Frozen Lunch Review: Lean Cuisine Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Yup - back again with my packed lunch. Up today is the Lean Cuisine Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce from their Culinary Collection line. I've been eating a lot of Lean Cuisine's because of their new Delicious Rewards program. There's a code on the inside of the box and if you enter 25 codes by March 31 - you get a free lunch bag!  I'm up to 7 - only 18 more to go!

 My tummy was drawn to this one - not by the springs of basil (really?) but mainly by the chicken, pasta, creamy sauce and vegetables.

And I have to say - the box photo is a pretty good representation of the actual food! Nice job! 

Here are my notes:
  • Flavor - once I added salt, it's really tasty. I think this has a little much black pepper - I'm not a fan. The vegetables are crunchy and the pasta is cooked well. I don't taste much basil and the sauce is fairly bland.
  • Meat - Chicken is good but a little "processed" tasting - like the texture of chicken nugget meat
  • Time - directions say 5 minutes - I cooked it for 4 and it's good (it was one of those 3 min - then stir and go 2 more - I was too hungry to stir and wait) 
  • Cooking - Excellent - no issues! 
  • Cost - $2.75 no coupons this week :-( for LC
  • Nutrition - 230 calories, 6 grams fat (w00t!)
  • Allergens - milk, wheat, egg
  • Fullness Factor - my side item today is a Jello Temptation - Double Chocolate Pie - mm mm good! 

So again - I'll give this a thumbs up! I think I would definitely buy this one again.


  1. you could save even more money and eat healthier if you just cooked yourself! just a thought...

  2. I could - if I didn't need sleep!

  3. touche...but i encourage you to check out some simple recipes that you could spend a bit of time on, then just portion and freeze them yourself! i've even seen that you can buy "tv dinner" type trays for this purpose.

    one of my go to's for packing lunches/dinners are soups.

    everybody has got to have a bit of down time on the weekends or days off, i encourage you to try one pot meals that you can just let sit and cook themselves while you are doing other things around the house and then you will have a weeks worth of meals made ahead!

  4. What is the sodium content? I ask because you always mention that they need salt, and sometimes with frozen meals I agree, but I think there is already a butt-ton of salt in there. I've never tried this kind, maybe they try to cut down on the sodium by adding basil? Now, what if they made a shrimp toast version LOL!!!!!!

  5. I totally agree with the previous comment. It's hard to see a food blogger recommending Lean Cuisine. They're bland, expensive, and unhealthy.

    It's not that hard to set an hour or so aside on Sunday to roast several chicken breasts and different kinds of vegetables (all on the same baking tray), and boil a saucepan of pasta or rice. You can throw it all in a container the night before with a small container of vinaigrette or salad dressing and have a really healthy lunch that will be super cheap and super healthy.

    If that doesn't sound appealing and you're still going to eat frozen meals (I am having a really hard time understanding why someone who "loves" food would even entertain eating 25 Lean Cuisines, let alone 1 before March) – please don't add salt. Those packages have ridiculously dangerous sodium levels.

  6. To my critics - hey - I'm busy and while I would much rather have Jean Roberts for lunch every day - my budget won't allow for it. And while yes - I'd also love to cook and bring leftovers - but my schedule doesn't allow much for that either.

    I do my best and make dinner at home quite often - but my husband eats too and a lot of time we don't even have leftovers.

    Re: salt - I always taste them before I add salt...

  7. And I love how all the folks full of criticism are anonymous...suck it up and put your actual name!

  8. I've been reading your blog for awhile now, but your negative response to people's healthy suggestions has turned me off from coming back. Frozen dinners are my guilty pleasure too, but people have a point- you're a food blogger; I'd expect more appreciation of at least fresh, if not healthier, ingredients.

  9. Kiran - sorry you're not coming back. I do appreciate you signing your name.

    And re: all this - I do write a food blog but I also have a really busy job and have a hard time making time to cook. Taking frozen dinners a few days a week is realistic in my life and I think being realistic is one constant on my blog. I eat fast food, I eat at chains, I eat lean cuisines - but I also like fancy and fresh and lots of other things.

    Hope lots of you will continue to come back and enjoy dining and life with me!


  10. my name is Samantha, not that it makes a difference. a name is just a name, and if the anonymous comments were positive ones you wouldn't have a problem with them being unsigned.

    we are not saying that you should be eating out at JR's everyday, and it you somehow interpreted that, you need to read our comments a bit more closely. you are being encouraged to be more proactive in regards to your health and money.

  11. My name is Billy, but you can call me Tom. I don't see anything wrong with reviewing crap like frozen meals. Fact is, people eat them. Lots of people. More people than go to the gastropubs that pop up every two seconds in otr. But I also don't see a problem with the reviewer pointing out that ultimately, they are not good for you. And I don't have a problem with commenters pointing it out if the blogger doesn't. I'd rather read the hussy talking about a frozen lean cuisine than all of these other food blogs who do nothing but review the same restaurants at the same time and say all of the same things. Rock on with yo bad self, Hussmeister. At least you are keeping it real.

  12. Geez, people! I wont get involved in all the nonsense about whether Heather should eat healthier or not but last time I checked this is a voluntary site. You can stop visiting without bashing her. I am a vegetarian and have eaten a 99% raw diet for over 6 years now but I still enjoy her insight and when I stop enjoying it, I will simply not come back! Keep up the great work Heather! A working woman's gotta do what she can do!

  13. I am unconcerned with all the hoo-hah about whether or not one should eat or review Lean Cuisines, but let me tell you that a lot of people do eat them and like to read reviews. But I am here (anonymously because otherwise it'll link you to my horrible blog) to say I am so sad about this particular dinner because it supplanted a favorite LC of mine, Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce. "But this is chicken with Basil Cream Sauce!" you say? Nope, this is the second dish to go by that name. The original had two pieces of chicken with angel hair pasta with peppers, all ensconced in a lot of very basily creamy sauce. It was really yummy, and unlike most other LCs in flavor and composition. This new one is okay, but it's mostly cheese tortellini, and the sauce is pretty much just a cream sauce, not a basil one. I wish LC would bring back the first one, and just rename this one. I suggest "Cheese Tortellini with Chicken."