Normally I like to make rice and pasta dishes myself, with my ingredients as opposed to pre-packaged stuff, but every now and then you think maybe someone has actually put together something pre-packaged that can save me a bunch of time, and still give me at least close to the nutrition I am looking for. So I gave Knorr Sides Plus Cheddar Rice With Broccoli And Carrots a try.
I should've known what I was getting into when I bought this rice mix, but I had a coupon begging to be used before expiration. Plus, the label with its promise of "two full servings of veggies per pouch" and the appetizing, full of beautiful carrots and broccoli in the dish and forkful on the packaging made me give it a try. Let's just say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or the magnification of the product packaging.
First, a pouch has two servings per package, so that means if two eat this side dish, each person gets "a" serving of "veggies". Next, there seemed to be a decent amount of carrots, but there were just little broccoli scrapings throughout the package that, to me, it looked like if you actually strained out all the broccoli, it couldn't have amounted to more than a couple of florets for both servings. Not exactly big antioxidant power there.
And yet Knorr pats itself on the back and states on the package "did you know along with carrots, this variety has broccoli which contains folic acid!" Yes broccoli contains folic acid, but first you need to have a decent amount of broccoli in the package to get that benefit.
Well, at least there should be big cheddar taste, right? Wrong. I could barely taste any cheddar and it seemed to taste more like chicken stock. I made this side dish into a main dish when I prepared the rice with some Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips (a vegetarian chicken strip substitute I'll review separately)--that "chicken" was the concoction's saving grace as it gave the dish overall some much needed flavor. You would think with 710 mg of sodium per serving you wouldn't be lacking flavor from this rice, but it was.
Knorr could make this rice a lot better by using brown rice, having more than a couple of floret's worth of broccoli in its product, and actually finding a way to give it some cheddar taste. Other products--in fact, organic ones (which I always prefer)--seem to be able to pull off a good cheddar taste without a ton of fat or calories, so I am not sure why the issue here. Let Knorr know they need to do better at www.letsmakeknorr.com.
I'd rather "not make knorr again dot com". Just as fast is to take a bag of instant brown rice (10 minutes in the microwave), steam lots of shredded carrots and pre-sliced broccoli from the supermarket, organic if possible (yes you pay a premium for pre-cut veggies, but it's so worth it if it keeps you eating healthy), using a steamer or one of the new microwave steaming bags for this purpose. Sprinkle some reduced fat parmesan cheese over the finished combination, and you'll have more taste, fiber and veggies with minimal fat. An easy, healthy makeover!
--Melanie R. Jordan, Author of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too! Available 24/7 at http://www.HealthyEatingCoach.com
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"Healthy eating with favorite comfort foods...it's deliciously possible!"
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Please note that I do not have an affiliation with any of the companies featured in this post--they are simply products I am personally familiar with. The views expressed are my opinion only and you should decide, along with your healthcare professionals, on the appropriateness for your personal use.
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