by Marianne Plunkert
Overall rating: 5.0 of 5.0
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
This luncheon entrée arrived in a single-compartment plastic tray and consisted of about ¾ cup of whole wheat rotini tossed in a creamy-looking sauce and laced with bits of chicken, peas, sun-dried tomatoes, and red peppers. The meal plan called for me to provide a fruit accompaniment, so I plucked a plump, juicy plum from my fruit bowl.
The heating instructions called for the entrée to be cooked in the microwave on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. I cooked mine for 2 minutes 45 seconds to accommodate the lower wattage of my microwave oven.
Cajun Chicken Pasta Alfredo
My General Impressions
Even without the addition of my red plum to the plate, this meal had a good visual appeal, with the green peas and red peppers and tomato bits peeking through the tan-colored pasta. It was good tasting as well.
The Alfredo sauce was delightfully cheesy and creamy. The whole wheat pasta was perfectly cooked al dente and provided a slightly nutty flavor to the dish. The bits of chicken were moist and tender, and the peas were crisp/tender and added a tongue-pleasing texture.
Given that this meal is “Cajun style,” I had expected it to be significantly spicier than it was. That wouldn’t have bothered me since I like spicy foods. In actuality, this dish was very delicately spiced. It had enough piquancy to keep it from being bland, but I doubt that it would be enough to cause even the most sensitive palates to eschew it. Regardless, I considered it to be delicious.
As cheesy as it seemed, I was surprised to discover that only 40 calories of this entrée’s total 220 are from fat—just slightly more than 18%. Protein weighs in at 14 grams, and there are 32 grams of carbohydrates. This is higher than I prefer, but it does contain a healthy 4 grams of dietary fiber and a relatively low 5 grams of sugars.
It is also fairly rich in nutrients. It supplies 15% of the recommended average daily doses of both Vitamin A and Vitamin C and 10% of the calcium and iron requirements.
The cheeses and milk used in the sauce provide something from the dairy section of the food pyramid; the chicken provides some protein, the pasta a starch, and the peas, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes a vegetable, although I would wager there is not a full serving of any of these food groups in the meal. The plum I supplied did provide me with a full serving of fruit.
On a scale of 1 to 5, this luncheon entrée scores a “5” with me. All the individual ingredients tasted fresh and were cooked to provide a pleasing combination of textures to the meal. The Alfredo sauce was rich and creamy and was cheesier than most Alfredo sauces I’ve tasted.
The seasoning used was not one of the spicier Cajun-style blends; it was milder than I had expected. But it gave this entrée the perfect amount of punch.