Purchased Price: $2.49 Size: 8 oz. Purchased at: Target Rating: 7 out of 10 Pros: Nice savory and smoky flavor. Pleasant mild spiciness. Cilantro and lime have a very mild flavor and complement the spiciness well. I can pronounce most of the ingredients listed. Only 170 calories. Vegetarian. Good source of fiber; thanks black beans! Awesome source of vitamin A; thanks…corn? 4 PointsPlus. Cons: I wish it had more black beans because I loves the fiber. Not as filling as this Smart Ones soup. Waiting 5 minutes for soup seems a bit long when you want something warm in your body. Fire roasted corn looked like regular corn.
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 470 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 45% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 10% vitamin C, and 20% iron.
Purchased Price: $2.49 Size: 8 oz. Purchased at: Target Rating: 7 out of 10 Pros: Flavor is similar to a loaded potato with more emphasis on the chives, sour cream, and cheese. Lots of potatoes, chives, and turkey bacon. Surprisingly filling. 4 PointsPlus (I think that’s a good thing). No need for a can opener. When heated and eaten, it can warm the body during the cold months. Cons: Some of the potatoes were still a little crunchy. Turkey bacon didn’t have much flavor. Not a thick soup. Not a better value than most canned soup. When not heated and not eaten, it can cool the body during the hot months.
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 15% calcium, and 4% iron.
Purchased Price: $3.79 Size: 8 oz Purchased at: Target Rating: 5 out of 10 Pros:It may not look like it, but there’s enough chicken, peppers, and onions to more than stuff the two tortillas. Tortillas are easy to bite through (I thought they were going to be tough after being microwaved). Adding beans and rice to the fajita gives them a little more flavor. Good source of fiber (thanks red beans). Doesn’t sizzle and draw attention to your table like Chili’s fajitas do. Cons: Slightly bland fajitas. Rice and beans have a slightly weird buttery flavor. Chicken should’ve been marinated. Tortillas make my hands look huge.. Soggy, sad vegetables with no crunch. Not that filling.
Nutrition Facts: 290 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 580 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 16 grams of protein, 20% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 25% vitamin C, and 10% iron.
Purchased Price: $2.69 Size: Two 5.785 cups Purchased at: Target Rating: 6 out of 10 Pros: Good cinnamon and apple flavor. If you like your oatmeal thick, you may like this (it can easily be thinned with water or milk). Good source of fiber. Decent amount of apples. Slightly better tasting than the Maple & Brown Sugar one. While waiting for it to heat up, you can pluck your eyebrows or nose hairs. Cons: Granola isn’t crunchy and it just blends in with the oatmeal. Leaves a weird temporary coating in my mouth. Part of a complete breakfast, but not filling enough to be the only thing you eat for breakfast. It contains something called “butter flavor.” The glow of the microwave being the first light you see every morning.
Nutrition Facts: 180 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0. grams of monounsaturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein.
Here are the microwave instructions for the Weight Watchers Smart Ones Smart Beginnings Turkey Sausage English Muffin Sandwich:
1. Remove sandwich from carton and plastic wrapper.
2. Wrap sandwich in paper towel and microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds.
3. Let sandwich stand in microwave for 30 seconds.
4. Flip sandwich over and cook on high for an additional 30 seconds.
5. Let stand 1 minute. Enjoy!
Maybe it’s just me, but if someone is trying to get ready for work or school in the morning, these instructions are bothersome. Who has time to stand by the microwave and flip their sandwich when there’s either a mustache to trim, mascara to put on, or morning quicky to squeeze in? I just want something I can stick in the microwave and walk away from so that I have time to stick something into something else — a trimmer up my nose to mow down long nose hairs.
Besides the microwave instructions, which is the only way to prepare the breakfast sandwich, I did not enjoy how much effort I had to put into tearing away a piece of the sandwich, thanks to the English muffins. Now I know how lions feel when the sinew gets in the way of ripping a gazelle’s flesh off its bones.
Normal English muffins can get tough and microwaving frozen bread can make it tough, so putting an English muffin in the microwave sounds like it could be the equivalent of wrapping leather around beef jerky.
Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but if I was old and had dentures, I’d double-check my Super Poligrip adhesive or curse this newfangled food technology and then cut the sandwich up with a fork and knife.
If you look at the parts of the Weight Watchers Smart Ones Smart Beginnings Turkey Sausage English Muffin Sandwich — English muffin with a perfectly round egg white patty that’s yellow, a perfectly round turkey sausage patty, and a slice of American cheese that’s not perfectly square — it sounds like Weight Watchers Smart Ones is trying to make a much healthier McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg.
Is it healthier? As you can see in the table below, which I created using HTML I learned in 1993, forgot in 1994, and just relearned seconds ago, the Smart Ones breakfast sandwich has significantly less fat, sodium, and calories than a Sausage McMuffin with Egg. So mission accomplished, if that was Smart Ones’ goal.
