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Foodie Friday: Panera Bread’s new spring menu (with $50 giveaway)

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Panera Bread® announced this week that they are the first national restaurant company in the U.S. to remove 150 artificial ingredients from its menu by the end of 2016, citing customer demands for a healthier lifestyle.  And so my family did what any health-conscious consumers would do: we attended a tasting of their new Spring menu where we ate a minimum of 10,000 calories.

At least we consumed  healthier calories, right?

I’ve been a longtime fan of Panera Bread and was thrilled when they opened a location near my house…until it took me four months to finally eat there but we made up for lost time on Wednesday.

We loved the new lighter, fresher spring menu with clean salad dressings and antibiotic-free chicken. And the baguettes. And their flatbread sandwiches. And cookies. But back to the spring menu:

Mediterranean Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Best in Class

The vote was unanimous: we all loved the Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa salad with chicken, kale, romaine, cucumbers, tomato sofrito (I’m obsessed), Kalamata olives, quinoa, toasted almonds tossed with Greek dressing. The funny thing is I’m not even a huge fan of Mediterranean cuisine. Until now.

Honorable Mention

Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken. Who knew kale could actually taste good? This salad delivers with chicken, kale, romaine and parmesan-tossed Caesar dressing but the real hit, if we’re being perfectly honest, was the parmesan crisps. Are they the “power” in the kale salad?

lemonorzoBest Return Returning Food

Low-fat Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. It was a dark, stormy night. No really, it was. Soup isn’t something I’d normally have on a spring evening but as it poured rain outside, this Mediterranean-inspired soup with chicken, orzo, spinach, carrots, oregano and basil simmered in a lemon-infused chicken broth hit the spot. My husband isn’t a huge fan of lemon and said he would have preferred less zing…whereas I would have liked even more. 

smoothieBest Green Smoothie

Do you know those health enthusiasts who love green smoothies? I’m not one of them. Though we make daily fruit smoothies, I can’t make the leap to green but Panera’s new Green Passion Power Smoothie could make a convert out of my picky kids and me. With peach and mango purees and white grape and passion fruit juice concentrates, we didn’t mind the spinach, primarily because we couldn’t taste it.

Honorable Mention Smoothie

Take strawberry and apple puree, grape juice concentrate and a banana and add them to Stonyfield Farm organic low-fat  yogurt boosted with ginseng and what do you get? An awesome smoothie perfect for summer!

Contest Closed

 

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