REVIEW: Birds Eye Steamfresh Sweet & Spicy Chicken Meals for Two

Like most children, I was picky when it came to food. I would bitch and moan if I found one tiny pea in my mother’s homemade beef stew, I would demand my sandwiches be cut in quarters and I would only eat raw vegetables. That selectiveness faded when I became a college student. My food qualifications have gone down significantly.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like to eat healthy, but if it’s a toss up between partying, books and gourmet food, I’m going to choose $2 You-Call-Its at the local sleazy establishment that always has some weird Willie Nelson look-alike in the back nursing Old Milwaukee over spending time preparing venison filets with a raspberry reduction.

Actually, I wouldn’t even know where to start when it comes to whipping up a meal, since my culinary expertise goes from grilling chicken breasts and steaks on my George Foreman grill to putting the right amount of water when making Easy Mac. However, learning how to cook is on my list of things I would like to accomplish. It’s pretty high up on the list since it is more useful than playing the didgeridoo.

Birds Eye Steamfresh Meals for Two masks somebody’s lack of cooking skills (all you do is toss it in the microwave for 10 minutes and open it up) when you need to impress the person you’ve been dating, because your profile is built upon lies.

“Why, yes, I am Egyptian royalty, and I’m wonderful in the kitchen…and the bedroom…*meow*”

But if you do serve this meal as apart of a romantic dinner that includes box wine, paper plates, and suppressed memories about that summer you spent with your crazy uncle who bragged about being a roadie for Whitesnake, don’t be surprised by the confusing stares your date will be giving the plate because of the random ingredients tossed in there. It’s like whatever extra was around in the food lab was thrown in. Tomatoes and onions? Sure, they go with chicken and pasta. Olives? Some people like them, others don’t. Raisins? Did you say raisins? Well, they’re in there as well.

Maybe I’m stereotyping things, but when I hear Sweet & Spicy, Asian-inspired meals from a mall food court come to mind. But there’s nothing Asian about this dish. There’s a heck of a lot more spice (a.k.a red pepper) than sweet, which I enjoyed. I can’t really define an exact flavor for it, but it did remind me of something I had on an international flight once. (Airline Gourmet maybe?)

The rigatoni was perfectly al dente, the chicken was plentiful and there were a lot of raisins, which I guess could be the “sweet” part, but they really didn’t add much flavor. Instead they added a “What the hell is this? Oh, it’s a raisin” element, because the raisins became shriveled up brown things at the bottom of the bowl (even when tossed around). The serving size is just about right when you feel like you could eat, but if you haven’t had anything in your stomach all day except a packet of old peanut butter crackers you found in your desk, then you can easily eat both portions, pretend the meal never existed and order take-out when your date comes over.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 bag – 370 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, 20 grams of protein, 15% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, 6% calcium and 20% iron.)

Item: Birds Eye Steamfresh Sweet & Spicy Chicken Meals for Two
Price: $6.75
Size: 24 ounces
Purchased at: Market Basket
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Super easy to make. Pretending you know how to cook. Pretty healthy if you stick to the portion size. High in protein. The didgeridoo. Finding snacks that you didn’t know you had.
Cons: Random ingredients. Slightly misleading product name. Creepy old dudes at college bars. Waiting 10 minutes. Lots of sodium.