Those of you who read the Shameless Consumer know that I have a select set of rules for purchasing food that I generally do not follow. Never microwave anything that wasn’t made specifically for the microwave. Never purchase anything from the first half of the numbered meal selection at fast food places. Never buy any food that is marked more than 50% off and is not on clearance. Never take samples from an unattended station. Do not eat the gas station seafood. And in this case, do not buy food that is already being clearanced out and still carries a “new product” label.
In this case, I found that Lean Cuisine has opened up a new line of meals called “Honestly Good,” so good in fact that every single one of them was on clearance at 50% off at Target. Now that is honesty. The line of products boasts no artificial ingredients, is minimally processed, and contains no preservatives. Our friends over at Food Facts have rated four of the meals, two receiving a D+ and the other two a D- for added sugar and controversial ingredients (soy sauce and natural flavors). On the other hand, they praise the meals for low calories, saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium (for some), and a good source of fiber.
The pineapple black pepper beef contains beef cuts, pineapple black pepper sauce, green and wax beans, orange and yellow carrots, and brown and wild rice with pineapple and slivered almonds. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a fancy meal, but as my high school teacher used to tell me, “that’s not what the library computers are there for. Turn that off and go see the Principal.” I can already tell right off the bat why this product is on clearance: it is way too much work for a frozen meal.
I have to take out the sauce packet, thaw it in a bowl of cold water while I microwave the rest of the meal, and then put the sauce on and microwave it further? Look, Lean Cuisine, I am not a rocket scientist. If I could multitask like that, I would have become a surgeon. And then I would be able to hire people to cook my Lean Cuisine for me, which makes having that skill useless and life meaningless. There is no god, Lean Cuisine, just man and his priorities.
And since I am a rebel at heart, I directly disobeyed the instructions and thawed the sauce packet in a cup of lukewarm water rather than cold. Who thaws stuff in cold water? That might take four minutes, which is one more minute than the three minute cooking time, and one minute where the food is cooling down. I’m sorry, I thought that I lived in America. Joseph McCarthy would be hearing about this, were he not senile and dead.
This is actually a pretty tasty meal. The vegetables are nice and moist, soft but crunchy and nicely complemented by the pineapple sauce. The beef is actually a cut of meat rather than reformed cubes, insert your own joke here, and the rice is soft and complements the rest of the meal. The sauce is heavy on the pineapple side, and I had to add my own pepper to taste. I don’t know what it is about frozen meals, but I’ve found that they are severely lacking in pepper, even when pepper is in the name of the food.
Ultimately, the Lean Cuisine Pineapple Black Pepper Beef was worth the $2 I paid for it. It is certainly better in both quality of food and nutrition than your average Lean Cuisine meal, although the taste is somewhat on the bland side and the dish is as small as you’d expect such a frozen meal to be.
I give Lean Cuisine’s Pineapple Black Pepper Beef a recommendation. You could probably get the ingredients and cook it together yourself at a cheaper price, but if you had thought of that you wouldn’t be buying this product.