by Marianne Plunkert
Overall rating: 4.7 of 5
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
Dinner on Day 3 was Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs and Peas. Pulling the film off the 2-compartment plastic tray, I found 4 reasonably-sized chicken meatballs on about 1/3 cup of whole wheat spaghetti noodles with a small amount of tomato-based sauce in one section and about ½ cup of peas in the other.
The instructions indicated to microwave the meal on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. I nuked mine for 2 minutes and 15 seconds to ensure the meatballs were heated through since the suggested cooking times seem to be inadequate for my microwave.
Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs and Peas
The dieter was also instructed to augment the meal with a non-fat dairy product and a serving of fruit. I saw that low-fat cheese was listed under eDiets’ list of non-fat dairy products, so after heating the meal, I topped my spaghetti and meatballs with low-fat mozzarella cheese and added some juicy red grapes to my plate.
My General Impressions
The meal tasted as good as it looked, with its variety of colors. The chicken meatballs had a bit of zest to them and were remarkably good. I’ve been introduced to turkey meatballs at some point and recall thinking them to be rather bland, so I was pleasantly surprised.
The spaghetti noodles were. . .well, spaghetti noodles. They were properly cooked and had the subtle nutty flavor that is characteristic of whole wheat pasta products. The tomato-based sauce was quite good. It was well-seasoned, and the tomato flavor was not overpowering. Nor was the sauce too sweet, which is a problem I have noted with store-bought pasta sauces. I am always able to tell when someone serves me sauce that came out of a jar.
I have to say, however, that someone on the eDiets staff has to do something about the pea situation. This was my third meal that had a side of peas, and while these were considerably better than the peas served with the Kung Pao Chicken, they still seemed a tad undercooked.
Only about 26% of this meal’s calories are fat calories—70 calories out of a total of 270. The entrée contains 17 grams of protein and a healthy 6 grams of fiber. Sugar is a little high to suit me at 10 grams. Total carbs are 34 grams.
This is a nutrient-rich meal, even when the fruit and dairy products I added aren’t considered. It offers 45% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, 35% of Vitamin C, 6% of calcium, and 5% of iron.
And when the fruit and dairy products I added are taken into account, all the food groups in the food pyramid are represented: starch (pasta), protein (meatballs), dairy (cheese), fruit (grapes), vegetables (peas), and fats (canola oil and olive oil).
I am giving this meal a 4.7 rating on a scale of 1 to 5. Once again, the peas were the culprit that kept this meal from being a perfect “5” in my mind. Everything else tasted fresh and moist and was perfectly seasoned. And the meal had a great visual appeal with the bright green peas, red grapes, and blush-red and off-white spaghetti and meatballs arranged neatly on the plate.