A frozen dinner worth trying: Bon Appétit

The kiddo and I were at the grocery store last week to pick up a few in-between major shopping trips necessities (like bread, milk and fruit) when I strolled down the frozen foods.  I came across new frozen meals called Bon Appétit.  They were pricey at $7 a piece, but they had a coupon attached to them for $3.50 off.  I decided to pick one for us and try it.  I opted for the “Smoked Apple and Uncured Bacon Chicken.”  I knew they wouldn’t be anything my husband would like (the man doesn’t like chicken or pork), but I also knew he was having the kind of week where working late and missing family dinner was a possibility.

The yellow bag to look for. Seriously. You've got to try these.

When he texted on Wednesday that he was indeed going to be late, I decided to try the frozen dinner.  I pulled it from the freezer and started reading.  Basically, each big bag comes with two parchment paper pouches of food.  You cook them in the pouch in the microwave for about seven minutes or in the oven for about 30 minutes.  I also wanted to try making a biscuit recipe that I’d found using Bisquick, sour cream and 7Up.  The biscuits cooked at a hotter temperature, so I decided to put the chicken in the microwave.  Besides, the microwave is easier and if I was giving this meal a shot, I wanted to know if it was good from the microwave.  That’s sort of the point of frozen dinners to me — quick and easy.

I put together the biscuits (which had very sticky dough) and got them in the oven.  I took one pouch out of the bag and sat it on a microwaveable plate as instructed.  I decided to make one at a time because I wanted to see how much food were in each pouch.  If it was a large amount, I’d share one with the kiddo.

The poofy bag coming out of the microwave.

As it was cooking in the microwave, the bag poofed up, but it never opened.  I took it out, let it sit for one minute (as instructed) and then snipped off one end and slide the food onto the plate.  Two things stuck out to me.  One was how good it looked and smelled.  And, two, was that I was going to have to make both pouches.  I knew that wasn’t enough for the kiddo and I to share.  So, into the microwave the second pouch went.

The biscuits got done around the same time as the second pouch.  I pulled everything together and got the kiddo in her seat with her bib on and sippy cup of milk ready.  I cut up some chicken for her, opted out of giving her quite as much sauce to keep the mess to a minimum and tossed on some potatoes and veggies from the pouch as well.  Here’s the thing: She ate it.  She really liked it.  That’s always good news in toddler world.

My happy girl enjoying her chicken dinner.

Here’s the other thing: I loved it!  I have to admit my expectations were low.  I’m no food snob.  I’ve been known to eat frozen dinners for lunch or dinner in the past.  I find them tolerable and sort of likeable.  I’ve never found them super delicious — until now.  (And I promise that Bon Appétit isn’t funding this.)  Seriously.  It was that good.  It reminded me of the Alice Springs chicken at Outback Steakhouse.  The chicken was tender and moist.  I could cut it with my fork.  The vegetables were tender-crisp and not mushy.  The sauce was delicious.  I gave the kiddo about half of her chicken.  I was a bit disappointed when she wanted some more because I was thinking how much I’d like to eat it.

The finished product, including one of the biscuits I made

I had been prepared to think that the meal was OK but not worth paying full price.  Honestly, I will buy it again, even if I have to pay full price.  (Though, right now you can find a coupon on Bon Appétit’s website to save $2).  I would say the meals, which are made by frozen food guru Schwan’s, would even make a nice dinner for a date night at home.  It won’t work for me since my husband is a bit on the picky side, but it was definitely good enough for date night.

And, the health conscious side of me thought the amount of calories and fat in each serving was low and reasonable, especially considering the decadent flavor and sauce.  The only caveat was the high sodium content.

Oh, and the biscuits turned out well, too.  They were flaky and crumbly.  I will try them again sometime, too.  But, the chicken dinner was definitely the star of this meal for me.  (And I love bread!)

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