Healthy Choice Café Steamers Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish Review

Healthy Choice Café Steamers Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish

We’ve made great strides in our attempt at forgiving the Healthy Choice brand for the tragedy its food inflicted upon us. For those unfamiliar, we had a Healthy Choice dish start a fire in our microwave — which it turns out wasn’t an isolated incident. There was also a problem with rocks in their meals, though we honestly never experienced that one. It did cause us to approach the brand with added caution, though.

After flat-out refusing to review Healthy Choice meals for a good long while, we have started adding their frozen food to our review rotation again. Nature is healing.

Today, we’re looking into the Healthy Choice Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish, which is part of the Café Steamers line (the Power Bowls are the meals we tend to have flammability problems with, so we should be safe today).

To cook this, simply pop it into the microwave for four and a half minutes. Once you pull it out, you’ll need to dump the contents of the colander into the sauce portion below and give it a good stir. Note that this is standard procedure for the Café Steamers line — the colander thing is pretty much the core gimmick for this line of frozen food. (If you want to read the full instructions straight off the back of the box, check out our package scans at the bottom of this review.)

Healthy Choice Café Steamers Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish

The collander cooking method is designed to keep the main portion of the dish separate from the sauce during the cooking process. While this is definitely a plus in some cases, it doesn’t always improve the quality of the meal. This is a case where the meal isn’t made any better by keeping the sauce separate. This is especially true for the chicken, which we think could have been much better had it been allowed to heat up surrounded by sauce — it could have been richer and softer that was. As is, this chicken is alright, but it has a tendency to be a little harder than it should be, and it can be chalky in the middle. Cooking it in the sauce could have potentially addressed both of these issues.

Then again, that sauce isn’t particularly mind-blowing. It’s decent, we suppose, but it doesn’t inspire cravings. It’s a creamy sauce with a somewhat mushroomy flavor, though it also has a little bit of a plastic taste to it. It’s also too watery for a sauce that’s advertised as being creamy.

And speaking of mushrooms, for a dish that has the word Mushrooms in the title, this is really stingy with the actual mushroom content. The mushrooms — which the package never identifies as anything more than “mushrooms” — are diced into pieces so small that you might mistake them for the rice. When you do get an actual piece of mushroom isolated from the rest of the dish, it seems like it came from a can — and you begin to suspect that the expiration date on that can has long since passed. This stuff tastes weird and feels rubbery. We love mushrooms, so we were looking forward to eating a good mushroom dish. These mushrooms are an insult to fungi everywhere.

The filler here is wild rice as opposed to a white rice or even a grain and rice blend. We think this is definitely the right call — wild rice is perfect for a dish like this. However, this stuff just isn’t good. We hail from Minnesota, where it’s never difficult to find locally grown wild rice, so our wild rice expectations are perhaps a bit elevated. We’re just not used to wild rice that is so plain and uninteresting. Come on, Healthy Choice, what went wrong here? We know that wild rice can be done well in a frozen meal, but this stuff here is a travesty. Wild rice isn’t supposed to be this boring!

This meal only contains 240 calories and 600 mg of sodium. It’s designed to be a diet-friendly meal, and we think it succeeds on that front. Then again, it doesn’t really succeed on any other front, so the low calorie count doesn’t really add anything. You’re better off skipping this meal rather than eating it — after all, 0 calories is better than 240!

The Healthy Choice Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish never lives up to its true potential. While the flavor combo is interesting in concept, the execution here suffers greatly. This is mostly because Healthy Choice chose to use bland, mediocre ingredients, then they added their weird colander cooking method that doesn’t really benefit the meal in any conceivable way. This meal may not have started any fires, but it’s still a hard pass for us.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen meal, check out our package scans below.

Healthy Choice Café Steamers Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish
Healthy Choice Café Steamers Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dish
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