Lean Cuisine, Chicken Ranch Club Flatbread Melt — Diet Food Review

Looking at the freezer that I’ve stocked to the brim with various boxes of “health” branded mystery meals, I happened upon the idea to start writing reviews of the ones that I try in an attempt to add a little more interest to the process of trying to fool my previously food-addicted palate into submitting (quietly) to the low-calorie lifestyle I’ve adopted.  For those who are unfamiliar with my approach to shedding pounds, I haven’t really changed much. I eat what I want, but I keep a scale and a calorie count at hand at all times.  I do my best to cook myself great meals, but the biggest thing that has yet to change about me is this:

I’m really fucking lazy.

Okay, not lazy in general, but when it comes to food? You mean to tell me I have to take the time to make food every day? Cue the diet ready-meals.

In my experience, anything that says “healthy” or “diet” on it that isn’t a fresh piece of produce sucks.  A diet piece of cake cannot exist in a way that’s going to satisfy my confectionary lust in the way I so desperately need.  What’s worse is health nuts trying to pass off bird food as an appropriate replacement for other, more delicious foods.  If you try and tell your brain that a squash tastes exactly like spaghetti, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Learn to appreciate healthier options for what they are, and you’ll have a great time.

Chicken Ranch Club Flatbread Melt

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This idea didn’t occur to me until the thing was half eaten, so I borrowed a picture from Lean Cuisine’s website.  I’m sure they won’t mind, seeing as I don’t get paid for this shit.  

The first thing worth mentioning about this is that I surprisingly didn’t fall victim to the classic marketing technique where the picture on the box is 8 quintillion times more attractive than the real thing.  That picture up there is actually exactly what it looks like, in other words; pretty fucking nice.  It looks more like it came off a panini press or my oven than my microwave.

The bread is a little thicker than the flatbread I’ve had in the past, and it’s got some kind of garlic/herb crusting on the outside which I thought added a much-needed touch of flavor and color.  Unfortunately, as expected, the bread did end up kind of spongey from being in the microwave.  Have you ever made eggs and toast and had the toast be done way before your eggs, so you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds just before eating them so the butter melts? No? Well, it’s like that. Kind of soggy and soft.  It wasn’t terrible, but if you have the time to pop this in the oven for a few minutes instead, I think it would turn out way better.

The description says the filling is a mixture of “white meat chicken, tomato, bacon, and a ranch sauce”. There’s also some kind of cheese in there, but I guess Lean Cuisine decided it got to be the third wheel in this sandwich relationship and wasn’t worth introducing up front.  There’s not much to be said about the chicken.  It’s seemingly grilled and lightly seasoned — a little too lightly for my tastes, but there’s enough else in the sandwich to make up for the lack of spices.  I only encountered a single tiny piece of bacon in the entire sandwich. Luckily, it was on my last bite, so I got to remember it fondly in aftertaste. The sauce didn’t taste very much like ranch dressing to me, but it wasn’t bad.  Very creamy. The flatbread melt didn’t really taste like something I’d consider “diet”. It tasted pretty close to actual food that I’d make at home. Even better, it was actually filling and took up half my plate! It was big for a frozen meal.

Overall, this was one of the better frozen ready meals I’ve had. My only real complaint, again, is with the bread texture, which can probably be fixed by baking it instead.  I still have to dock points for it though, because if you’re marketing a food as microwavable, the result should be just as good microwaved as it would be baked in an oven.

TL;DR Section for you nerds who want to read a blog without actually reading a blog:

PROS

  • Surprisingly large in size + filling; acceptable as a meal
  • Cheese!
  • Tastes like actual food and not food for birds
  • Low in calories (370)

CONS

  • Bread gets spongey in the microwave
  • Singular lonely bacon seeks attractive, tan, greased up, bacon lover
  • High in carbs, if that’s something you care about — I don’t (52g)

FINAL RATING… 8/10

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