Categories: Marie Callender’s

29 Jul 2011, Comments (6)

Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken & Rice

Author: Healthnuttxo

I  went to the store the other day to pick up some random things, including some frozen entrees for when I dont have time (or more likely, don’t feel like) cooking. I saw this meal, Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken & Rice, and knew I had to give it a try, especially since I liked the last Marie Callender meal I tried. The ingredients weren’t too bad, so I put it in my cart and bought it.

I was excited to try this. I picture a gooey, cheesy entree, with huge chunks of chicken and pieces of broccoli scattered throughout. Luckily, after I cooked it for the designated time, it looked pretty much as I had imagine it.

However, when I pictured cheesy, I pictured more of like a stringy, gooey cheese. In this meal, it was more like a cheese sauce, or something that had the consistency of a cheese dip that comes from a jar. But don’t get me wrong – it still looked delicious. And let me tell you, it was a long 8 or 9 minutes I waited for this entree to be done including rest time. Sort of like when I bake cookies – longest 8-10 minutes of my life.

So, moving on, I tried the pieces of chicken first. They were juicy and chewy, but also a tad salty. There was a good amount of them in the entree, which I liked. I think this help contribute to the 24 grams of protein in this meal, which made me and my gym-worked muscles quite happy.

Next up, the broccoli was tender, but not soggy, so it was perfect for me. I happy to be quite a fan of broccoli, so the fact that this was included in the meal made me happy on the spot.

Lastly, the rice was fluffy and delicious. There was white rice and some grains of wild rice. It thickened up with the sauce quite nicely, which had a cheddar flavor. The cheese sauce was actually a bit of a let down, as it had a bit of an artificial taste to it. I was expecting a real cheese flavor, and it had more of a cheese-from-a-can or jar flavor. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Overall, pretty good. I would eat this again. I loved how it was high in protein, but it was VERY high in sodium for me, 1000 mg?! A bit more than I’d like in one meal.  All in all, I would give this 4 stars

What’s your favorite thing that’s CHEESY? I would have to argue that crunchy cheese doodles are one of my favorite cheesy things =)

You could say I have had PLENTY of frozen meals in the past. Between eating them intentionally for a review, eating them because I haven’t had time to fully cook a meal, or the more likely option, I’m too lazy to cook anything, I have had a good amount of meals in the past.

I do have a couple standards when picking out frozen meals. They can’t have any trans fats, they have to be made with organic or natural ingredients, and they can’t be crazy high in saturated fat or calories. And in order for me to buy and eat it again, it has to taste homemade. If it tastes super commercially prepared, or bland, or just mediocre, I will not buy it again. I usually stick to Amy’s Kitchen Meals (like here are the ones I reviewed!), as they never have disappointed me in the past.

Well, I went shopping the other day and to my disappointment, there were HARDLY any Amy’s meals at that store. So, I went looking for another option. I saw these meals by Marie Calleender’s, and although the ingredients weren’t as nice as I would like them, they weren’t horrible either.

So I cooked this meal up, and noticed it cooked separately from the sauce. Here are pics before adding the sauce

and after adding the sauce…

So yea, it looked absolutely delicious. Why? Because it was!

I also steamed up some veggies on the side, because I felt this meal was lacking in the veggie department minus the few mushrooms thrown in.

There was a good amount of sauce to mix the meal, which I liked, and the smell was delicious. The mushrooms were chewy, tender, and actually pretty good. I cant say I’m a *huge* fan of mushrooms, they are more of a take-it-or-leave-it vegetable for me, but these were pretty good!

The rice was fluffy, and soft and absorbed the sauce quite well to really make a creamy risotto!  I was a bit disappointed that it was white rice instead of brown. The sauce was buttery and cheesy tasting, and really, when do the flavors of butter or cheese really disappoint? They certainly did not disappoint me. I will happily accept buttery and cheesy flavors on my food. =)

Lastly, the chicken. The chicken was sort of weird to me- it was cut into cubes so I was expected a very processed tasting chicken. However, it tasted like it was pulled right off of a rotisserie chicken! It was chewy and soft and really quite good! It was a tad on the salty side, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

Overall, very good. There were flavors of onion, garlic and cheese, and I really enjoyed this meal. I do think it definitely needs some veggies on the side, but nothing I couldn’t easily fix.And although the ingredients had a few things I wasn’t happy about, it tasted like homemade to me! 4 1/2 stars

What’s your favorite product by Marie Callender? I also really like the biscuit mix!

