Frozen Foods:Packaging vs. Reality

Frozen Foods:Packaging vs. Reality
You wander the frozen food aisle, looking for a quick-and-easy meal. The package looks so appealing, but is it really an accurate representation of the entree that awaits you?
See our ratings for both "look" and "taste" of 19 products.
Our Rating Scale:
1 star = lost appetite
2 stars = bland
3 stars = okay
4 stars = good
5 stars = great
Next: Corn Dog Meal
Brand: Banquet
Look: ****
Taste: ****

What you get: Batter-dipped frank made with chicken on a stick with a fudge brownie, french-fried potatoes and corn

Comments: "The fries were crispy, the corn dog was flavorful, and the rich brownie melted in my mouth."

Next: Honey Roasted Chicken
Brand: Boston Market Home Style Meals
Look: **
Taste: ***

What you get: Honey roasted chicken with au gratin potatoes

Comments: "Right off the bat the smell wasn't pleasant to me, however the food tasted okay."

Next: Four Cheese Manicotti
Brand: Healthy Choice
Look: ***
Taste: ****

What you get: Ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheese-stuffed pasta in marinara sauce with carmel apple crisps, and broccoli florets

Comments: "The manicotti was great, although there was too much sauce and the dessert was just okay."
Next: Chicken Fried Steak
Brand: Michelina's
Look: *
Taste: *

What you get: Michelina's signature chicken fried steak

Comments: "I love fried steak, but this was by far the worst fried steak experience of my life. Once I found the small chicken fried steak under the gravy and began to eat, I couldn't finish. It was bad."
Next: Cheese Pizza Strips
Brand: Dip & Dunk Kid Cuisine
Look: *****
Taste: *****

What you get: Cheese pizza strips with dipping sauce, corn and fruit flavored snacks

Comments: "This meal was fun, satisfying and delightfully delicious."

Next: Pineapple Beef Teriyaki
Brand: Smart Ones, Weight Watchers
Look: ****
Taste: *

What you get: Pineapple beef teriyaki with vegetables and rice

Comments: "This meal looked great, but flavored it was not. The beef was spongy and the rice had no taste."

Next: Herb Roasted Chicken
Brand: Marie Callender's
Look: ***
Taste: ***

What you get: Two pieces of herb roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and a mixture of carrots and broccoli

Next: Kapow Seafood with Jasmine Rice
Brand: Neisha Thai Cuisine
Look: *****
Taste: *****

What you get: Seafood sauteed with fresh basil, chili and garlic sauce, with steamed jasmine rice

Comments: "The smell was delicious, the taste was even better. There was in total 6 tasty shrimp pieces that left me wanting more."
Next: Pot Pie
Brand: Premium Pot Pie, Pepperidge Farm
Look: ***
Taste: *****

What you get: Pot pie with roasted white meat, vegetables and a flaky crust

Comments: "It looked a little funny, but it tasted delicious. I felt full and was extremely pleased with this pie."

Next: Chicken Parmesan
Brand: Smart Ones, Weight Watchers
Look: *
Taste: *

What you get: Roasted chicken breast and spaghetti with marinara sauce topped with cheese
Comments: "It says it tastes better than ever on the box -- if that's true I'm afraid to know how it used to taste. This meal looked bad and tasted old and rubbery. I couldn't finish it."
Next: Pizza
Brand: Michelina's
Look: *
Taste: ***

What you get: Roasted garlic chicken pizza with cheese, onions and bell peppers
Comments: "This 89-cent meal was easy on the wallet but hard on the eyes. It tasted OK, but I was hard pressed to see or taste any chicken that appeared on the box as chunky."
Next: Sweet & Sour Chicken
Brand: Kashi Entrees
Look: *****
Taste: ****

What you get: Sliced chicken with roasted green beans and yellow pepper, red pepper, crimini mushrooms, onions and edamame (soybeans), served over pilaf, and topped with a tangy sweet and sour sauce
Comments: "This healthy dish tasted tangy and good. It was filling even though it wasn't a lot."
Next: Chicken Tandoori
Brand: Tandoor Chef
Look: *
Taste: ***

What you get: Chicken tandoori with spinach

Comments: "I enjoy Indian food very much. This meal however was average tasting and I felt it didn't have enough meat."

Next: Mexican Style Fiesta
Brand: Hungry-Man
Look: **
Taste: **

What you get: Beef enchiladas in chili sauce with Mexican style rice, refried beans and a brownie

Next: Vegan Moroccan Chicken
Brand: Mon Cuisine
Look: ****
Taste: ****

What you get: Vegetarian "chicken" and almonds with whole wheat couscous and vegetables

Comments: "It sparked my taste buds -- the couscous was very flavorful. However the vegetables were tiny and sparse."
Next: Savory Beef
Brand: South Beach Diet by Kraft
Look: **
Taste: **

What you get: Chunks of beef with broccoli, mushrooms and grated carrot

Next: Spaghetti
Brand: Stouffer's
Look: ****
Taste: ****

What you get: Spaghetti with meatballs in tomato sauce

Comments: "Looked great, tasted great. I'd buy this again for sure."

Next: Steak 'n Mac
Brand: Night Hawk
Look: *
Taste: ****

What you get: Macaroni and cheese and a charbroiled chopped beef pattie with steak sauce

Next: Cheese Lasagna With Chicken Scaloppini
Brand: Stouffer's Lean Cuisine
Look: *
Taste: **

What you get: A serving of cheese lasagna and thin slices of lightly breaded chicken breast and rib meat scaloppini

Comments: "The chicken tasted very bland and low-quality. The lasagna was easier to eat but wasn't memorable."

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