Like most busy moms, there are days when I just don’t have the time (or the groceries) to make a full dinner for my family. Or there are days when my 4-year-old and I are looking for a quick, easy lunch option that’s different from the usual sandwiches. I find that it’s always a help to have a few frozen entree options in the freezer for those times when we simply want a hot meal available with little fuss – or cost. One brand of frozen dinner meals that we’ve tried recently is Banquet – and it’s fun to see if each box is a winner in their “Thanks a Million” game too.
What they are:
Banquet offers many different types of frozen meal options – from single-serve entrees to those which can feed the entire family. With choices like Macaroni & Cheese or Chicken Fingers, they cover what kids usually like – and adults can choose from more sophisticated options like Chicken Pasta Marinara, Sweet and Sour Chicken or Creamy Pasta Carbonara. From their website:
The Banquet brand began in 1953 with the introduction of frozen meat pies. Banquet frozen dinners first hit store shelves in 1955. The ’70s brought several different fried chicken offerings. Most recently, Banquet launched Homestyle Bakes and Dessert Bakes, and the brand revolutionized convenient, family-style cooking with the introduction of Banquet Crock-Pot Classics in 2004.
Banquet products include frozen dinners, pot pies, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, tenders and patties, Banquet wings, Homestyle Bakes, and Crock-Pot® Classics.
Banquet is giving away more than $million worth of redeemable cash prizes as a way of saying “Thanks a Million” to their loyal customers over all these years. Now through April, just look for the “Thanks a Million” logo on Banquet boxes in your local grocer’s freezer and check inside for your chance to win. Every specially-marked box contains either a Banquet coupon or one of over 16,000 redeemable cash prizes (worth anywhere from $10 to $100,000) – so even if you don’t win cash, you still win the chance to save on Banquet products!
Here’s my our take on them:
While I’ve usually kept a frozen meal or two in the freezer, Banquet is one brand that I actually had never tried before. I tend to stick with products and brands that I know and am comfortable with – one reason why I love these opportunities to try something new that’s out of my usual comfort zone. My 4-year-old and I browsed through the freezer section while grocery shopping after preschool one day, and we picked out three different single-serve entrees with our coupons. For myself, I chose the ‘Turkey Meal’ – similar to what I usually tend to eat from a competing brand, and also decided to take a chance and also try the ‘Chicken Pasta Marina’ because it looked really good. I often crave food with tomato-based sauces (yes, pizza is one of my favorite foods), so having a choice at hand that’s quick and easy is always a good thing. My 4-year-old was excited to see an option that had three of her absolute favorite foods all together – chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and corn, in the ‘Chicken Nugget Meal’.
She and I came home and immediately made ourselves a hot lunch with two of the Banquet meals. They were easy to cook – although I’m not used to having to take as much effort with a frozen entree as with the Chicken Nugget Meal – having to remove plastic film from two sections, cook it briefly without the nuggets and then for the rest of the time with them. It still only took a few minutes though, and the meal came out just right – hot but not overcooked. And my daughter was thrilled to have something new and different for lunch. I added ranch dressing in the nugget compartment for her to dip them into and she was all set.
The pasta was easier to cook and also came out just right on the first try. In the past I’ve found that it takes a little bit of time to figure out the right settings with our microwave, but I think I’ve got it down now. I shaved a few seconds off from the recommended cooking times since our microwave tends to be very powerful and has been known to overcook things when cooked as recommended, but everyone’s going to need to figure out what works best for them.
She’s definitely a fan. And mine was really good too – especially the chicken, which actually surprised me. Like many frozen entrees, I don’t think it’s quite filling enough for dinner (at least for me), but it’s just about perfect as a lunch choice. I did have the Turkey Meal for dinner soon afterward and it was good too – although I definitely prefer the pasta. I’m not a fan of peas (nor are any of my kids), so I hate to waste a third of a meal – plus that makes it even less likely to fill me up.
Oh, and out of our three boxes, two had the “Thanks a Million” logo – although neither one was a winner. I did clip the coupons though, and have since bought more of the Chicken Nugget meal and the Chicken Pasta Marinara one to keep on hand. They were recently on sale at Meijer as part of their 10 for $10 promotion that they run sometimes, so between that and the coupon, these cost less than a dollar a meal.
The bottom line:
While frozen entrees aren’t something I’d want to feed my family every day, I do like having them on hand for those times when we’re in a hurry or just want something different to eat that’s quick and hot and tastes good. And I’ll keep buying ones from Banquet now that I know we like them. And who knows, we may even win something too!
Where can you find them?:
You can purchase Banquet frozen entrees in your local grocer’s freezer or wherever other frozen dinners are generally sold. Prices vary depending on location and retailer. And through April, don’t forget to look for the specially-marked packages for your chance to win!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Banquet and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”