Product Review: Lean Cuisine’s New Culinary Collection

by Lauren on January 29, 2013

There once was a time in my life where I did not cook so elaborately as I portray on this blog.  Yes, that’s right, I haven’t always made such extension salad creations, photographed the process, and then wrote up a recipe for my masterpieces.  Are you shocked?

Well, let me paint you a picture.  I was in college, taking a full course load, working a full time job, buying a house, planning a wedding, and trying to salvage some shred of a norman 21 year-old lifestyle.  I don’t think I had time to brush my hair most days, let alone think about cooking dinner.  During this time, I resorted frequently to bowls of cereal and endless amount of coffee.  Albeit not the healthiest approach, but it got me through the rough patch.

Every so often, I would rely on frozen meals as a quick fix; mostly pizzas or mac and cheese, so again, not the healthiest, but it was food and it was something that I didn’t have to worry about.  It’s funny, because now, I hardly ever find myself browsing the frozen food section; however, something that has recently caught my eye is the Lean Cuisine product commercials for a few of their new “Chef Pick” Culinary Collection.

Some of the new flavors sounded so unique and richly inspired that I was definitely intrigued. Chile Lime Chicken, Asparagus Ravioli, Thai-Style Chicken, and Steak Tips Portobello are just a few of the exciting new flavors in this line.

From the website: 

The chefs of our Culinary Roundtable are embracing the bolder colors and tastes of the season, creating recipes with exciting flavors for our Culinary Collection. Taste their daring flavor combinations in our Chef’s Pick creations—chef-inspired dishes that are as inventive as they are delicious.

Seeing as that I’m back at a time in my life when time is limited, I decided it might not be such a bad idea to stash of few of these babies in my freezer for emergencies.  Let’s face it, who wants to turn on the stove after a 12 hour work shift, especially when I’m getting home at 2am?

DailyBuzz Food sent me a few product coupons as part of the Lean Cuisine program to try some of the new products.

I decided to go with the one that was calling to me the most, Chicken Makhani.


I loved that this was one of the few Indian-inspired meals out of the line.  I don’t usually eat Indian fare, but when I have the opportunity, I like to expand my pallet for this type of cuisine.

The nutritional stats were pretty commendable as well, with 19 grams of protein and only 7 grams of fat.  The only discretion I noticed is that the website states 290 calories and the box is claiming 300.  Really, 10 little calories is not that big of a deal to me, but I can see how some people may find that bothersome.

All this takes is 5 minutes in the microwave, and lunch is ready.

Ok, so here are my genuine overall thoughts on this meal:

  • The flavor was good!  Definitely strong tastes of cumin and curry and the rice was a great balance.  I absolutely loved the crunch of the almonds but would have liked to have a little more.
  • The chicken was a little rubbery, but that was to be expected from a frozen meal.
  • The ratio of sauce was a good balance.  I tend to go heavy on sauce so I was pleased that there was just enough to soak up the chicken and rice.
  • The meal is pretty small.  I’m not sure this would suffice for an entire meal on its own, but it could potentially work with additional vegetables, fruit or dairy.

Again, I really did like the sauce and think it made the entire dish.  I probably would never attempt to make an Indian-based sauce on my own, so this was a good excuse to try more of this fare.

Overall, this was a good option for me on a busy day.  I was able to heat this up in minutes and it did keep me full for a few hours.  To be honest, I probably wouldn’t buy Lean Cuisine or any frozen meals on a consistent basis, but it’s nice to know that there are decent and healthy options if the need arises.

I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!


5 thoughts on “Product Review: Lean Cuisine’s New Culinary Collection”

  1. I used to eat lean cusines all the time! It definitely helped me lose some weight when I was in college but the sodium is always so bad! They are easy for a quick meal though!

  2. I don’t think I’ve had a Lean Cuisine since college! It’s good to know they have some tasty options if the need ever arises though. They used to be a weekly staple for me back in my single gal days. The few things I wasn’t always a fan of was the high sodium levels and the rubbery meat (like you said). Other than that, I remember some of those meals being pretty good for a frozen meal!

  3. I honestly really appreciate your honesty in this post. Mostly because I think it can be challenging to balance product reviews sometimes, especially since so often we really probably only want to share things we LOVE so it seems like we always LOVE everything.
    While I’m vegetarian and wouldn’t be able to eat this anyway, I still find it interesting. Do you think the sodium seems a bit high?

  4. I can’t wait to try one of these; all of the new options sound so good! Sure — as others pointed out — the sodium might be on the higher side BUT I wouldn’t use these as my default, everyday meals!

  5. I never really got into frozen meals….no matter how busy I was. PB toast trumps frozen meals for me for some reason!

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