I can't cook, but I sure can Nuke!

Marie Callender’s Turkey Breast with Stuffing

Marie Callender’s Turkey Breast with Stuffing

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  • Taste
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A tasty and hearty meal that will probably win our 2011 award for “Most Ingredients in a Single Serving”.

A turkey dinner should be hearty and filling, and this dish certainly satisfies. It has surprisingly low calories for almost a pound of food – only 340. That can probably be attributed to the “new” side dish, of green beans and carrots (I seem to recall the old side dish was candied apples, but I could be wrong). And for the most part, it tastes great – the stuffing in particular, which is a Marie Callendar’s specialty, is outstanding. The potatoes and veggies were a little bland, although I definitely prefer my veggies simple.

What is almost incredible is the number of ingredients in this dish. I should setup a “Guess the Ingredients” poll just to have some fun with it. I had trouble counting everything on the label, but from what I can tell there are at least 124 things listed!! And unfortunately, many of them are free glutamates and other strange ingredients. Some of the baddies on the list: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat), and a plethora of chemicals (BHT, TBHQ, and Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, whatever that is). Again, I’m no expert in food safety, but I gotta expect that anything with 124 ingredients has at least 100 things in it that I don’t need to be putting in my body!

Other than the mountain of ingredients, nutrition is pretty good. Calories are relatively low for the size of the meal, and there are some actual vitamins and fiber. Sodium is a bit high (43%DV), but fats and carbs are reasonable. But ConAgra, I beg you – try to remove some of the excess ingredients. Please?

Note on preparation: the instructions say to stir after 4 minutes of cooking. In my relatively powerful ‘wave (1550 watts), much of the food was still frozen, especially the potatoes, making it hard to stir. I recommend stirring at 4.5 minutes instead. And although it doesn’t say so, you should probably stir the vegetables too, so you don’t end up with some burned ones. Ironically, you should be careful not to overcook – I used a total cooking time of 6.5 minutes (with 2 minutes to sit), and it was cooked perfectly.

I’m torn with recommending this product. I liked the taste a lot, and I felt like I’d had a real meal without feeling guilty about it. I think it’s great that they’ve chosen to use simple vegetables for a side dish. But at the end of the day, this is an extremely “processed” meal. You can sort of taste it in the meat and potatoes – while the texture seems right, the flavor isn’t quite natural. Ironically the best tasting part of the meal has the most stuff in it – I guess that’s why they call it “stuffing.”

Calories per container: 340 (Caloric Density: 0.86)

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