Hail to the chef... scientist, farmer & artist
Chefs work a bit of scientist, farmer, and artist into each new dish by way of balancing flavors, ensuring the freshest ingredients and uniting components in an appealing presentation. This couldn't more true for our new line of frozen entrees.
We learned very quickly that you can't take Big Bowl recipes and freeze them. But you can create frozen entrees that not only taste like Big Bowl but also embrace our food principles.
For starters, the vegetables in the stir fry frozen entrees all start fresh. The chicken is all natural, which means it's never been goosed with antibiotics. The rice is jasmine - which you won't find in other frozen entrees.
During the testing and tweaking, we found that jasmine rice was very difficult to cook, freeze, and microwave for our standard of results. We had to play with water ratios.
It was also challenging to hit the bull's-eye for the "just right" proportion of sauce. We needed the right balance of wet/dry to get it to work in the microwave. Too much and the entree would be soupy and strong. Not enough and the rice would burn in the microwave.
This was the hardest part of the project - aside from USDA labeling and waiting for approval, which was out of our control. Our United States Department of Agriculture is picky with verbiage; wording on the package is so tricky.
The end result? Flavors translated really well, which I think are great. Kung Pao is spicy (though less spicy than the restaurant), so it will be interesting to see who buys it. No offense, but we all know that the typical American palate is not big on heat.
I was very pleased we were able to use fresh, raw vegetables in the mix. This special process allows the raw vegetable to steam in the microwave and packaging so we can keep all the nutrients in the dish. The true colors of vegetables are retained - the way nature intended them to be.
The entrees are good value, too. Our goal was to keep each entree below $6. The Big Bowl frozen entrees are now available at Byerly's and Lunds stores in Minneapolis. They'll be available soon in Chicago and Reston, VA., so keep a lookout on our website for locations.
Definitely let me know what you think of the new line.