by Marianne Plunkert
Overall rating: 3.5 of 5
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
The eDiets Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini entrée was packaged in a 2-compartment plastic tray, with the assembled Panini in one section and the edamame, corn, and barley salad in the other. The dieter is instructed to supply a fruit accompaniment. I elected to have blackberries.
The directions indicated that the meal was to be microwaved on high for 30 to 40 seconds. I added 5 seconds to this time since my microwave oven always seems to require more time than is specified.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini with Edamame, Corn & Barley Salad
My General Impressions
I cut the panini into two pieces before arranging the entrée on my plate. The meal before me was visually appealing, with the blackberries and varied colors in the salad providing a contrast to the neutral color of the panini.
When I peeked inside the sandwich, I saw no visible sign of any bacon. When I tasted it, however, the chicken did have a hint of a bacon flavor. It was nicely seasoned, too, and the overall taste was very good. The chunks of meat were moist and tasted as fresh as if they had just been carved.
There was some type of dressing on a small section of the bread. It didn’t look like ranch dressing, however; it was a clear substance. Regardless, there was so little of it that it didn’t seem to add any flavor to the sandwich.
The sandwich stopped short of being what I would call good, however, because the bread was a bit on the soggy side. I think this was a combination of its having arrived assembled and having been heated in the microwave. If I see a panini on my eDiets food plan in the future, I plan to disassemble the sandwich, pop the bread in the toaster, nuke the remainder of the meal, and reassemble the panini, ignoring any instructions to the contrary.
The salad was delectable. The beans, barley, and golden corn kernels were laced with slivers of red pepper and lightly coated with a yummy and zesty sauce. Each mouthful tantalized the palate with a variety of distinct textures as well.
Only 50 of this entrée’s 230 calories are from fat—slightly less than 22%. It contains 16 grams of protein and 31 grams of carbohydrates, with 3 grams of sugars and a healthy 7 grams of fiber.
The entrée also supplies 10% of the recommended daily doses of Vitamin A, calcium, and iron and 20% of the daily Vitamin C requirement.
The blackberries I provided represented a full serving of fruit. According to the list of ingredients, there was some milk used in the preparation of this entrée, but other than that, there was nothing from the dairy food group, and I doubt that there was a full serving from the vegetable food group in the salad.
I’m giving this meal a rating of 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5. It would have scored at least a 4 if not for the soggy state of the bread. I think this could be avoided if the panini were to be shipped unassembled, and the instructions were to recommend toasting the bread prior to assembling the sandwich.
The chicken pieces were succulent, and I enjoyed every morsel of the salad. And the meal was visually inviting.
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