Hormel Turkey Chili Review

Hi again everybody. Today is my Hormel Turkey Chili review. I was at work and needed something for lunch, so I went to the grocery store near my job and looked over the frozen foods section, soups, and so forth. Hormel’s turkey chili caught my eye. It was going for $2.99, which is pretty reasonable for lunch. I looked at the nutritional information, and liked the total fat and saturated fat amounts, which were ten percent and ten percent, respectively. I also really liked the amount of protein and especially the amount of daily fiber, which I’m always trying to find in boxed or pre-packaged items. This chili, loaded with beans, has forty-eight percent of your daily requirement. The only drawback is the daily sodium, which comes in at a pretty crazy one hundred-and four percent of your daily requirement. That’s way too much! Based on that alone, I knew I couldn’t get this for lunch very often. A picture of the chili is below. I poured it into a big paper cup and microwaved it for one minute, which heated it nicely.

Hormel Chili Cup


The chili was very tasty. Maybe not as good as my own homemade turkey chili, but the beans and ground turkey meat offset each other nicely, and there were no onions or things I don’t like. The only drawback was that it was a little bit salty…how could it not be, with that much sodium? It made me thirsty.

So, do I recommend this product? Although I liked the taste, cost, and the total and saturated fat and fiber contents, I can’t really give it a thumbs up, just because of the massive sodium amount this packs in every can. More than one hundred percent of the daily recommended amount is way too much. Hormel, if any of your people are reading this, you need to find a way to reduce the salt in this product, if you want me to buy it regularly. I understand some is needed for a preservative, but there should never be this much. That’s it for now folks. See you next week.

Grand Sichuan House Review

Hi everyone. This week is my Grand Sichuan House review. Grand Sichuan House is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and some people hold this hole-in-the-wall establishment up as being worthy competition for some of the other Chinese spots around the five boroughs as well. It’s located at 8701 5th Avenue, accessible via the 86th Street stop on the R train. I think part of the appeal is how massive the menu is. There’s more stuff on there than you could try in any ten visits, even for someone like me who disdains vegetables. The other key selling point for this spot is simply this: the food is delicious. I’ve never had anything at Grand Sichuan that I didn’t like, and there are several dishes that I think are really a cut above some of the other Chinese places I’ve tried in this area. I normally get delivery from Grand Sichuan. I’ve eaten there twice, but both times I felt a little out of place; on one occasion I and the rest of my party were the only Caucasians in the establishment, and we were subjected to some sort of Asian game show playing at a high volume on the TV set behind us for most of our meal, drowning out all attempts at conversation. For this review, I got delivery, and tried the following dishes: the dan dan noodles, which is the featured picture for this week, and also the soup dumplings and the boneless spareribs. Megan tried the lamb with cumin and the shredded pork in garlic sauce.

I’ve tried the lamb with cumin, and it’s very tasty, with a fiery kick to it (several of Grand Sichuan’s dishes are very hot. When they say hot, they’re not messing around). Megan enjoyed it, and also the shredded pork. I’d gotten the dan dan noodles before, at a cost of $3.95. Basically, it’s a small bowl of spaghetti-like noodles doused in hot, mouth-watering chili oil with some spinach leaves on top and a garnish of shredded pork bits. I discarded the spinach easily enough, leaving me with the noodles, pork, and chili oil. This was another one of those sinus-clearing situations. My tongue tingled as I slurped up the noodles, and it was every bit as good as I remembered from the previous times I’d gotten it.Next up were the soup dumplings, at $6.00. They’re pictured below.

Soup Dumplings

As you can see, they come eight to an order, with a bowl of sauce that tastes of soy and ginger. You can dip them in the sauce, but they’re actually just fine on their own. The thin membrane of noodle contains a dollop of minced pork and a rich, savory gulp of broth. Each one of these is basically bite-sized, and they filled me up nicely combined with the dan dan noodle. The two appetizers together made quite a satisfying meal after a long day at work. I took the boneless spare ribs to work with me the following day, along with some white rice. They cost me $5.75, and they’re pictured below.

Boneless Spareribs

Boneless ribs is something that most Chinese places have, and they’re hard to mess up, but just because they’re not unique to Grand Sichuan, that didn’t make them any less tasty. Spare ribs are pretty unhealthy for you, but it’s not something that I eat with any regularity, so I allowed myself the treat, and was glad I did. Man, they were delicious, tasting smoky and sweet with the sauce in which they were braised. With apologies to all the vegans out there, if eating pork is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

So, overall, I highly recommend Grand Sichuan. I’d be more inclined to direct you toward getting takeout or delivery rather than dining in, and I’d cheerfully recommend any of the dishes I mentioned. The thing is, though, with such a huge menu, with Grand Sichuan you can probably go here ten times and try something different each time, and I doubt you’d get anything of less than excellent quality. The only reason I’m more inclined to go to Win Hing, the other Bay Ridge establishment that I reviewed a few weeks ago, over Grand Sichuan is because of the free order of General Tso’s or Sesame chicken that you get from Win Hing with every thirty dollar order. Grand Sichuan has no such deal, so if I’m feeling the budget crunch, as I often am, Win Hing gets my vote. By try Grand Sichuan, by all means. They have something for vegetarians, omnivores, or meat-and-starch guys like myself, and the quality is really top notch.

