by Marianne Plunkert
Overall rating: 4 of 5
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
Lunch on my first day of the eDiets program was Stuffed Shells, Meat Sauce and Broccoli, accompanied by whatever fruit I chose to supply.
The entree came packaged in a single-compartment plastic tray. It consisted of two large shells, stuffed with a mixture of ricotta, parmesan, and romano cheeses, in a tomato-based beef sauce. A single broccoli floret and a few bits and pieces of stem were off to one side of the container.
I peeled the film back halfway and microwaved the meal on high for 2 minutes, as per the instructions on the package. This seemed to be an adequate amount of time for my microwave. I chose some plump red grapes as my fruit accompaniment.
Stuffed Shells, Meat Sauce, Broccoli
My General Impressions
As was the case with the Huevos Rancheros Scramble I had for breakfast this morning, this meal tasted better than it looked. The meat sauce had spilled over onto the broccoli, which detracted from the vegetable’s fresh, green appearance. The broccoli tasted fresh enough, however, and was cooked just the way I like it—al dente. It also had a delicate flavor to it, in stark contrast to some of the bland broccoli accompaniments I’ve endured with other diet meals.
The sauce was equally delicious. It was laced with just the right amount of Italian seasonings. Ample bits of ground beef were clearly visible, and the texture of the sauce was very good. The shells were generously stuffed with the cheese mixture, and, like the broccoli, were cooked to perfection. I did find the cheese mixture to be a bit too dry for my tastes, however, even when smothered with the meat sauce.
This Stuffed Shells meal has 240 calories, with 60 of those calories—or 25%–from fat. The entrée also contains 11 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbs, with 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of sugar. It is nutrient-rich, offering 60% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C, 25% of Vitamin A, and 10% each of calcium and iron.
I would guesstimate that the cheese mixture equals one serving of dairy, and the grapes I added provided me with a serving of fruit. The broccoli side, combined with the tomatoes used in the meat sauce, probably equals a serving from the vegetable food group.
I rank this Stuffed Shells meal as a “4” on a scale of 1 to 5. Everything tasted fresh, and the flavor was very good. Both the shells and the broccoli were cooked to provide just the right texture, but I thought the cheese filling for the shells was too dry. The appearance of the meal was also lacking. This could be improved if the meal were to be shipped in a 2-compartment container so that the broccoli remains separated from the meat sauce.