Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Banquet Cheesy Rice and Chicken - Deal of the Day

Banquet is moving into the 21st Century with this light and tasty entree, Cheesy Rice and Chicken. On my rotating cheap office lunch menu is their Salisbury Steak and Turkey Dinner (click on the names to see my Deal of the Day review/ratings.) While these meals are not the best, the price is right at 99.99 cents (okay, one dollar.) But this turned out not to be the Banquet Deal of the Day I was dreading.

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.

1 comment:

oddlyme said...

Wait WHAT? Just 190 calories for all that goodness? I'm in!

I've had their mac and cheese from this new line and it was tasty as well. And oddly fresh tasting. So kudos to them!

But now I have to find that cheesy rice!

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