As part of Foodbuzz, I get emails now and then asking if I'd like to receive a sample of food from a company, try it and blog about it. One of the companies I signed up for is Bird's Eye. If that doesn't sound familiar to you, it should. Probably up to half of the frozen vegetables and steamed sides you see in your grocery store freezer come directly or indirectly from them.

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The sides were of the Lightly Sauced variety: Creamed Spinach (90 cals/2.5 servings per bag), Green Beans and Potatoes in Garlic Parmesan, Primavera Risotto and Mushroom and Green Beans Risotto. I was pretty excited but kind of figured they'd want to see something a little more than just using them as a side.

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I had just recently had a meal of sushi with my dad and so, not being in the mood for rice, I chose to use the potato and the spinach packages.

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I got the packages right before I headed to the gym so I had plenty of time to figure out what to do with frozen sides and came up with this: Bird's Eye Creamed Spinach (with turkey bacon) on top of Cauliflower Pizza.

Pretty simple, folks. I used the Cauliflower Pizza Recipe (though I used 3 servings of fat free cheddar and 2 servings of reduced fat Weight Watchers Mexican Cheese blend (this stuff is so good!). Also I think it took longer to bake this time, and I broiled it for longer too!

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While the crust was cooking I microwaved the Lightly Sauced Cream Spinach according to the package instructions (5 minutes? 4?) and set it aside to taste. Pretty good, guys at Bird's Eye! Still I added just a bit of salt, a bit of pepper and some garlic powder. Sorry for the picture, but I challenge you to show me an appealing picture of creamed spinach! At least the paisley bowl is pretty =)

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I did decide at the last minute to microwave 3 slices of extra lean turkey bacon (at 25cals/2 slices!) and chop it up into the spinach. Bacon makes EVERYTHING better!

I stirred it all together and tasted again. Mmmm......

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Since the pizza crust took a little longer than I thought it would, I also decided to microwave the Lightly Sauced Potatoes and Green Beans with Olive Oil and Parmesan Sauce to serve as a side. I would have loved to do something fun with this too, but it's one of those sides that just does best as a side.

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All together, these 2 slices of "pizza" came out to 210 cals (70 cals/slice + 72 cals or so for 1/3 of the spinach packet) and the side of potatoes (split unevenly, of course) was about 120 cals for mine? So this plate of food came out to under 400 cals.

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Most unfortunately, despite the fact that these Lightly Sauced Steamer Sides are right up my alley (less than 200 cals/serving, 2 servings/bag), they arrived at my door completely thawed and at room temperature. I knew that before I cooked them and certainly before I served them to Boyfriend, I would have to be extremely sure that they were still viable. So, Bird's Eye, if you are reading this, the sides look great, but next time, send them with an ice pack.




Unfortunately, while the Creamed Spinach was pretty great, and I forsee it having a place in my freezer, the Potatoes and Green Beans had a somewhat tangy taste that I could not be sure wasn't attributable to it's thawed state upon arrival. Therefore, this side went largely uneaten. =(
As for the risottos, because they are cream based, I do worry about them but will give them a go in the microwave and see if they're ok in the near future!

Thanks, Bird's Eye for sending me these sides. The Spinach was great but I can't give my opinion on the Potatoes and Green Beans. I will say this though, I really like the idea of these Lightly Sauced sides. In fact, while the calorie count remained fairly low (and the portion size relatively large!) there was more than enough sauce to go around and I didn't feel deprived at all!

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The pizza only required half of the giant head of cauliflower I had and I almost regretted buying a head instead of a bag of frozen florets. That was until I made the simplest, easiest and oh-so-yummy cauliflower puree!

Ingredients: 1/3 head of cauliflower + 1/4-1/3 cup vegetable oil (no salt added) + S+P + cumin.
Directions: Steam cauliflower. Blend it with remainder of ingredients. Done.
I topped it with dried Nori (seaweed) which is not a common ingredient. I ate half of it without the nori (it didn't fit in the ramekin, so I ate it with a spoon from the blender!) and it tasted just fine. Probably with the simple addition of a bit of egg white or some bread crumbs (?) this would make a great dip! Anyway, it was delicious and perfect for eating slowly on a rainy afternoon!

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Lastly, this week has been insane and I've been going out a lot (and therefore, sleeping very little). I'm excited that I've now spent 3 nights in a row at home and in bed at the reasonable hour of midnight. It's actually my birthday today, so tonight will include a fancy-schmancy dinner with the Parents and the Boyfriend and I will be throwing a party on Friday. Soon after, we will be flying out to San Fransisco to visit Sonoma Valley and Yosemite National Park. We will spend a total of only 1 day and 2 evenings in San Fransisco, 2 days/1 night in Sonoma and 3 full, glorious days in Yosemite Park! I fully intend to get one more post in before I leave (will feature some salads and some

 


Comments

Kathleen
08/17/2011 15:30

First of all, Happy Birthday :) Second of all, big fan of Bird's Eye, though I tend to prefer my vegetables sans sauce. I may, however, be enticed to try the creamed spinach. I really can't believe that they sent them thawed and I am glad that you and Boyfriend survived that :)

Reply
08/21/2011 08:24

Yes, I think they should have been sent with an ice pack or something.

Actually, what I am most impressed with is the portion sizes and the nutritional information. Also, I do like that there's some sauce since it saves work but I do appreciate that it's LIGHTLY sauced because then it doesn't run all over the plate! =)

Thanks for the birthday wishes!
xo
Jules

Reply
Serenity
08/22/2011 06:56

Yes, Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great vacation. Enjoyed the last posts. Before I read your creamed spinach comment, I was going to say, it's in a lovely dish!

Reply
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    I'm a recent graduate from medical school and a pathology resident living in New York City. Like most girls living in the city, I've found that a lot of my social life revolves around the regular consumption of high-calorie food and alcoholic beverages. I've decided to start a blog about how I am trying to beat the bulge by eating and cooking defensively between social engagements and how even a busy girl can fit exercise into a busy life.

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