When I started this blog a few months ago, my intention was to just write reviews about instant noodles. I really love ramen and I think it has an undeserved reputation as being unhealthy. The thing is, I love a lot of different foods, and I love experimenting with new foods. I also love to write, and I especially love to write about food. So, I think it was a mistake to limit myself to just one category. There will still be ramen reviews, of course, since I still love ramen, but there will be a wide range of other things as well. I guess that makes the blog name sort of a misnomer, but I am okay with that.
Anyway, today I am trying one of these shelf-stable Compleats meals from Hormel; I like the idea of a convenience lunch that doesn't need to be kept frozen (one of the many reasons I like ramen for lunch, too). At first, the idea of 'fresh' chicken in a shelf-stable product felt a bit odd, but then I reasoned that if the same stuff were in a can instead of a vacuum-sealed plastic dish no-one would give it a second thought.
Because we are heating from room temperature, preparation is very quick, too; we cut a few vent holes in the film with a sharp knife, and then microwave for 90 seconds. The film is a bit stubborn but I finally do get it peeled off, then after a quick stir just to make sure everything is mixed around well, I am ready to try it!
The pasta is a bit soft, but not bad considering this is pretty much a canned pasta product. I was surprised that the chicken had a nice firm texture and grain, though; it seemed like pieces of actual chicken meat instead of the chopped-and-formed stuff. The sauce has a nicely rich and creamy flavor, but it seems a little bit thin to me--a little too thick to call it a soup, but not thick enough to cling properly to the pasta and chicken. I resorted to dipping my crackers in it to keep from wasting most of it; otherwise I think much of the sauce would have probably gotten left in the bottom of the bowl, even if I had been eating with a fork rather than my chopsticks. Everything here is pretty well bite-size, though, so eating the whole meal with a spoon would certainly be an option.
Despite my slight dissatisfaction with the thickness of the sauce, though, this was a very pleasant meal, and I thought the portion size was reasonable for a lunch product. It's nice to have another non-frozen option for a quick lunch! I would have this again, and I will certainly be trying some of the other Compleats meals as well. :)