Trader Joe’s Chicken Piccata and Penne Rigate & Broccoli

 A few years ago, I started seeing these fully prepared meals start to pop up in the fridge section (not the freezer) in the store. Next to the meats and sandwiches. This was one of the first I remember and thinking that’s a great idea. A full blown meal ready to pop in the microwave. Where was this stuff when I was a bachelor!

Stepping back for a second, this is why I like Trader’s so much. Their food is whole ingredients. No fillers or fake stuff. You can pretty much understand what is on the label on the back of the package. This meal is no different and when I read it I was like WOW this is all the stuff I use to make the same exact meal. In fact this is something I used to make all the time (before the kids came along) from scratch and my wife loves the way I make it. So when I saw this, I was like, Yah! one less favorite that I have to cook!

This meal is supposed to feed to people. 20oz of food is a lot, unless you are going to Claim Jumper or someplace where they have enormous portions. But if you split it up between 2 people, 10ox is hardly enough to feed a person. So you might have to supplement the meal with a salad or another side dish. I could probably eat a whole one myself when I’m really hungry!

On the right is a picture of what it looks like out of the box. To prepare you just take it out of the cardboard sleeve and pull up a corner of the clear plastic and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes until it’s hot. There is an oven heating method, but I was short on time so I opted for the microwave this time. It’s best to heat it for a while, then pull it out and stir it up.

When I took it out for the last time, it smelled great. I popped a piece of broccoli in my mouth and it was covered with the sauce and it was perfectly cooked and the sauce went well with the broccoli. Then I had some penne pasta and it too was cooked just right and was covered with that tasty sauce. Then on to the chicken. Hmm… it’s whole breast meat, which I appreciate. It’s breaded which doesn’t always work well in a microwave and covered in plastic because it just means that the breading just steams and turns into mush. Things were not different here. The chicken was cooked properly. The breading was a  pile of mush. It tasted OK, but I hate mushy breading on anything. BTW, it didn’t look anything like the picture above and as you can see in the 2nd picture here, there was a slight browning to the breading before I cooked it but not that fabulous looking piece of chicken on the cover. This might be a case where cooking in the oven might be better.

All in all, I enjoyed it. Everything else was good except the breading on the chicken, which means I need to mark it down for that. I like the flavors enough that I might buy it again and experiment with alternative ways of cooking it.

I’m going to rate this one 7 Bells!

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