Product Review: Birds Eye Chef’s Favorites

One of the benefits of being a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher is that from time to time you get opportunities to try new products (ones that aren’t even on the market yet) through their Tastemaker program. In the interest of full disclosure, I did receive the products gratis – despite that, I reviewed the products on their own merits. I was lucky enough to be able to try these products before they were released in stores, but they are widely available in most grocery stores right now.

I tend to shy away from most convenience foods, with steam-in-bag veggies being a notable exception. My diet, in recent months, has been extremely protein-heavy. Although I prefer my produce fresh, seasonal, and local, these bags are a great compromise. So I was extremely excited to receive a box with four bags of Birds Eye Chef’s Favorites – just add a protein entrée to any of them, and you have a complete meal.

I think I was most excited about trying the Primavera Risotto. I love a good risotto, and although there’s really no replicating the real thing, this was a nice compromise – nice and creamy, good herby flavor profile.

Steamfresh Primavera Risotto Packaging

It went beautifully with some pan-sauteed salmon. I’d definitely buy this one again, based on flavor and ease of preparation. Timing was spot-on, too. Both the risotto and the fish were done at around the same time.

Steamfresh Primavera Risotto

I was psyched to see that they had a creamed spinach – spinach has been a favorite vegetable of mine for as long as I can remember, and this preparation was creamy without being overly rich. A nice compromise.

Steamfresh Creamed Spinach packaging

I served this as part of an entire meal along with a pan-sauteed steak and the steamable mushroom risotto.

Steamfresh Creamed Spinach

I have to admit, I wasn’t too crazy about the mushroom risotto, and I’m usually a big fan. I’m not sure if it was a texture thing or a flavor thing, or a combination of both. Maybe I’m too used to the “real” version to accept a substitute. Still, I don’t believe I’ll be buying this one again.

Steamfresh Mushroom & Green Bean Risotto packaging

I did enjoy the addition of green beans to the risotto, which added fresh veggie flavor and a nice crisp texture.

Steamfresh Mushroom & Green Bean Risotto

Which may explain why my favorite of the four was the Roasted Red Potatoes and Green Beans. A lovely creamy garlic sauce lightly coated the “just right” green beans and potato chunks.

Steamfresh Roasted Red Potatoes and Green Beans packaging

This was an absolutely perfect dinner with some sautéed salmon. I actually enjoyed it so much that I’ve had it a few times in the month since I wrote this review.

Steamfresh Roasted Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Overall, I liked these enough that I’ll be purchasing them regularly, especially in the winter when the Ohio growing season is a distant memory.  They seem to be a decent value for the price.

I’m curious to know if you’ve tried these yet. If so, what did you think? What are YOUR favorite convenience foods?

BBQ Ribs from Trader Joe’s

I’ve always been a big Trader Joe’s fan, as a matter of fact it’s my favorite grocery store in Columbus. There are always new things to try, awesome recipes using their ingredients, it’s just one of those places that just send my creativity vibe haywire from a culinary standpoint. If I have one complaint about the place, it’s that they get rid of some of my favorite things to eat (The Emperor’s New Clove, Chicken Tikka Masala, I’m looking at you!) But since the great grill acquisition of 2008, I’ve been looking much more for stuff that I can throw on the grill and whip up in no time flat. Enter in their BBQ ribs.

BBQ Ribs from Trader Joe's

Enough to serve 3 or 4 people, it couldn’t be easier. Just throw them on the grill for about 15 minutes to heat up, and then brush on some of the reserved BBQ sauce. All of the BBQ rib taste without all of the time or work involved. The ultimate convenience food, and no one is the wiser.

What are your favorite Trader Joe products? Or what awesome dishes do you make using all TJ ingredients?