Can a Whole Foods Dinner For 2 Substitute As a Home-Cooked Meal?
After a long week of travel, there's nothing like a home-cooked meal. There's also nothing like not having to actually make that meal yourself. Unfortunately, upon returning from a recent trip, I had no way to get either of these things.
Fresh off the plane and completely sick of fast food, the fiancé and I took to Whole Foods for a quick dinner. We were about to
attack patiently wait our turn for the trusty salad bar when an auspicious-looking display of brown paper bags caught my eye.
I'd been wanting to try a WF's Dinner For 2 for some time...and what better time than when you're delirious and slightly hungover after a long flight and a few too many miniature bottles of wine -- amiright?
The bag was filled with Chicken Scallopini, Fettucini with Roasted Tomoatoes, and Caesar Salad. Since Dave usually spends $13 on just cottage cheese and peaches alone at the salad bar, the $14.99 price tag didn't seem too shabby. We grabbed it to go and hoped for the best.
Warning: Objects in picture are larger than they appear.
Inside was a surprisingly nice portion of panko-crusted chicken, fettucini in olive oil, and a salad packed with crisp romaine, croutons and an inordinate amount of shredded parmesan cheese. Each dish was deeper than it looks above, making the meal as a whole certainly enough for two.
The package even came with instructions written on the back of its menu: Heat up the chicken and pasta in either the oven or the microwave; enjoy the salad cold (Oh, really? Thanks, Whole Foods!).
Even with my passing hangover, I knew I could handle this. Since I'm a bit of a texture snob, I baked the chicken in my toaster oven to keep it nice and crisp. The pasta, on the other hand, I was fine microwaving.
Pro-tip: Taste dressings before dousing your salad in them.
The packet of Caesar dressing that the salad came with was a little too tangy for my liking, which I realized after I had poured it all over the salad. Rookie mistake. Dave enjoyed it, but I would use a bit less and/or some oil and vinegar next time.
My chicken-in-toaster-oven trick worked like a charm -- the panko crust was perfectly crunchy -- and the chicken stayed surprisingly moist for being reheated. But the best part? There was way more than enough of it; I cut the giant strips into bite-sized chunks and tossed them with the pasta to serve.
Which brings me to...
Pro-tip #2: Next time, before reheating, I'd put aside a few strips for lunch the next day; they'd be perfect for a salad, wrap or just as is dipped in honey Dijon.
The pasta, while not earth-shattering, was pretty tasty, with roasted tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, olive oil and fresh parsley. Sadly, my favorite part, the roasted vegetables, were few and far between. I considered being a total bitch and sneaking a few more onto my plate, but in the end I couldn't do it. I mean, if that's not love, I don't know what is.
Since the salad had so much parmesan, I scooped a bit off the top and threw it in the pasta (Pro-tip #3 -- God, I'm good).
In the end, Whole Foods' Dinner For 2 was a satisfying Sandra Lee-esque semi-homemade meal. It felt light, had great portions and was perfectly easy to "make" at home.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.