Lame, right? That’s why I was so glad to see a box full of organic, gluten-free meals arrive from Organic Bistro and Helen’s Kitchen: I wouldn’t have to think about food for a couple of days (who am I kidding? I always think about food). Since it happened to be lunchtime when the delivery truck came, I began my not-thinking-about-food immediately and popped one in the microwave.
Now, I rarely buy frozen meals. They’re rarely enticing enough. But these looked pretty tasty – I’m a sucker for all things Thai and Mexican – and neither the ingredient lists nor nutrition facts scared me.
I should first mention that Organic Bistro and Helen’s Kitchen seem to have every badge on the guilt-free Girl Scout sash: boxes printed with soy ink, organic ingredients, sustainable seafood, whole grains full of fiber….
Despite or because of this pedigree, all the meals tasted good. None of them tasted good in that scary, MSG-laden way where you just. can’t. stop. eating. They just tasted like food that has a flavor, and the flavor happened to be one I enjoyed.
Of the meals I tried – all were in the Mexican or Thai families, although the company makes other products – the Helen’s Veggie Fajita Bowl and Fiesta Black Bean Bowl and Organic Bistro’s Yellow Chicken Curry. Each had a nice mix of frozen vegetables, there was a respectable amount of chicken in the curry, and each also had a nice, flavorful sauce that was plentiful enough to coat both the veggies and the starch.
A word about the starch: it was really nice to see quinoa in a frozen meal. As you know if you’ve ever had it, it doesn’t have a ton of taste – I don’t know if I would have known it was mixed in with the rice if I couldn’t see it – but it’s such a healthy food and it was a welcome addition to my belly. To the best of my knowledge, Organic Bistro and Helen’s Kitchen are the only brands to use quinoa like this, so kudos to them.
None of the meals I tried was bad, and I’d feel comfortable recommending them to a friend or feeding them to my imaginary children (who would come home from imaginary soccer practice too famished to wait for dinner).
One thing I will say, and this could be a benefit or a negative depending on your palate, is that none of the meals were spicy. Not even a little. I keep Sriracha and a favorite chipotle hot sauce in my fridge at all times, and I used them here (obviously not together) and had myself a nice little time.
When the week wound down, I found that I still had bills to pay, was still unable to see the future, and somehow not yet a supermodel living in a model home.
But: I wasn’t hungry, and that’s no small accomplishment.