Smart Ones Thin Crust Cheese Pizza Review

Hi true believers. This week is my Smart Ones Thin Crust Cheese Pizza review. Smart Ones is a pretty good line of frozen dinners and snacks. I like their turkey medallions with mashed potatoes dinner, which I take to work sometimes, and they also have some pizza variations that are appealing to me with my dietary preferences. The Thin Crust Cheese Pizza is described as “a blend of reduced fat cheeses with a tangy pizza sauce on a crispy-thin crust,” and it delivers on that assertion. I bought this at the corner grocery store here in my neighborhood, for the cost of $3.49. The slice of pizza is pictured below, uncooked.

Smart Ones Uncooked

The nutrition information I always look for, of course, is how high are the total and saturated fat contents of any given entrée, as well as sodium content and dietary fiber. In this case, the pizza is nine percent total recommended daily fat, fourteen percent saturated fat, and sodium is seventeen percent. All of those numbers are pretty good, right in the wheelhouse of what I’m looking for, health-wise. It also has seventeen percent dietary fiber, which I appreciate, since I’ve been on a mission to incorporate more fiber into my diet. So this was all encouraging to me before I actually took a bite. About two-and-a-half minutes in the microwave was sufficient to melt the cheese. A picture of the pizza, hot and ready, is below.

Smart Ones Cooked

So, how is it? Well, it was pretty tasty, but I have to qualify that…it was as tasty as you’re going to get from a frozen pizza that’s been nuked in a microwave. Look, with these mini-meals, the quality is probably not going to be as great as a fresh hot slice from your local pizza spot, but this was perfectly acceptable…the crust is thin but crispy, and the cheeses, even though they’re low in fat, were savory, melty and gooey. I would have maybe wanted a little more sauce, since I felt like it was a bit dry. The only other objectionable thing to me was that the slice stuck to the silver tray underneath it, so as I was trying to lift it, some of the crust on the bottom came off. Still, that’s a minor quibble, and overall, I was pleased with this selection, and would make it again. The nutrition was what I like to look for, the price was reasonable, and I was able to enjoy it on the go while at work. All of that adds up a worthy addition to my proverbial lunchbox! More next week, everybody.


Rana Ravioli Review

This week is my Rana Ravioli review, which is some very fine alliteration. Try saying that three times fast! As an admittedly picky eater, it can be challenging for me sometimes to come up with new entrees, side dishes, and snacks to supplement my diet. I have my go-to things that I like, both those that I cook and those that I buy pre-packaged. I try not to eat as many of the ready-made items as I get older, because they usually contain preservatives that aren’t so good for you. I try to strike a happy medium between natural food stuffs like dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, etc, along with microwaveable dinners and things of that nature that I take to work. But sometimes as I’m going through the grocery store I come across an item that seems to fit the qualifications of what I’m looking for in terms of dietary requirements (meaning an acceptable level of total fat, saturated fat, and sodium), and also looks like something that I’d find tasty. I spotted Rana Ravioli the other day at a grocery store near my work in the Flatiron District. The kind I tried is the chicken and rosemary flavor, which is described as “chicken breast and rosemary wrapped in thin pasta.” A picture is below.


Rana Ravioli

The cost of this item was $5.59, and you get twelve ounces in a refrigerated bag. That’s a bit expensive, because if you have a good sized appetite like mine, that’s probably going to equal out to approximately two servings. Still, I felt like it was time for something new, so I gave it a try. The preparation at home was very quick and easy. I boiled a small pot of water and cooked the ravioli for about six minutes. Then I added some Contadina Pizza Squeeze, about a third of a bottle, giving the ravioli a tomato sauce flavor. I think it would have been good tossed with just a little olive oil as well.

So how was it? I thought it was pretty tasty. The chicken and rosemary mixture inside each pasta pocket was savory and smooth, and there were no onions or other vegetables that I detest. Ultimately, there were two problems with this product, which might not prohibit me from ever getting it again, but will probably make this an occasional buy for me rather than a regular one. The first is the price, which, as I already mentioned, I think is a little high. The other is that according to the bag you get three-and-a-half servings at seventeen percent total fat for the day, twenty-three percent saturated fat, and twenty percent sodium. That’s a bit higher than I’d like any of those three things to be, particularly since the idea of you getting three-and-a-half servings out of this bag is ludicrous. I’d eat half a bag at one sitting, meaning that I’m actually ingesting approximately thirty-something percent of my daily recommended total fat and forty-something percent of my daily recommended saturated fat, along with about forty percent of my daily sodium. And this is for a fairly small, if enjoyable, bowl of pasta. None of those numbers are bad enough for me to completely shun this product, but, as a health-minded person, it’s not great either. Do I recommend Rana Ravioli? I would say yes, with the qualification that it not be an everyday meal. See you next time, everybody, and good eating!