Sunday, September 9, 2012

National TV Dinner Day - 2012 Update

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By Chef Diane

Growing up dinner time at my house wasn't the greatest, that’s why every time my parents went out, and we always loved to have TV dinners.  We always love the little kids TV dinners that had hot dogs, and hamburgers...they were such a treat for us.

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The first TV dinner was invented in 1953 by Swanson’s.  The purpose was to get rid of some turkeys that they over bought.  The turkey dinner came in a metal tray with dressing, frozen peas and sweet potatoes.  They were heated at 425 F for 25 minutes, and would easily fit on a TV tray.  In the first year of production, Swanson sold the dinners for 98 cents, and expected to only sell around 5000, however the popularity of these dinners exploded, and over 10 million were sold.

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Today, these microwavable dinners are sold in dishes that are safe for use in the microwave. You can find nearly any type of meal already prepared in a frozen dinner from the original turkey and dressing, to chicken, to seafood and pastas.  My husband would love to shop in the frozen food aisle and choose various dinners; however the picture would always look better than the meal inside.  That never stopped him from trying more and more.  I personally like the mac and cheese dinners, and the frozen pizza, and I have also tried the lasagna and other pasta dishes.  These make the perfect meal for a quick bite, or when you don't want to take the time to cook from scratch.
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Today is National TV Dinner day.  The term “TV Dinner” is now synonymous with any prepackaged, frozen meal that requires little preparation and contains an entire single-serving meal. Modern-day TV dinners can be cooked in the microwave (instead of the oven) and include gourmet recipes as well as organic and vegetarian dishes.   Although they are no longer called TV dinners, you can still pick one up and cook it in your microwave and enjoy it while you are watching your favorite show.  So stop by your freezer section and pick up a TV dinner tonight and relive your youth.  Or, just get out of cooking for tonight.

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