While frozen dinners were first introduced by the airlines in the 1940's, Banquet's competitor, Swanson, mass marketed them first in the 1950's. Banquet followed quickly.
When I saw the Banquet package it looked cooler that their typical boring packaging - pastel colors instead of garish bright red. The big "new" on the package was the main draw for me - I'm used to Banquet's same old, same old.
The ingredient list is short, compared to their old school frozen dinners. And the serving size is a couple ounces less than the above mentioned meals. Plus, I was still expecting an over-processed entree.
It's a small meal in one bowl - just rice, chicken, broccoli and cheese sauce. I micowaved it according to the directions. After mixing the hot ingredients together, I took a bite. Surprise, surprise, it tasted delish!
You first taste the cheese sauce. While cheddar cheese is listed in the ingredients, it was too mild - more like American cheese. This is fine, but if you are going to advertise cheddar, then make it sharper. That is a small quibble though. There is a good amount and it is satisfying.
You also get a decent amount of plump white rice and it's not mushy. Banquet does a good job on the rice.
You get plenty of broccoli, although it's mainly stem pieces, which I like. They were not overcooked; there was some texture left. I noticed pieces of floret, but those fell apart when I mixed the bowl. I would have preferred larger florets. But the taste was fresh frozen, so no real complaints here.
But the biggest surprise was the inclusion of real chicken breast - not processed cubes of chicken baloney, like I expected. You could actually shred it apart. Now the chopped pieces were small and the amount was miniscule, but, hey, what do you expect for a buck?
While the serving size is small the flavors are big. Overall I was quite impressed - it makes a light lunch.
So on The 99 Cent Chef's Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give Banquet's Cheesy Rice and Chicken Deal of the Day a 7! I look forward to more tasty bowls that Banquet comes up with, and I will definitely be adding this to my office lunch menu, . Check back and I'll let you know how Banquet's new designer bowls rate.