What are the choices for the top ten healthy frozen dinner entrees for those on a budget? Here’s the story…
With today’s lifestyles, it seems there’s never enough time to do anything. Where does all the time go? It used to be one parent worked and the other stayed home and took care of the children, which would then generally mean a grand hot meal would be served for dinner when everyone arrived home, cooked by the stay at home parent. It was really satisfying, to come home to some wonderful food that was prepared fresh.
For some reason, this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Both parents often end up working, so there’s no time to fix that gourmet meal. It’s all about saving time these days. So in comes the need to have a meal that can be fixed in a few minutes.
It used to be also, that you could afford to buy the food necessary to prepare awesome meals every night. Steak would come one night, pot roast the next, fried chicken, then fish But now, the budget is tighter. You need to pinch pennies everywhere, and save for retirement in case social security ceases to exist before you reach retirement age. With this comes the need for inexpensive food ideas.
So, now there’s a big push for dinner that is quick and inexpensive. Here are my top ten frozen entree choices for those who need to fix dinner in a small amount of time on a budget…
1. The best frozen entree in my opinion is Lean Cuisine’s Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken. It makes the top of the list because it has extra added veggies and costs about $2.50. This means it can be a complete meal without having to add anything else. It’s also unique and has a great flavor! You get broccoli, edamame, and white meat chicken in a sesame sauce with while wheat pasta. It only has 300 calories and has no preservatives. You can cook it in about four minutes in the microwave.
2. Number two on the list has to Jumbo Rigatoni and Meatballs by Lean Cuisine. This is the best frozen pasta entree I have ever had. It’s also part of the Lean Cuisine Dinner Time Selects collection of frozen entrees, meaning it has 30% more food than most frozen entrees. You get six meatballs and rigatoni noodles in a fire roasted tomato sauce with carrots and peppers. The tomato sauce is what makes this awesome- it has a fresh tomato flavor, with actual pieces of tomato in it. I prefer it to many other frozen entrees whose sauce is just average and tastes like it came from a can. You can buy this one for about $3.
3. Lean Cuisine’s Dinner Time Selects Grilled Chicken and Penne Pasta serves up the number three spot. You get white meat chicken, penne pasta, carrots and broccoli in a garlic herb sauce, and a caramel apple dessert. This one makes it on the list here because of many things. The apple dessert is delicious- it reminds me of the baked apples my mom used to make when I was a kid. The garlic herb sauce is actually somewhat sweet and tastes delicious. The broccoli and carrots are about the best ever of any frozen entree- retaining their crispness and flavor. This entree costs around $3 at the grocery store.
4. Kashi’s Sweet and Sour Chicken. Did you know that Kashi even makes frozen entrees? I didn’t until recently. The Kashi sell for about $3.50, making them a tad bit more expensive, but the taste and originality is worth it. What makes Kashi unique is the 7 whole grains in the entree with a sesame pilaf. This makes it very nutritious, and the meal is all natural. Thrown in with the chicken and sweet and sour sauce are green beans, edamame and yellow peppers. The green beans are roasted, and have a delightful flavor.
5. Balsamic Glazed Chicken by Lean Cuisine. I picked this one because you get orzo pasta, which is unique. Also, the balsamic glaze is interesting. The glaze is sweet and a little bit thick, but still tantalizing. The green beans are mixed with slices of almond, giving them an original flavor as well. This entree sells for about $3, takes about six minutes to cook, and has only 350 calories.
6. Chicken Tuscan, a Dinner Time Select by Lean Cuisine. This 280 calorie meal has broccoli and carrots that are to die for, plus chicken tenderloins and linguine. The sauce is a sun-dried tomato sauce. Its flavor is light but also creamy, almost like a gravy. You will find pieces of mushroom as well (which I tend to pick out.)
7. Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken makes it in at number seven. This one reminds me the most of a home-cooked meal, because you get a whole piece of chicken breast, and then rice, broccoli and a lovely apple cranberry crisp dessert. The sauce is a honey balsamic sauce, and it has a nice flavor to it. With this entree, you take in 350 calories, which isn’t bad! The entree sells for about $3 and takes about six minutes to cook.
8. Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Roasted Chicken Marsala is number eight. The reason this made it to the list is because the Cafe Steamers are an incredible creation- cooking the frozen entree in a steamer in the microwave to keep everything crisp and fresh. The entree comes with the chicken, penne pasta and green beans in a marsala wine sauce. The sauce isn’t as flavorful as those at the top of the list, but is still good. The sauce heats up separately underneath the rest of the entree in the microwave. The best thing is, this entree has only 250 calories. It sells for about $3.50 and takes about six minutes to cook.
9. Kashi’s Lemon Rosemary Chicken. This entree makes it to number nine because it is so healthy- it is all natural, and has 7 whole grains and a sesame pilaf, instead of something like rice or pasta. You also get the grilled chicken breast and sugar snap peas in a lemon rosemary and white wine sauce. I love the sauce, but it is a bit thick.
10. The last entree on the list is Lean Cuisine’s Chicken Mediterranean, a spa cuisine classic. It has whole wheat pasta and grilled chicken with vegetables. It makes the bottom because of the vegetable selection of tomatoes, yellow pepper and zucchini. I would prefer the broccoli and carrots or green beans even. The sauce has a strong tomato flavor, but is somewhat light. This entree sells for $2.50 and takes only four minutes to prepare. It also has the lowest amount of calories, weighing in at 220 total calories.