
Chicken Makhani
Chicken and Vegetables
Chicken in Peanut Sauce
Chicken Carbonara
Glazed Chicken
Steak Tips Portabello
Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce
Chicken Pecan
Thai-style Chicken
Chicken Marsala 
Lemon Chicken
Orange Chicken

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!


  1. Very helpful- I often take lean cuisines to work for an easy low cal lunch. Can't wait to try the top 3!

  2. I only ever get the french bread pizza and cheeseburger sliders :) haha but the ravioli do look quite scrumptious for being a microwave health meal! Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Valley Chow

  3. I am glad the Indian inspired dish was amongst the top rated entrees.:) Hee!hee!

    I love how you went about gathering your data... very clever. :)