>My TV Dinner Delight


I grew up on TV dinners. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did cook as well. But there were always frozen diners in the freezer. My parents are Baby Boomers and grew up with new convenience foods and so therefore I did as well. Whenever someone had to work late, I had some extra curricular activity or no one felt like cooking — to the freezer we went. And even now, almost 20 years after I moved out of the house, my parents still stock their freezer with TV dinners. But when I left their house my world opened some. I cooked the family meals I’d learned, I watched Emeril and Rachel Ray and got a few more recipes and I learned that not ALL TV dinners were created equal. I started buying differently and cooking differently. The frozen food in my freezer was no longer the banquet, stouffers, michealina varieties but the upper scale, “healthier” varieties.
Now that I have my own family there are even less frozen “meals” purchased from the store. Most of my freezer is now split into two Frozen meal categories:
1. Prepped freezer meals ready to be cooked
2. Leftovers frozen for quick reheating — THIS is my new TV Dinner. A way to have the convenience of a commercially packaged frozen meal — but with my home cooked healthy food!!!

Fast forward to last week. Part of my pre-vacation prep is to always take left overs from the fridge and place them in the freezer. I use the same containers in both places so it literally takes me a minute to clean out and save the food from spoilage. Typically I leave it there until I’m working late or at a meeting and can tell hubby to pull something from the freezer and heat it up for dinner if he doesn’t feel like cooking.

When we returned from our trip we must have all caught one of those pesky bugs you get from air travel (is there anyone who doesn’t get sick traveling by plane during the Holidays?) Hubby and I were headachey and in no mood to make a grocery store run let alone stand at a stove for 15 – 30 minutes to prepare something to eat. SO just like in my childhood — to the freezer we went. And looky there, a nice little selection of dinners! We had some tasty nachos with the leftover taco night ingredients I had dumped into one container. I just defrosted all the dish poured it over corn chips (yep rice and all) and topped with shredded cheese and melted it to perfection. SO YUMMY! Lunch the next day was Chicken Marsala bowls from Chicken Marsala I had chopped and added to the rice side dish we’d had with it originally. And tonight we had Lasagna. Now hubby did make it to the store so we had fresh veggies and salad fixins by this time. But I’m so so glad that I’ve instituted this practice before our trips or whenever we are tired of eating “those” leftovers. It saves us money for sure by not trashing the food and not purchasing commercially made frozen meals, saves time when we reheat them and saves our bodies from all that commercially processed, HFCS, MSG and preservative laden foods we’d otherwise have on hand.


19 Responses to “>My TV Dinner Delight”

  1. Yvonne Hall Says:

    >Wishing I had that cool WordPress system that allows me to reply comment to each of you near your own comment!Great Job to all of you that are keeping the "yucky" stuff out of your (and your family's)bodies!To those without leftovers: my kids are still small but I have a feeling those days will be coming sooner rather than later!For those of you that LOVE those little compartments: Since we've gotten those divided plates for my mom to put her regular home cooked dinner on so food doesn't touch (one of her pet peeves) I'm just realizing that could have been a BIG bonus to her for buying and eating the TV dinners — LOL!!Thanks all for your comments and support!

  2. Jean Bentley Says:

    >I grew up on TV dinners as well. We freeze anything that is left after 2 days, but we rarely have anything left after that. It is great to have preprepared food in the freezer, we just had some chili from the freezer last night!Jean BentleyConnecting Lives…One Card at a Timehttp://www.ConnectingLivesWithCards.com

  3. Candace C. Davenport Says:

    >Yuck, TV dinners! Although I can't remember the last TV dinner I bought, I must admit that in the old days, working full time and living with a commute, I may have used 1 or 2 when the family was hungry and I had no time, energy or left overs in the freezer. My problem is that I've lways frozen left overs-but tend to forget about them and discover them year(s) later, not having a clue as to what they are!Candace Davenportwww.ourlittlebooks.com ~ Little Books with a Big Message

  4. Darcie Newton Says:

    >Love the tips…I never thought about freezing left overs before going on a trip. I love left overs, my family however is a different story. I think if I make TV dinners with their favorites, maybe I'll have better luck. Hey there's an idea…a glass or ceramic partitioned plate with cover that you can pop in the freezer and microwave… Darcie NewtonUsing Real Estate to Fuel Retirementwww.mywealthspa.com

  5. Julie Labes Says:

    >I do the same thing. Always a treat for me when dinner is already ready and just needs to be reheated

  6. Jennifer Duchene Says:

    >We never had TV or TV dinners when I grew up. There was only home cooking or eating at restaurants. I was so lucky, my mom was an incredible cook and we ate well. We always had good food ready to eat in the fridge. Now I do buy some healthy freezer foods for quick meals. We dont have much leftovers to freeze, but it is a clever idea. Jennifer DucheneThe Home Makeover Mixtresshttp://home-decorating-makeovers.com/

  7. Pat Zahn Says:

    >We got TV dinners as a special "treat" – if we had a babysitter, or a movie night and we'd get to eat them on actual TV trays! I wouldn't go near one now with a 10' pole… You must not have a teenager in the house, I never have leftovers that make it to the freezer! I do get extra dessert type things to the freezer so that we can't overindulge.

