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MorningStar Farms Baja Black Bean Pizza

MorningStar Baja Black Bean PizzaAfter I change my diet habits, I stopped eating pizza. Cold turkey. It was all or nothing. I’ve never been able to learn to limit myself to two slices (not the huge slices like at the mall eatery). Sadly, pizza is just a higher calorie food and it doesn’t take much to overdo it before filling up.

Even the healthiest, single serving pizza has a lot of calories for not much food. The MorningStar Baja Black Bean pizza is 380 calories and the equivalent of eating one slice of pizza, maybe a smidge more. Definitely not two slices. It’s about the size of a standard corn tortilla, and those tend to be smaller than fajita-style tortillas. Small, huh?

MorningStar Farms has introduced a pizza line that includes MorningStar Farms Mediterranean Chickpea Pizza and MorningStar Farms Baja Black Bean Pizza. The Baja pizza uses a whole grain crust that’s the thickness of an original pizza (not pan and not thin). Instead of tomato sauce, it has a lightly spicy Baja chile sauce. Toppings include black beans, tomatoes, fire-roasted corn and cheese.

The tiny pizza OK at first, but it grew on me as I continued noshing. However, I don’t plan to buy it again. It’s just not filling for what you get. I’m still debating whether to try the chickpea as I know it won’t feel like a meal and it’s too many calories to be a snack.

Verdict

***

Nutrition facts

Calories: 380
Calories from fat: 100
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 4.5g
Cholesterol: 20mg
Sodium: 420mg
Total carbohydrates: 59g
Dietary fiber: 8g
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 17g

Amy’s Light and Lean Soft Taco Fiesta

Amy's Light & Lean Soft Taco FiestaAmy’s Kitchen created a light and lean product line for customers who prefer to “eat light,” meals that are low in fat and less than 300 calories. They’re made with natural and organic ingredients.Amy’s Light and Lean Soft Taco Fiesta contains a soft corn tortilla with a layer of brown rice, shredded vegetables and sweet corn. It also has a layer of black beans and cheese. Topping off the dish are tomatillo and ranchero sauces.

The description of the dish doesn’t sound like what I ate. To me, it was rice on the bottom of the dish with a little corn and a few pieces of shredded vegetables. The next layer was the soft corn tortilla. On top were the salsa-like sauces. Black bean and cheese layer? Really? Where? I found black beans — but not the cheese or any “layer” as it says. This bland unfiesta meal was more like an appetizer or side dish.

I know … I know … it’s supposed to be light and fewer than 300 calories. Well, it has a whole 80 calories leftover to do something with it. I’ve had other Amy’s Light and Lean dishes that were good. This isn’t it.

Verdict

**

Nutrition facts

Calories: 220
Calories from fat: 40
Total Fat: 4.5g
Saturated Fat: 1.5g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Sodium: 560mg
Total carbohydrates: 40g
Dietary fiber: 6g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 7g

CedarLane Three Layer Enchilada Pie

CedarLane Three Layer Enchilada PieAh, I miss the ol’ days when I used to eat Taco Bell. I remember when the Mexican food franchise had a lite menu and loved those too. But I stay away from Mexican and Tex-Mex food. Sure, I could go for fajitas or a bowl instead of flour and corn tortillas. Skip the chips. Admit it. It’s just not the same.

CedarLane Three Layer Enchilada Pie is made with layers of organic corn tortillas, organic black beans, green chilis and cheddar cheese. Topping the whole enchilada pie is a salsa-type sauce with fresh tomato, fresh cilantro and black olives. Now, how do you have fresh food on a frozen meal? OK, maybe it was fresh when the company baked it. But it sure doesn’t qualify as fresh by the time it’s heated at home.

Oh my goodness! It felt like I was chowing on a real Tex-Mex dish again! Every bite had the right amount of kick like in a typical fast food dish. It had enough cheese for enjoyment without the guilt. Wonderful balance of sauce, filling and toppings. It may not look pretty out of the box, but I wasn’t about to attempt taking it out to put on a plate. That would be a hot mess.

While the dish has higher fat, sodium and carbohydrates than preferred, it’s so worth it. Imagine how high those numbers would be if the same dish had come from a restaurant. Can’t beat a this to fill your Tex- Mex craving.

Verdict

****½

Nutrition facts

Calories: 380
Calories from fat: 130
Total Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 35mg
Sodium: 840mg
Total carbohydrates: 45g
Dietary fiber: 9g
Sugar: 7g
Protein: 20g

CedarLane Baked Stacked Eggplant

CedarLane Baked Stacked EggplantI’m always game to try healthier eggplant dishes. Not the traditional Eggplant Parmesan or Eggplant Parmigiana, which contain a lot of cheese and tend to oily. Some are fried. My husband and I used to eat a wonderful eggplant sandwich with slices of eggplant, tomato and cheese. How I miss that dish overloaded with bread!

I like CedarLane Eggplant Parmesan, but not its Eggplant Mediterranean Moussaka. So how does CedarLane Baked Stacked Eggplant made with pesto and four cheeses fare? The stack has hand-layered breaded eggplant, four cheeses, pesto, roasted red peppers and slow-roasted tomato sauce. Sounds yummy, right?

Not really. It was lacking on the tomato sauce. I think more sauce would’ve boosted the dish. Otherwise, it was a bland mess of ricotta-like cheese between the eggplant layers. Tomato sauce doesn’t add a lot to the calories. It’s easy to make healthier tomato sauce without dumping a lot of bad things into it. I’d rather add a few more calories than have 230 bland calories.

And pesto? Where was the pesto? A bite consisted of bland breaded eggplant and ricotta cheese mix with barely any burst of tomatoes.

Verdict

**½

Nutrition facts

Calories: 230
Total Fat: 10g
Saturated Fat: 4.5g
Cholesterol: 30mg
Sodium: 540mg
Total carbohydrates: 21g
Dietary fiber: 5g
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 14g

Kashi Spicy Black Bean Enchilada

Kashi Spicy Black Bean EnchiladaWhew! Spicy indeed its the side of bulgur and Kashi seven whole grains and sesame pilaf with vegetables that’s the hot stuff. The enchilada rocks the dish with its filling of red skinned potatoes, black beans, roasted red pepper, roasted corn and spinach bundled up in a Kashi seven whole grain corn tortilla.

Nutrition facts: 260 calories, 7g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 600mg sodium, 45mg carbs, 8g fiber, 8g protein, vegetarian.

Verdict
***½

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