With two kids who expect meals and snacks all day every day (seriously, kids and their non-stop eating! shakes fist!), it can seem like you’re offering the same foods over and over and over. And you are. Because some days, as you’re cooking dinner, the little ones decide that no, they can’t wait, they must eat NOW, so you throw together the fastest meal you can so that they can satisfy their insatiable appetites immediately. And then they eat dinner for lunch the next day.
But I digress.
Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods sent me some of its sensible frozen foods to try. The family and I sampled their offerings, from sweet potato pancakes to broccoli pancakes to veggie burgers and chickenless buffalo nuggets. These foods quickly became go-to staples in our house, and we quickly went through all of it.
First, all of the positives. It says on the box “Where you recognize all the ingredients!” And that is true. And awesome. In contrast to many frozen foods, the ingredients lists read like a shopping list. Take the Broccoli Pancakes for example: broccoli, potatoes, onions, egg whites, oat bran, expeller pressed canola oil, arrowroot, salt, garlic, black pepper. Seriously. So not only are the ingredient lists simple and great, but they also manage to keep sodium low, too. Dr. Praeger is a miracle worker. They’re also low-cal: One broccoli pancake comes in at 80 calories, and the California Veggie Burger has 110.
Second of all, the taste. I seriously loved everything I tried. And that’s even considering that I kind of burned some of them. So they even taste good burned! The Sweet Potato Pancakes were some of my faves, but the broccoli was good too, if a little more bland. The California Veggie Burgers were savory and delicious, and the Chickenless Buffalo Nuggets easily took care of a Buffalo wing fix for me, and I liked the taste (My hubby, meat-lover that he is, called them an abomination, mostly because of the lack of chicken in a wing). The veggie burgers won’t fool you into thinking they’re burgers; they’re more veggie patties, and you can see all of the veggies in them. So if you’re looking for a burger-tasting substitute, this isn’t it (although they do have other burger varieties that look like they would fit that bill).
Now, the negatives, if you can call them that. It took a little bit of trial and error for me to figure out the cooking times. Directions call for them to be broiled in the oven, eight minutes for each side until well browned. Well, I got a few of them “well burned” because eight minutes was fine on one side but way too long for side two. I started throwing them in for five minutes on each side and had better results; you could also play with the oven rack to see where it needs to be for best results. The other negative? Microwaving them isn’t ideal. They don’t even include microwaving instructions on the box because it doesn’t do the product justice, and that’s true. Broiled, they’re crispy on the outside and slightly soft inside. But in the microwave, they’re kind of mushy the whole way through, so it’s to your advantage to stick to the oven, even if it takes 10 minutes longer.
Overall though, they’re a hit and such an easy side and addition to a meal that I’ve already looked them up to see if they’re offered at my grocery store. (They are.) The adorable Littles line looks like fun for kids who like their food in fun shapes.
Are you looking for new easy sides like these? Burned anything good lately? —Erin