So you know you shouldn't probably eat frozen dinners every day (or at all, given the sodium content), but what about when you're crunched for time and have massive studying to do?
I've been in your shoes. I have procrastinated on both making my own food and doing my homework and now I have to simultaneously feed myself and memorize all the base elements in less than an hour.
If you're worried about picking out tasty options the next time you head to the grocery store, I took the bullet and ate frozen dinners for a whole week. Read on to learn what to stock and what to skip.
Mom, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. #DidItForTheSpoon
1. Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli
I picked this to get in the spirit of ~fall~ but with only five ravioli and questionable frozen vegetables, it resembled something from our younger years baby food. Your money can be better spent on a different frozen entrée.
2. evol Vegetable Enchiladas
These were a venture into unknown territory, given the sometimes unsavory reputation of frozen Mexican food, but they turned out to be exceptionally tasty. Clocking in under 500 calories, I will be adding these to my emergency stash of frozen food.
3. Trader Joe's Palak Paneer
Well doesn't this look like a great big pile of nope. Don't let its mushiness throw you off because it was a delightfully different change of pace—low in calories, high in vegetable content, and created from an authentic recipe. I imagine it would taste divine with a touch of goat cheese and roast chicken for protein. Thumbs UP.
4. Lean Cuisine Breaded Fish
This list wouldn't be complete without some carefully calculated risk, aka, frozen seafood. It did not taste as bad as I thought, and my colon didn't react in a hasty manner so I got a free pass on this entrée. Though I wouldn't suggest eating this regularly as a source of seafood, if you need a quick pre-made meal, you could definitely do worse.
5. Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Parmigiana
I swear I am following the directions on the box and I have been certified in microwave operation. I'm not sure why the food ends up looking like some reject dish from Chopped.
I sampled this in-store at Trader Joe's and fell in love with the fall flavor. It's butternut squash slices topped with Parmesan cheese and amaretti crunch. This is a fantastic fall dish and, with a pinch of salt, it'll make you feel warm and toasty inside while you continue to study for your 8 am midterm.
6. Trader Joe's Wonton Soup
I don't have an "after" picture of my excellent microwave cooking skills, but if you pour it into a pretty china bowl, I guarantee it will look just like the box. All you have to do is add water up to the line in the provided bowl and heat up for four minutes or so.
Super filling and nourishing. I had to include this one because I continue to purchase it over and over again for a quick meal at work. Two thumbs up for tasty, filling, and light.
7. Trader Joe's Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini
Look at that: it turned out just like the picture. Sorta. I am a firm believer in pasta as the ultimate comfort food, and this quick dish from Trader Joe's does not disappoint. High praise for this frozen dinner. Well made and very comforting.
So what did I learn?
Venture out and try something new if you're desperate for dinner. For the sake a sheer transparency, I must add that this wreaked havoc on my system. Two words: gastrointestinal distress. These meals are okay once in a while, but nothing beats fresh produce and meats, especially for dietary health.
Go forth and conquer your midterms!