Sometimes we just need a fast and easy meal to prepare for dinner. When my daughter and I were shopping at Brookshires, I was impulsive and purchased a bag of Gourmet Dining Beef Stir Fry. It was not a pleasant experience.
Gourmet Dining Beef Stir Fry comes in a large 32 ounce plastic bag. It pictures a meal consisting of beef strips, Lo Mein noodles, broccoli, carrots, red peppers, water chestnuts and sugar snap peas. The bag boasts that this meal goes from “Freezer to Fork in Minutes”.
Gourmet Dining Beef Stir Fry can be prepared in two ways, the microwave or the stove top. We opted to cook this on the stove top, since that is the recommendation on the back of the package. To prepare on the stove top, you heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet, and cook the beef strips for one to two minutes. Let me say right now that although this meal claims to feed four people, there was only about three fourths of a cup of beef. I expected a lot more meat in a meal that serves four.
As we were browning the meat in a skillet, my daughter said it smelled bad to her. I smelled it, and although I thought it was a little off, it didn’t smell like it was spoiled or bad. I tasted it, and it didn’t taste great, but again it didn’t taste spoiled.
Next we added the bag of pasta and vegetables, which came in a separate clear bag, but the top of the bag was open several inches! We didn’t know what to do. Should we prepare it anyway? It was either prepare it or have cereal for dinner, so we went ahead and added the pasta and vegetables and cooked them for about six minutes. The pasta and vegetables were frozen into one hard chunk, and I had to take the handle of a wooden spoon to break them apart.
Last, there is a sauce packet that gets thawed under running water, then added to the beef, pasta and vegetables. My daughter and I felt this was a little too salty. It only took a short while to heat the sauce, and the dinner was ready to serve.
This meal was an embarrassing disaster. My son-in-law took one taste and said he could not eat it. My daughter ate a small portion, saying she would eat it since she took it, but she didn’t like it. I will add that my daughter is not a fussy eater, she eats anything. I liked the vegetables and noodles, but I didn’t like the texture or flavor of the beef, and the meal was too salty. My husband is the only one who ate two portions. To add insult to injury, both my daughter and I ended up with diarrhea that evening, but I can’t say for sure it was from eating the Gourmet Dining Beef Stir Fry.
I keep thinking about the bag of pasta and vegetables that had an opening in the bag, this certainly is not normal, and I really want to know what happened during the manufacturing process that would cause this to happen. I probably should have thrown the entire meal in the garbage right then and there.
Gourmet Dining Beef Stir Fry was a bust. Half of our family hated it, one didn’t even eat it at all. I read the back of the bag, which states the “Gourmet Guarantee”, reading “Gourmet Express provides only premium quality products”. They ask their customers to write, call or email with suggestions or questions. I did email the company, and they never responded. I am at a loss to explain why we had such a bad experience with this meal, but I will never buy another Gourmet Dining food again.
The meal is 97% fat free, and one serving contains 200 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 1030 mg sodium, 32 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. The bag retailed for $6.50.