During the past year I have been exercising and dieting, successfully I might add, and frozen dinners have been a huge part of my success. I have been counting calories, and frozen dinners have my nutritional information already calculated for me, making the job much easier. I have been happy with Banquet Frozen Dinners for years, and last week I spent a little more to give their new “Select Recipes” a try.
The box looks much like the other Banquet meals, in that it comes packaged in a red box. It shows a plate of food that looks quite appetizing! Shown is a bed of white rice, with a chicken breast patty on top, covered with gravy. On the side are green beans and carrots. The front of the box reads “Made with White Meat Chicken”, and says that the chicken breast is “glazed”.
Although this meal comes in a black plastic dish, it can be baked in either a microwave or a convection oven. Since the latter version takes a half hour to bake, I always cook my frozen dinners in the microwave. This one takes a little longer than most frozen meals, 6-6 1/2 minutes to be exact. After cooking you are directed to let it cool off for 2 minutes as the meal is supposed to be very hot. Another caution, one that I have not noticed on frozen dinners before, is that you should be sure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees when you test it with a food thermometer.
- Calories: 290
- Total fat: 13g
- Saturated fat: 4g
- Trans fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 35mg
- Sodium: 750mg
- Carbs: 31g
- Fiber: 4g
- Sugars: 2g
- Protein: 14g
I am not a picky eater, and like most foods placed in front of me. However, this meal was a big disappointment, and it looked and sounded so promising! First, after cooking this meal for the maximum 6 1/2 minutes, the chicken “breast” was still not hot enough to be palatable, so back in the microwave it went for an additional 45 seconds.
Next, the chicken breast did not taste even close to how a real chicken breast should taste. Reading a little bit closer on what is printed on the front of the box, I see that it is described as a chicken breast with rib meat patty. The patty was not tender, I found it difficult to cut it up, and it had very little flavor. If not for the tasty gravy, the meal would have been a total bust.
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The picture on the box shows a chicken breast with spices on it, as well as dark grill marks across the top. This did not taste like a grilled chicken breast, and I didn’t detect any special seasonings. The rice was tender, and there was ample gravy for the entire chicken patty and rice combination. The vegetables tasted like any frozen veggie, they were bright in color and crisp tender, but there was very little carrots and green beans in a tiny compartment on the side of the plastic tray.
Because I was so unimpressed with the quality of the chicken, I checked the ingredient panel to see what exactly went into it. Just as I thought, the “breast patty” consists of chicken breast with rib meat, water, textured vegetable protein, textured soy protein concentrate, isolated soy protein, salt, and sodium phosphates, to name a few. This breast meat reminded me of those chicken nuggets from McDonalds, except they are better tasting.
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As far as the nutritional value of the meal, it packs a lot of protein for a low price. This retailed for $1.59, so you can’t argue with the cost, it is an inexpensive meal and as such you get what you pay for. I have a few other varieties in my freezer, but I won’t be purchasing Banquets Select Recipes Herb Grilled Chicken Breast again.
Other Banquet Select Recipe varieties are Chicken Parmesan, Classic Fried Chicken, Enchilada Combo Meal, Home-Style Pot Roast, Slow Cooked Beef and Smothered Burrito, and are marketed by ConAgra foods.
Tom McGough, vice president of the Banquet brand, said: “Now, during tough economic times, consumers are looking for more ways to stay on budget without compromising quality. With Banquet Select Recipes, families can enjoy flavorful, complete meals.” My comment is that if you are looking for a meal that gives a good variety of foods, with a generous amount of protein, give these a try. Just don’t expect it to taste like a real chicken breast.
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