A Review of 7 Frozen Turkey Dinners

Updated on August 2, 2017
wpcooper profile image

Liam is a student at California State University, Bakersfield

TV Dinners are Convenient, Sometimes Healthy, and Often Delicious

Folks, if you are a TV dinner connoisseur, then you are probably a fan of the frozen turkey dinner. These samples come in different styles with a variety of sides. Some are sliced with dressing and mashed potatoes, while other varieties provide authentic breast pieces with roasted vegetables. There are quite a sample to choose from, and most can be acquired from the supermarket for under four dollars.

TV dinners are pretty easy to prepare and usually hit the spot when you are hungry and don't want to go out to a restaurant or spend time preparing a complete meal. They are often well-rounded with a main dish, a side like a potato or a vegetable and often include a desert. I like to cook mine in a conventional - or preferably a toaster oven - but most of these concoctions are designed with microwave preparation in mind. The regular oven cooking for me provides a better tasting meal because it tastes as if it were actually prepared rather than just warmed up. But this is just my preference and in order to save time and for convenience sake, you can opt for the microwave method if you wish.

TV Dinners Used to Come in Metal Trays

A Bit of a Summary

I tried to rate all the meals below and compare them to one another in a convenient chart so that you could get a side by side comparison (of my opinion).

I also provide the specific reviews below and tried to include photos of the dinner before and after preparation and the nutritional information. Some of the photos are not that great - I have a telephone/camera and am not a professional photographer. I included the price I paid for the dinner - they may vary where you are at and even within the region you live in - but should be pretty close. I am in Bakersfield, CA where the cost of living I guess is pretty average.

The one thing I found out about the turkey is that the medallion selection seems to be the most popular. For the most part, the turkey was basically the same for all the dinners, although I think Walmart and Boston Market had turkey that was less sinewy. Overall the turkey was good and with the exception of Swanson Hungry Man, real breast chunks.

Some dinners came with potatoes, some with stuffing. Others provided a vegetable side and some even came with a desert. I alternated my eating habits according to my personal taste and preference at the moment. I tried to be honest and provide an overview of each dinner I tasted.

I excluded the Lean Cuisine dinner that I picked up because I don't cook TV dinners in the microwave and when I cook mine, I probably leave it in the oven for ten or fifteen minutes more than it suggests because I like mine well done. This may have had an influence on my opinion as well.

I thank you for stopping by and hope you enjoy my reviews and take time to answer the survey questions I asked. When you make your dinner selection, may your eating be delightful and pleasant.

TV Dinners Rated

Brand
Turkey
Potatoes
Gravy
Sides
Other
Overall
Boston Market
8
8
7
7
 
7.5
Healthy Choice
7
-
6.5
6
6
6.25
Marie Callendar's
8
8.5
8.5
8
 
8.25
Smart Choice
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Can only be prepared in microwave
Stouffers
8
8
7.5
7
 
7.75
Swanson
6
6
7
7.5
7
6.5
Walmart
8
7
8.5
7.5
 
8
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest

Your Opinion Please

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Great Value Turkey Dinner (Walmart)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
as seen on the package - ready for the ovenout of the oven...and ready to eat.nutritional info.
as seen on the package - ready for the oven
as seen on the package - ready for the oven
out of the oven...and ready to eat.
out of the oven...and ready to eat.
nutritional info.
nutritional info.

Walmart Brand

Size: 10 oz

Cost: $1.89


Overview:

This was a rather inexpensive sample that looked quite appealing. As you can see from the photos below, everything was put together in one small container - there were no separations in the tray. This wasn't much of a problem for me, although I would have preferred not to have the different foods touching.

Turkey and Gravy:

The turkey came in small slices which were almost ovals about two inches across. They were nice and flavorful, with just about the right about of tenderness. I don't like my meat too tender and this definitely didn't taste processed. I was disappointed in that there were maybe 6 to 8 larger pieces of turkey with a few more smaller slivers thrown in.

The gravy was thick and delicious I just wish there was more of it. It had a nice color and a fragrant aroma. Really good.

Potatoes:

The potatoes had a little less body than I prefer. i like mine thicker. They tasted as if they were instant and didn't have the buttery taste you find in some samples. I actually considered adding butter to the meal, but I knew that would make the potatoes too runny. Not bad, but definitely not my favorite.

Vegetables:

The Walmart sample I acquired came with green beans and slivers of carrot. For vegetables cooked in the oven they were pretty good. My favorite side is corn with green beans being pretty far down the list, but you need to eat your greens. I would have liked to have seen more carrot and actually this side sample was pretty small in general. A nice addition to the meal however.

Overall:

Well it did satisfy my hunger and this is definitely a great snack. Considering the price as well - less than two dollars - you really cannot complain. A burger and fries at McDonald's would set you back more than that. With the additions, the meal was well rounded and pretty healthy. A good deal.