  8. KathyAlice Says:

    >No TV dinners for us as kids, my mother wouldn't have it. So it was in the category of those strange exotic forbidden things along with sleeping in your clothes (pjs were a must). So I was really disappointed with I first ate one. Great suggestions on creating your own TV dinner out of leftovers, something I should do more of. I did buy Lean Cuisine for a while but then got bored of them (and hungry, they were not enough food …).

  9. Janet Says:

    >TV dinners, haven't thought about those in years, thanks for the reminder. I'm sure they are much better today than when I was growing up… I love to cook and I always cook more than the 2 of us can eat so there are always left overs. Unfortunately we ended up throwing them away all too often until we found my newest favorite kitchen thing….. Ready…. drumroll…… The foodsaver!!! OMG we use this thing for EVERYTHING! I bet we've paid for it already. Oh, an one little bonus I didn't anticipate, I'm losing weight because of it. (and thats a good thing).. You see all those snacks that are hanging around the the house that I'd just pick up and munch on are now foodsaved, and I have to open them, and then foodsave them again, and it's just enough of a deterant that I don't. Yeah foodsaver!Janetwww.mydoggblog.comwww.dogbandanastore.com

  10. Judy Stone-Goldman Says:

    >My mother would never have allowed a tv dinner in the house! Needless to say I discovered them as a young adult (breaking free!) Now I do what you are describing–I always have precooked food in the freezer to pluck out and use as needed. I do batch cooking–cooking and packaging a lot of food so I have it. As for leftovers–we just eat them until they are gone! Nothing better than a night when the only required cooking is reheating.Thanks for promoting the non-toxic-food alternatives!Judy Stone-GoldmanThe Reflective Writer

  11. fionastolze Says:

    >I was smiling reading this post. I am the only woman in our household of 5 and to be honest, I'm happy if I get enough onto my plate. You have to be quick around here. As for leftovers, that doesn't happen too often. Love your philosophy.

  12. Joan Oliver Emmer Says:

    >My mother always took pride in the fact that she never served my father a tv dinner — and that has stuck with me. But I love how you define the "other" type of tv dinner – leftovers of your own making! Loved this post!

  13. Rob Wallis Says:

    >I remember eating many a TV dinner as a kid, and now, like you, LOVE leftovers! When I'm studying, we can spend the weekend cooking and freezing, and have dinner all week ready made and healthy.

  14. Lisa Ann Landry Says:

    >Unlike the many of you we did not have tv dinners no we ate my Mom's bad cooking bless her heart we wished for TV dinners or fast food. My Mom was a gifted nurse but cooking was not a strong skill set for her. There where a few things she cooked really well.I sure miss her yeast rolls, cheese cake, and tamale pie. Sadly the tamale pie recipe went to the grave with her boy was it good. Lisa Ann Landry Vibrating Positive Energy to Unleash the Genie in Allhttp://www.myshoppinggenie.com/pstd/

  15. deansautomotive Says:

    >TV dinners are something I buy very infrequently now compared to when I was younger (I am also a Baby Boomer!), but I love your idea of freezing leftovers for future dinners. At our house, though, leftovers usually disappear the very next day so I will have to be quick about getting them into the freezer!

  16. Rachel Lavern Says:

    >I, too, ate many frozen dinners as a child. I abandoned them for years; however, I now frequently enjoy them because they allow me to prepare a meal from practically nothing. We can quickly cook up some pasta, cheese, and frozen vegetables. What's not to love?Rachel Lavernhttp://www.rachellavern.comPersonal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development

  17. Irene Turner Says:

    >It is also a good way to eat consciously and with a Slow Food mentality. While not everyone can or wants to cook fresh and organic every night, Doing so when you can or on week-ends and freezing as you suggest is the perfect way to eat healthy fresh foods. No TV dinners with preservatives and toxic vegetables in this house! Great practice and good for you! It can be hard to break a family pattern like that

  18. Sharon Hiebing Says:

    >I too was brought up on tv dinners – once a week when the babysitter came over. And then I fell into the Lean Cuisine trap when I became older since I don't cook. But now that my hubby does, I do eat left overs a lot, but never thought of freezing them. This is a great idea – thanks for the tip!Sharon HiebingFollow Your Dream Compass

  19. Louise Edington Says:

    >I rarely buy TV dinners and wasn't bought up on them as they were not common in the UK growing up. I do, however, do my own TV dinners in that I will often make double quanities and freeze so there is always something quick for those days I either don't have time or don't feel like it. When I have bought those ready meals I am usually very disappointed as home cooked leftovers/ready meals taste so much better! Good tips.Louise EdingtonInternational AuPair FinderFacing Fears and Frontiers Over Fiftyhttp://louiseedington.com

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