Smart Ones Sandwich
Sausage McMuffin with Egg
3 grams of saturated fat
10 grams of saturated fat
8 grams of fat
27 grams of fat
490 milligrams of sodium
920 milligrams of sodium
However, the Smart Ones breakfast sandwich is significantly less tasty than a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg, but you probably already knew that. The egg patty has a slightly buttery flavor and the turkey sausage is mildly spicy, but, when combined with the English muffin and American cheese, it’s a mediocre breakfast sandwich. The sausage gets lost in the flavors of the egg and English muffin, which is sad since the turkey sausage should be the most flavorful ingredient of the sandwich. But it’s understandable since the sausage patty is thin and is dwarfed by the egg patty.
Overall, if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, the Weight Watchers Smart Ones Smart Beginnings Turkey Sausage English Muffin Sandwich isn’t going to change your disposition. Its needy instructions will give you less time to pluck your eyebrows in the morning and its flavor will make you scoff at the “Smart Beginnings” part of the product’s name.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 230 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 14 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 10% iron. 6 PointsPlus.)
Item: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Smart Beginnings Turkey Sausage English Muffin Sandwich Price: $2.28 (on sale) Size: 2 pack Purchased at: Safeway Rating: 5 out of 10 Pros: Comes in a 2-pack. Less fat, sodium, and calories than a Sausage McMuffin with Egg. Showing off my HTML skills by building a simple 2-column table. Cons: Mediocre flavor. Thin and small sausage patty. Damn long name. Tough English muffin. Needy instructions. Can only be prepared in the microwave. Flavor of the sausage gets lost within the English muffin and egg.
You have me playing a dangerous game, dear readers. A dangerous game, indeed. Preparing these particular bagged, frozen meals in the office microwave is not a feat to be taken lightly. You know that of which I speak. The horrible, pungent odor of steamed broccoli is not the first thing hungry, cranky co-workers want to encounter while trying to salvage a few minutes of their lunch break in their soulless cubicles. What is the deal with this vegetable? Why does it stink so much? I hate to admit it, but maybe George H.W. Bush was onto something. The risk of committing a terrible olfactory crime is great when cooking these broccoli-laden meals. And Iâ€™ve had to do it twice. Good thing the meals themselves came out all right.
The Smart Ones Satisfying Selections line includes several hearty meals, including the delicious Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese and the decent Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo. The main question any curious shopper will ask is if the meals live up to the promise so boldly stated on the packaging: Are these selections satisfying?
These new Satisfying Selections do in fact come in larger portions than regular Smart Ones frozen entrees. For comparisonâ€™s sake, the Smart Ones Classic Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli & Chicken comes in a 9-ounce package, while the Satisfying Selections Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo tips the scales at 11.7 ounces. Thatâ€™s a pretty good start.
The flavor of these two Satisfying Selections and their overall ability to satisfy my ravenous lunchtime hunger would be the real test. Good news for me, the Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese meal was actually pretty darn tasty. There was a lot of rice in the package, but the grains had a nice texture and didnâ€™t come out glue-like and overdone. Also, the chunks of white meat chicken were plentiful and, thankfully, not slimy like chicken chunks tend to be in these types of meals. The broccoli was, wellâ€¦ like your typical broccoli, but astonishingly, the specially-designed microwave steamer packaging seemed to contain the offending aroma of cooked broccoli to the extent that I couldnâ€™t smell a thing. Alas, I would escape the wrath of my murderous office associates and live to microwave lunch another day. Last but not least, the cheesiness of the Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese meal is very nice. Itâ€™s mixed with a light and creamy cheese sauce. Subtle, but delicious.
Unfortunately, the same canâ€™t be said of the Alfredo sauce on the Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo. Itâ€™s sort of globbed on there, muting the peppery seasoning on the chicken breast. On the other hand, the broccoli is almost perfectly steamed, and the rotini pasta actually comes out al dente rather than limp and soggy. The Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo is a little blander than the Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese. Not its fault, of course. I mean, as far as Iâ€™m concerned, Alfredo sauce is involved in a perpetual uphill battle against plain old (delicious) cheese sauce. I say, there is a time and place for butter and a time and place for cheese, and right here, right now, dear readers, itâ€™s cheese time.
So, it looks like my risk-taking did not go unrewarded. I was able to enjoy two lunches without creating a malodorous catastrophe in my office space, and yes, they were satisfying. Appetite-wise at least. My fellow drones couldnâ€™t be happier.
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 1 meal â€“ Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese — 340 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 730 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 31 grams of protein. Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo — 300 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1 grams of monounsaturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 660 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, and 28 grams of protein.)
Item: Smart Ones Satisfying Selections (Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese and Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo) Price: $2.94 (on sale) Size: 11.7 ounces Purchased at: Target Rating: 8 out of 10 (Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese) Rating: 5 out of 10 (Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo) Pros: Satisfyingly big portions. Cheese Time. Living to microwave lunch another day. Not having to eat anymore broccoli because youâ€™re the goddamn President of the United States. Cons: Globby Alfredo sauce. Tempting fate by cooking broccoli in an office full of ravenous cubicle jockeys. Broccoli stench. Eating lunch in the office.