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Dec 17, 2010

Frozen Friday: Marie Callender's - Penne Chicken Piccata

Marie Callender's Penne Chicken Piccata uses a nifty double container to steam the pasta and chicken while the sauce cooks separately which I assume keeps the pasta from getting too soggy. It features a frozen meal of penne pasta, a white wine lemon butter sauce, strips of white meat chicken, spinach, Parmesan cheese, and capers. These retail for about $3.40.

They're also called "Pasta Al Dente" meals though apparently not on the package that I got.

I have to say, I didn't think there was an easier way to make decent pasta than Pasta Roni but these new steamer dishes are actually exactly that. You just pop in the microwave for the allotted time, it's self-venting so you don't even need to poke holes; a true lazy person's (i.e. me) meal.
As you can see, there's a plastic steamer basket above a bigger plastic bowl so that the pasta and chicken are steamed rather than braised/boiled in the sauce. After you take it out of the microwave, you just dump it into the sauce below, like so:
You can also dump some of the sauce out before mixing in case you think it's too much or are cutting back on calories.

I wouldn't say the pasta was al dente but it wasn't as soft as typical microwave pasta as. The chicken was seasoned and you actually got a surprisingly fair amount. The Parmesan cheese just kinda melted over the pasta. It would be better if they just put in a separate pack of Parmesan to sprinkle over after cooking but then again, it would require more effort to prepare.
The spinach provided mostly color and no real flavor, but I'm sure there's some nutrients there! The capers was also a bit the same; they didn't have the sour "pop!" that capers often add to pasta dishes.

Nitpicks aside, Marie Callender's Penne Chicken Piccata was still a pretty good, and very easy to make pasta dish. The sauce wasn't that buttery or lemony but still imparted a nice flavor.

Nutritional Info - Marie Callender's Penne Chicken Piccata frozen meal (283g)
Calories - 370 (from Fat - 130)
Fat - 14g (Saturated Fat - 4.5g)
Sodium - 860mg
Carbs - 39g (Sugar - 2g)
Protein - 21g


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