As much as I love to cook, I also adore convenience foods, especially when they're made from all-natural ingredients. Meals made from boxes and bags take me back to childhood summers, when I considered TV dinners to be a luxury reserved for those precious few weeks when school was out and mom and dad had to work. Having the house to myself and getting to eat food from the microwave was glorious!
But I don't even want to think about what sorts of crazy processed wonders were contained in those tv dinners of my youth. Remember Kid Cuisines? Lived off of those during the summer. Anyway, these days my convenience meals are much healthier. I love Amy's frozen meals and Tasty Bite microwavable pouches. A few weeks ago, Tasty Bite sent me a box of several meals to review. While I'd already tried (and loved) a few of these, some were new to me.
First I tried the Thai Lime Rice as a side dish to some Beyond Meat Thai Chicken Salad from the Whole Foods deli. I used romaine hearts as little raw burrito shells to scoop up the salad and rice.
I was immediately struck by the tenderness of this rice. You'd think something from a bag that takes 90 seconds to warm in the microwave wouldn't have a perfect texture. But on the contrary, this rice had a better texture than rice I make from scratch. It was delicately seasoned with lime, coconut, and lemongrass. And every ingredient in the ingredient list was something real — water, rice, coconut milk, sunflower oil, raw sugar, kaffir lime, the list goes on, and nothing is unpronouncable.
I brought the Kung Pao Asian Noodles to work.
These were also perfect in texture. It's crazy how pasta and rice in a bag can be so amazing. The noodles were spicy, and the Tasty Bite folks were quite generous with the peanuts that flecked the dish. Although it didn't look like much food in the bag, this was actually really filling. It said it made two servings, but it was really enough for one healthy serving.
Next up was the Punjab Eggplant with the Ginger Lentil Rice.
I'd had the eggplant dish before, and it's one of my favorite Tasty Bite entrees. Spicy, tomato-y, onion-y goodness. And dare I say better than some similar dishes that I've had at Indian restaurants. It was a perfect complement to the Ginger Lentil Rice, which was made with long-grain rice tossed with brown lentils and red peppers.
I had the Channa Masala over some leftover brown rice. The chickpeas were perfectly textured, and the sauce had a complex coriander and ginger flavor that could rival many homemade channa masala dishes.
Finally, I tried the Pad Thai Asian Noodles in the most unusual of circumstances. A few weekends ago, when I was at the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find vegan food in the park. So I packed an emergency bag with some energy bars and easy-to-eat snacks. Just in case I needed a heavier meal, I packed my Tasty Bite Pad Thai Noodles.
Although I did end up finding some delicious vegan tacos there, there was one night of the fest that I got hungry for a late-night snack. So I whipped out my Pad Thai Noodles and ate them cold, straight from the pack. They were so good that I had to make crazy eyes!
Since the noodles are pressed into a square before cooking, you can almost eat them like a candy bar when you're on the go. And cold Asian noodles dishes are always a winner! These hit the spot! You could even take these camping or hiking!