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Boston Market Turkey Breast Medallions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
the package with imagesas it appears next to the packageout of the oven - I added the cornnutritional info.
the package with images
the package with images
as it appears next to the package
as it appears next to the package
out of the oven - I added the corn
out of the oven - I added the corn
nutritional info.
nutritional info.

Boston Market

Size: 13 oz

Price: $3.00

Overview:

Well, the dinner seemed to have some nice portions, especially a heaping of green beans - which I decided to make an adjustment to. The meal looked pretty good frozen as you can see from the photos. The price wasn't bad. I prepared this in a conventional oven - even though it is microwavable. The potatoes and turkey and gravy were all lumped together and there was no stuffing.


Turkey and Gravy:

The turkey came in small oval shaped medallions and was pretty tasty for the most part. Tender in just the right way and they tasted like authentic breast pieces. The one problem I found is that there were only about five turkey medallions. Also, the gravy was in short supply -not much of it. The gravy was flavorful though and thick enough to have a good consistency to mix with the potatoes. I wanted more meat and gravy though.


Potatoes:

The potatoes were thick and flavorful. You had to mix them up a bit though - after the meal came out of the oven and during the cooking process in order to get them to the right consistency. They tasted fairly authentic and went well with meat and sauce.


Sides:

The meal provided a fairly healthy proportion of vegetables. I ended up taking some of my green beans out and added corn - for color and flavor. I much prefer corn to green beans, but the mixed veggies was healthy (I hope). They tasted like frozen vegetables cooked and were all right. I added generous portions of butter and some salt.

Overall:

Makes a good light dinner. Not bad for the price - although compared to some of the other brands, you ended up getting less meat here. The potatoes were good but I wanted some stuffing as well. A well rounded snack and you can see the nutritional information below.

Your Opinion

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Healthy Choice

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Out of the package- ready for the ovenready to eat (I removed the desert)Nutritional Information
Out of the package- ready for the oven
Out of the package- ready for the oven
ready to eat (I removed the desert)
ready to eat (I removed the desert)
Nutritional Information
Nutritional Information

Healthy Choice

Size: 10.5 oz

Cost: $2.50



Overview:

Health Choice presents itself as an alternative to other meals which are higher in caloric content and not as nutritious. This meal boats 250 total calories. You get the meat, some stuffing, a side of green beans and a desert. The nutritional information is available in the photos which include a before and after cooking shot of the meal.


Turkey and Gravy:

The turkey is composed of breast medallions and is mixed in with the stuffing and gravy. You get about eight or ten small pieces of turkey. The texture tastes like real breast pieces and are mostly fairly tender. The pieces break apart nicely like you would expect the breast meat to. However, there isn't much for flavor in way of the turkey and the gravy. The meat was a little bland and the gravy - which had a nice consistency itself - could have used a little more kick.

Not the best - somewhere between a six and seven.


Stuffing:

The stuffing was a bit bland too, but otherwise tasted like real stuffing. The sections which were not embedded in the gravy came out crisp and crunchy - which I kind of like. The lack of flavor however was a bit discouraging and I believe that the ingredients that provide other dinners with a little more seasoning, must be where a lot of calories come from.

There was much more stuffing than turkey and it actually made up more than half this section.

Overall between a six and a seven.

Sides:

Green beans are not my favorite but they came up all right considering they were cooked in the oven. You will probably need some butter or salt and pepper to add some taste to them. I would have much preferred mixed vegetables.

I didn't try the side of apple cobbler, but it looked pretty good.

Final Synopsis:

If you want a small snack that won't add too many calories you should try this. If you are looking for something with that will fill you up and has flavor, try another variety of dinner.

Not really worth the price since it really didn't have much to offer - such as potatoes.

Your Opinion Please

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Swanson - Roasted Carved White Meat Turkey

Click thumbnail to view full-size
the packageout of the ovennutritional info
the package
the package
out of the oven
out of the oven
nutritional info
nutritional info

Swanson Dinners: Roasted Carved White Meat Turkey

Size: 16 oz

Cost: $2.17


Overview:

The dinner is roughly one pound of food. Included are Turkey slices, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, mixed vegetables and a cherry cobbler desert. Turkey, gravy, potatoes and stuffing are all mixed together on one side.


Turkey and Gravy:

The turkey seems to be processed meat that is pressed and then sliced. You get all white meat - four slices in all in this dinner. The gravy has a nice consistency but isn't very flavorful. The turkey, someone, but the texture isn't very meaty. Filling, but you will probably want to bring some extra salt and pepper to the table with you.

Potatoes:

Well, a bit runny until you mix them up a bit. Not very potato tasting. Goes well with the gravy and the stuffing, but alone, not that great.

