A scan of my other articles in this issue shows I'm not always obsessed with healthy eating. A scan of my pants shows maybe I should be.
A scan of my other articles in this issue shows I'm not always obsessed with healthy eating. A scan of my pants shows maybe I should be. But it's really hard, isn't it? I mean the only way to completely control what goes into your pesky mouth is to prepare every damn single meal yourself. I realize that isn't happening for me, and I'm sure it's also impractical for busy readers who don't have the time or inclination to be continuously shopping and cooking - especially when it's just going to be dinner for one and of course cost can be a big concern too. This got me thinking about convenience foods and their reputations for being about as healthy as a gob of deep-fried salt pork. Anyway, perusing the cryo-aisles of my nearby mega-grocer, I noticed an ever-popular winter-warming dinner next to a potentially much healthier replacement.
What I tried: Stouffer's White Meat Chicken Pot Pie and Blake's All-Natural Chicken Pot Pie
Frozen oldie: I chose Stouffer's because it's like the Cadillac of frozen foods - a good-selling company, long-known for producing higher-quality products. I also chose Stouffer's because it's got room for improvement - its single-serving chicken pot pie clocked in at 37 grams of fat (14 from saturated fat) and a whopping 1060 milligrams of sodium to go with its 660 calories. Naturally - or rather unnaturally - its rambling list of dozens of ingredients read like science fiction.
A healthy Blake-over: Blake's is an interesting company that proudly and properly touts its farmy origins and organic ingredients. Reading its box was refreshing - a short list of natural and organic things made into a pie with only 370 calories, 17 grams of fat and a sane 380 milligrams of sodium.
The crust: Stouffer's prettily browned, flaky and rich-tasting complete pie crust outscored Blake's top-cap-only layer of crust.
The sauce: Blake's won for its relatively light and very decent chicken-gravy-like character, though Stouffer's rich, creamy, salty and faintly oniony sauce didn't stink.
The solids: Blake's took the award for big pieces of clean-tasting real chicken (Stouffer's was blander and stringier) and Blake's veggies were also much better-textured - not borderline mushy like Stouffer's.
The verdict: While both of these were actually quite good, the Stouffer's simply isn't worth the bad-health splurge. So go with Blake's - it's like a guilt-free return to your childhood "the babysitter's cooking tonight" days.