Tidbits: Frozen salads?

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN
  • Star Tribune
  • January 23, 2013 - 4:19 PM

Salad days

New from Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine brand, a new kind of frozen meal: salads. Actually, the Salad Additions are ingredients with which to make a meal-type salad out of whatever greens you furnish separately. All four feature “grilled white-meat chicken,” vegetables, dressing and a crunchy topping. They are:

Asian-Style Chicken (chicken, edamame, pineapple, broccoli and yellow and orange carrots, with sesame ginger vinaigrette and crisp noodles); Bistro Chicken (chicken, asparagus, yellow carrots and red peppers, with “sweet & tangy vinaigrette with bacon” and crisp onion straws); Cranberry & Chicken (chicken, dried cranberries, broccoli, red onions, yellow carrots and “a blend of whole grains,” with raspberry cabernet vinaigrette and sesame sticks), and Southwest-Style Chicken (chicken, black beans, corn, roasted red peppers and poblano peppers, with chipotle ranch dressing and crisp tortilla strips).

Salad Additions makes the fifth category in a rearranged and renamed Lean Cuisine lineup that appeared in 2012. When Mr. Tidbit last stepped back for an overall view of Lean Cuisine (admittedly, it was 10 years ago), there were these categories: Cafe Classics, Everyday Favorites, Family Style Favorites, Hearty Portions Meals and Skillet Sensations. The total number of offerings was a stunning 92.

Those categories are gone now, as are Comfort Classics, Casual Eating Classics and whatever else appeared in the meantime. The current lineup is Culinary Collection, Spa Collection, Market Collection (in bags), Simple Favorites and Salad Additions, for an even more stunning total of 132.

(Most if not all of the individual Lean Cuisine offerings survived that rearrangement, merely changing category labels.)

At several supermarkets (both online and linoleum-floored), the Simple Favorites are all offered at one price — at one store it’s $2.79, at another $2.04 — and the dishes in the various “Collections” bring much higher prices — around a dollar higher. Salad Additions fall into that dollar-higher grouping — plus the cost of whatever greens you furnish.

Nothing makes you provide any greens, of course: They are four chicken entrees. But while the other Lean Cuisine offerings typically weigh some 8 or 9 ounces, the Salad Additions clock in at just over 7 ounces.

Al Sicherman

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