It's easy to fall into a lunchtime rut once the kids start school. In fact, some days just remembering to stop and eat lunch can be a struggle. When I do remember, it's not necessarily unhealthy -- but it's not a complete meal, either. A bowl of yogurt with granola or a piece of string cheese with some fruit or even occasionally just a protein bar at my desk...
I'm really trying to be more intentional about eating a real lunch, so when Saffron Road asked if I was interested in trying some of their frozen entrees, I figured, why not? To be honest, it's been years since I've purchased a frozen entree of any kind, but their mention of being Halal certified caught my eye. I didn't know what this meant, so I scanned their website and was really impressed with what I saw.
In case you're wondering, Halal "promotes the sacred practices of respect for the land, fair treatment for farmers, humane treatment of livestock and wholesome food to eat." In addition, a good portion of their offerings are gluten-free and they're working on becoming non-GMO verified.
Sounds great, right? But how do they taste?! Let's just say Saffron Road Frozen Entrees are a far cry from those "diet-friendly" frozen entrees I used to purchase. I tried the Chicken Pad Thai, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Chicken Biryani, and I really couldn't tell you which I liked best. They're all delicious -- full of flavor, generous with the chicken, with an ample portion size.
Saffron Road Chicken Pad Thai -- roasted white meat chicken with carrots and scallions in an exotic peanut sauce.
How To Dress Up Frozen Meals
Of course, the drawback to frozen meals is that they can be a bit underwhelming in their little black trays. Since my goal is to be more deliberate about taking an actual lunch break, I brainstormed a few ways to perk up a simple frozen entree. Nothing too over the top, just simple hacks that one could apply just as easily at the office as at home.
1 Plate your frozen meal. Simply transferring your cooked frozen entree to an actual dinner plate is the quickest and easiest way to perk up your meal. After all, presentation is everything! While you're at it, consider using real silverware and an actual napkin, as well.
2 Add a simple side salad or sliced fruit. Or both! I'm a big fan of combining torn lettuce with fresh fruit. Grapes, mandarin oranges, strawberries and/or blueberries all pair perfectly with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Sometimes I even forgo the dressing because the fruit is enough to flavor the lettuce.
Saffron Road Chicken Biryani -- tender chunks of dark meat chicken baked in basmati rice topped with caramelized onions in the classic Hyderabadi style.
3 Squeeze a little citrus over it. Serve your frozen meal with a wedge of lemon or lime on the side. A quick squeeze adds a little freshness and can give your meal a little extra pizzaz.
4 Sprinkle on some cheese. Be it shredded cheddar on a Mexican-style entree or parmesan on an Italian-style, cheese always adds visual appeal to a dish. While we're on the subject of dairy, sour cream or plain yogurt would be good choices to add a little creaminess to your meal.
Saffron Road Chicken Tikka Marsala -- roasted white meat chicken simmer with Tandoori spices in a robust, creamy tomato sauce.
5 Garnish with fresh herbs. Never know what to do with those leftover fresh herbs from dinner? Of course, you can always freeze them, but they're also great for dressing up a frozen meal. I particularly like fresh parsley and cilantro, but chives, basil, rosemary and really any fresh herb will do the trick.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Saffron Road; all opinions and text are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site!