Vegetables:

Probably one of the better aspects of this meal. Carrots tasted steamed, corn and green beans were semi-crisp and were a nice addition to the meal. I mixed in some butter, salt and pepper.

Summary:

Not bad for the price: You do get a balanced meal and a pound of food for about two dollars - maybe three in some places (I wouldn't pay more). Not very flavorful and the meat isn't real breast meat. Swanson was one of the original meals I discovered as a kid, so I am always a bit partial to it. In those days you got three slices of meat- and one of them was dark. The gravy had a nice taste, the potatoes were buttery and the stuffing was pretty good. I think Swanson might have sacrificed some quality for quantity.

If you are hungry, it will work. I wouldn't go out of my way to try this again though.

Stouffers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
frozenout of ovennutrition infofrozen with package
frozen
frozen
out of oven
out of oven
nutrition info
nutrition info
frozen with package
frozen with package

Stouffers

Size: 9 5/8 oz

Cost: $1.94


Overview:

Dinner includes turkey breast medallions with gravy and stuffing and a side of mashed potatoes.

Turkey:

This smaller sized dinner - there are larger versions of the same meal - provides about eight turkey breast medallions. They are pretty good - nice and tender and have a full turkey taste. These are pretty good and similar to some of the ones in the other dinners that have medallions too. They are a nice size and there are smaller slices of turkey in the gravy and stuffing.


Potatoes:

Nice and full of flavor. A little less thick than I like them, but they are a nice compliment to the meat. Even in the smaller sized meal you are given a nice portion of the starch.


Gravy and Stuffing:

The stuffing was pretty good but probably not the best. It had the consistency of soggy bread. The gravy could have come in a larger portion. It had a nice texture, and flavor and went well with the potatoes.


Summary:

For the price, this is probably a very good deal - and one of the best. Stouffer's has a good reputation and for the most part, makes good meals. This sample was available for under two dollars. My main criticism is that it didn't come with a vegetable - I provided my own. If you are looking for a nice snack or a light dinner, this would be the better option. Nice delicious turkey slices with a warm gravy and potatoes will hit the spot. Not too fancy, and you certainly could do worse.

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Marie Callender's

Click thumbnail to view full-size
the box and the frozen mealout of the oven - it tastes a lot better than it looksanother view of the same meal - better lighting?nutritional info
the box and the frozen meal
the box and the frozen meal
out of the oven - it tastes a lot better than it looks
out of the oven - it tastes a lot better than it looks
another view of the same meal - better lighting?
another view of the same meal - better lighting?
nutritional info
nutritional info

Marie Callender's

Size: 13 oz

Cost: $2.08

Overview:

The dinner comes with Turkey medallions, gravy, potatoes and mixed vegetables. The turkey, gravy and potatoes are sort of mixed together and the vegetables include: carrots, broccoli, and celery.

Turkey and Gravy:

The turkey medallions are pretty good - just like the other dinners that offer the same sort of turkey. The gravy though was delicious. It had a hint of a herbal flavor in it, thyme maybe. It was fragrant, the right texture and you received the right amount.

Potatoes:

The potatoes were a little less thick than I like, but they were delicious. There was a creamy flavor - perhaps a bit of sour cream - in them and this added to the taste and aroma. I would have liked to have had mine thicker and perhaps separated from the meat, but I have no real complaints.

Vegetables:

Tasted like steamed vegetables - not really much flavor - which is probably good if you don't like vegetables. I personally am a little bit afraid of them, but I ate all these up because they were nice and soft and I didn't think I was eating a plant. You received a nice portion and they are healthy so this was a nice well rounded meal.


Summary:

Probably the best choice of all the meals. The turkey medallions seem to be a theme for all the meals as I mentioned earlier. The portions her were just right and the fact that your meal was well rounded with a starch and a vegetable is a nice touch. I didn't miss the stuffing and if you look at the price, this is a good deal. The only setback is the sodium level - but that is true with all these meals.

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Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Finn Liam Cooper

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Tamara Moore 

        12 months ago

        I will give others a try, too :-)

      • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

        Finn Liam Cooper 

        12 months ago from Los Angeles

        thank you Tam: I'm glad you approved.

        Some of those were pretty good and some were so so

        I hope you give the others a try...

      • profile image

        Tamara Moore 

        12 months ago

        Thank you for such a concise review on all these TV Dinners! My favorite is Healthy Choice...because...well, it says "Healthy" on the box. I don't eat many TV Meals like this, but when I do, I will go for Healthy Choice. Lean Cuisine is my other choice, although their portions seem a bit teeny, tiny. Guess I'll have to have a big ole' ice cream milkshake with it! Lol. Hey, great post!

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