Along with the tasty Biscuit Mix I was sent to try from Marie Callender’s, I was also given the All Natural Corn  Bread Muffin Mix in the 7oz variety.

Now I was excited for these. I LOOOVEE corn bread, and really rarely get to eat it! I love how it’s moist and super tasty with a little smear of butter. Delicious.

So, I preheated my oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and starting making this mix. I decided to go for the swaps suggested on the back of the mix “to make a healthier version”, and switched 1/4 cup applesauce for 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup skim milk for 1/4 cup milk, and 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg, and mixed them together. Then I added the corn bread muffin mix to the bowl, which mixed very easily. Hardly any lumps whatsoever!

Then I sprayed my muffin tin with some noncook spray and added the muffin mix. I cooked it for about 16 or 17 minutes, and let it cool slightly.

These muffins were moist and soft, which was a plus for me. They were mildly sweet as well. I do prefer my cornbread to be a bit sweeter, and I sort of wish they used honey over sugar since I prefer a honey taste as well. They also had a bit of a tang to them, that I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Not super noticeable, but it had a bit of a tangy aftertaste. By themselves, I would assign this to be  a 3 star rating, but after I put a little butter on one, I liked it more, which would bring these muffins up to a 3 1/2 star rating. I did like that they were cute medium sized muffins, but didn’t like that they had 0 grams of fiber in the mix, and that the first ingredient was sugar.

Do you like cornbread? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Or do you have a favorite brand? *If you’d like to answer, please leave a comment below!*

Oh, yea. BISCUITS!

The people over at Marie Callender’s offered me to try some of their new mixes, like the All-Purpose Biscuit Mix. And the verdict? I’m sure glad I got to try them!

First off, these were really easy preparation. All I needed was a bowl, a spoon, the mix, and 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of water (and a pan with some non-stick spray to bake them on!).

The mix was beige and crumbly in color. After adding the water, I ended up adding just a little bit more to make it easier to stir. I noticed these sort of lumps that were there, sort of like flakes, that I had to stir a little extra to get smoother. The dough became very sticky and pasty, and sort of reminded me of the cheese in a mozzarella cheese stick how it was sort of gooey when I transferred the batter from the spoon to the pan.

Here’s what they looked like after I scooped them on the pan.

While cooking, they smelled DELICIOUS. The bottom of the mix bag says “Restaurant Style” and I thought the same from the smell- I felt like I was sitting in a restaurant!

Here’s what they looked like after baking!

So what about the taste? DELICIOUS!! Even as is, with nothing on them! Fluffy and doughy, slightly salty, and just like a biscuit should taste. The back of the bag said to “serve warm with butter, honey or preserves”, so since I was having these with my dinner, I opted for a little butter. Divine!

Overall? These get 4 1/2 stars! I love how the mix makes 8 biscuits- I think that’s perfect for a family dinner! I also love that 1 biscuit (1/4 cup dry mix)  is only 100 calories! I was a little disappointed that there was no fiber per serving, but these were really good. I would certainly eat them again- I’m tempted to maybe add cinnamon and sugar if I ever make them again!

Do you like biscuits? What’s your favorite way to eat them? (and does anyone else spell biscuit with a q like bisquit? It was so hard for me to write this because I kept writing bisquit the whole time!!) If you’d like to answer, please leave a comment below! =)

1/4 cup dry mix (25g) is 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (niacin, iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid), Palm Oil, Canola Oil (ascorbic acid and rosemary added to preserve freshness), Dextrose, Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate/leavinging), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (leavening), Sea Salt, Buttermilk Powder, Natural Flavor, Monocalcium Phosphate (leavening).

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