Annie Chun's Frozen Savory Wonton Soup Bowls. Spicy Vegetable, Chicken & Cilantro, and Chicken & Garlic. $4.29 per 4.4-ounce bowl.
Bonnie: Annie Chun found a smart way to manufacture and ship frozen soup. She packs her frozen wontons, veggies, chicken and seasoning without water, saving money and reducing this product's environmental footprint by reducing packaging.
To enjoy a bowlful, just add that missing water, microwave, stir well and eat. Like all but low-sodium soups, these are full of salt. My favorite, the Spicy Vegetable — redolent of red chilies and ginger — is also the saltiest, with 990 milligrams, or 41 percent of the recommended daily limit. That's way too much sodium for its mere 130 calories. So consume only occasionally.
If you have a medical issue requiring you to cut back on sodium, I would suggest instead buying a bag of Annie Chun's yummy frozen Potstickers or Mini-Wontons and simmering them in a low-sodium broth with some diced veggies.
Carolyn: In 2000, the nutritional watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest traumatized takeout food fans with the news that the seemingly healthful chicken-and-veggie dishes sold in Chinese restaurants are chock-full of fat and calories.
Annie Chun's to the rescue, with these healthful new wonton soups from the freezer case.
On the plus side: The wontons are delicious and fresh-tasting, and deliver on their authentic cilantro and ginger flavors. Each bowl of soup has only 120 to 140 calories. On the negative: These soups consist mainly of unflavorful, watery broth.
I can recommend them to dieters as a very light lunch, or as a first course followed by a frozen Chinese entree of similar good quality, such as Lean Cuisine Beef Chow Fun or Weight Watchers SmartOnes Spicy Szechuan Style Vegetables & Chicken.
Food Should Taste Good Kettle Cooked Sweet Potato Chips. Original, Salt & Pepper, Barbeque, and Salt & Vinegar. $1.29 per 1-ounce or $3.49 per 4.5-ounce bags.
Bonnie: When Terra Original Chips were introduced, I would often cherry-pick the tasty orange-colored sweet potato ones from the exotic mixture that also included batata, taro and yuca chips. So I'm glad that bags of just sweet potato chips are now available from both Terra and the aptly named company Food Should Taste Good.
Food Should Taste Good's chips contain 25 percent less fat than Terra's and other sweet potato chips. A serving also contains as much vitamin A, potassium and fiber as a regular sweet potato, while having only 150 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat of 8 grams total and 140 milligrams sodium. That's an impressive 150 percent to 175 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin A, a hefty 400 to 420 milligrams potassium and a decent 3 grams fiber. The Original has the most potassium and vitamin A, but I liked the peppery flavor of the Salt & Pepper best. The only miss is the odd-tasting Barbeque.
Carolyn: Potatoes make such a great-tasting chip; wouldn't it stand to reason that other tubers might taste at least as good? Terra was the first company to seriously explore this idea with its delicious and expensive Terra Chips mixed bag of chips, including sweet potato ones. Food Should Taste Good is now offering a whole line of sweet potato chips.
This makes a lot of sense considering how much flavor sweet potatoes pack and their increased popularity in both fresh and french-fried form (in part due to all those nutrients Bonnie just referenced).
Food Should Taste Good's Original and Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chip flavors both need more salt and so are in direct contradiction to the company's name. The Barbeque-flavored is also very lightly so. I agree with Bonnie that the peppery Salt & Pepper is by far the best offering.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended With Balsamic Vinegar. $2.49 per 14-ounce bottle.
Bonnie: Ketchup king Heinz's last new flavors — No Salt Added, Reduced Sugar and Organic, introduced way back in 2002 — had health and environmental aims. This time Heinz is going for gourmet by blending balsamic and white vinegar instead of just the white and packaging this new ketchup with a more elegant black-and-silver label and silver cap.
Traditional Italian balsamic vinegar is made from white Trebbiano grapes, aged in wooden barrels for several years, resulting in a darker and sweeter product than regular vinegar. So it's probably not surprising that Heinz Ketchup with balsamic is 1 gram sweeter than its regular ketchup. I liked the flavor, but think that its target-market gourmands might not like that this ketchup's added sweetness comes from the same high-fructose corn syrup that's used in regular Heinz.
Carolyn: A couple of attractive pillows, an extra-special necklace — it doesn't take much to dress up a room or an outfit and make them seem special. This is also true of food, as anyone who has had wasabi mayonnaise, cranberry mustard or this new Heinz Tomato Ketchup With Balsamic Vinegar can attest.
Swapping out some white vinegar for balsamic and slapping on a new label in a classic black-and-silver design has brought classic Heinz to the next level. While fully recognizable as ketchup, Blended With Balsamic has a darker and deeper flavor that would not be out of place on a $15 burger or with $7 duck-fat fries.
Me? I've already poured some in a cup and used it as a dip to waken up the dull Original variety of the Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips we just wrote about.
Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian and professional speaker. She has a blog (www.biteofthebest.com) about products she recommends; follow her on Twitter: @BonnieBOTB. Carolyn Wyman is a junk-food fanatic and author of "The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book" (Running Press). Each week they critique three new food items.)
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