TV dinners

mccainMicrowaves are the best things. It’s amazing that in 10 minutes or less you can make a relatively nutritious meal: 7 minutes for the TV dinner and 3 minutes for the supplementary plate of green vegetables to add in the nutrients and roughage that McCains forgot to put in.

I’m only living like a bachelor temporarily as an interesting experiment. It seems like a lot of effort to cook a whole fresh meal for just yourself. So I’m road testing each of the McCains range. Gave up on Lean Cuisine after seeing that A Current Affair report that alleged they had dodgy flavour enhancers in them.

However you do realise after a while that TV dinners are made of the lowest quality possible ingredients. For example, the McCains Chicken Parmy is a bit too easy to cut with just a fork… ahh, that’s because it’s made of compressed chicken. And the veal cordon bleu… is there actually any real meat in that, or is it just meat-flavoured soy protein?

It’s quite funny to look at the picture on the box of the veal cordon bleu, actually. If you look closely, you can see a sort of wavy brown mush in the middle of the breadcrumbs, but it doesn’t look much like meat.

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38 Replies to “TV dinners”

  1. Maaate.

    I am going to have to send you some recipes. They won’t be much. But they’ll be a step up from this!

    You can be a bachelor, be lazy and still eat well.

    Renai

    News Journalist
    ZDNet Australia

  2. Maaate.

    I am going to have to send you some recipes. They won’t be much. But they’ll be a step up from this!

    You can be a bachelor, be lazy and still eat well.

    Renai

    News Journalist
    ZDNet Australia

  3. Hah πŸ™‚

    Well I’m a reasonable cook actually, I can make Spag Bol, Spag Steak Strips, Spag chicken fetta and olive, Spag marinara…

    It’s just that I can’t be bothered cooking them for myself.

    However having had McCains for my last four or five main meals, I reckon I might be compelled to cook something soon.

  4. Hah πŸ™‚

    Well I’m a reasonable cook actually, I can make Spag Bol, Spag Steak Strips, Spag chicken fetta and olive, Spag marinara…

    It’s just that I can’t be bothered cooking them for myself.

    However having had McCains for my last four or five main meals, I reckon I might be compelled to cook something soon.

  5. Yep, cooking for one is a right pain in the pantry.

    When I cook I like to use decent ingredients, nice and fresh, but buying almost anything in a decent portion for one is nigh on impossible — so you end up having to eat similar stuff for the next few days (boring) or just tossing it out (expensive and wasetful).

    That old bachelor routine of cooking a week’s worth of spag bol, then freezing dinner-sized prtions for each night? No thank you!

    Also, I don’t want to spend anything more than twice as long preparing/cooking a meal as I do eating it. Fast and easy does the trick for me. That’s one reason I like gnocchi, and why gnocchi pesto with pine nuts is a personal fave dish. Even so, don’t ask me to have it two nights in a row.

    So, bearing in mind all of the above, that’s why I tend to eat out most nights. There are enough places up the road at Crows Nest that I can have something different every night for two weeks. More expensive than cooking for myself? Yes, but there’s no wastage from ingredients going ‘off’, also no end of variety, a good 10m walk there and back, and it gets me out of the apartment.

  6. Yep, cooking for one is a right pain in the pantry.

    When I cook I like to use decent ingredients, nice and fresh, but buying almost anything in a decent portion for one is nigh on impossible — so you end up having to eat similar stuff for the next few days (boring) or just tossing it out (expensive and wasetful).

    That old bachelor routine of cooking a week’s worth of spag bol, then freezing dinner-sized prtions for each night? No thank you!

    Also, I don’t want to spend anything more than twice as long preparing/cooking a meal as I do eating it. Fast and easy does the trick for me. That’s one reason I like gnocchi, and why gnocchi pesto with pine nuts is a personal fave dish. Even so, don’t ask me to have it two nights in a row.

    So, bearing in mind all of the above, that’s why I tend to eat out most nights. There are enough places up the road at Crows Nest that I can have something different every night for two weeks. More expensive than cooking for myself? Yes, but there’s no wastage from ingredients going ‘off’, also no end of variety, a good 10m walk there and back, and it gets me out of the apartment.

  7. Dan, you BELIEVED something you saw on A Current Affair? Next you’ll plan your day with a horoscope! πŸ™‚

  8. Dan, you BELIEVED something you saw on A Current Affair? Next you’ll plan your day with a horoscope! πŸ™‚

  9. What an extraordinary coincidence. My horoscope said a wise telecoms insider would advise me on my dietary habits today. I thought it was odd when I read that… they’re usually a bit more general, like “you might or might not have a headache today, and within the next fortnight you will be paid an amount of money roughly equivalent to your fortnightly paypacket”, but this morning’s one was very specific, and what do you know…

  10. What an extraordinary coincidence. My horoscope said a wise telecoms insider would advise me on my dietary habits today. I thought it was odd when I read that… they’re usually a bit more general, like “you might or might not have a headache today, and within the next fortnight you will be paid an amount of money roughly equivalent to your fortnightly paypacket”, but this morning’s one was very specific, and what do you know…

  11. I remember the McCain additives story – it ran after the one about the “tenant from hell’s miraculous cancer recovery while collecting the dole for 15 years after their miracle diet business went broke leaving a family of 11 destitute”.

  12. I remember the McCain additives story – it ran after the one about the “tenant from hell’s miraculous cancer recovery while collecting the dole for 15 years after their miracle diet business went broke leaving a family of 11 destitute”.

  13. Haha not sure if you’re joking but I think that night there WAS a story about some cancer sufferer who had been trying to collect rent from a tennant or something.

    Think of all those people ‘tut-tutting’ over their TV dinners and then being told by ACA that their TV DINNER was corrupted too.

    “Tsk tsk!! What’s the world coming to!?”

  14. Haha not sure if you’re joking but I think that night there WAS a story about some cancer sufferer who had been trying to collect rent from a tennant or something.

    Think of all those people ‘tut-tutting’ over their TV dinners and then being told by ACA that their TV DINNER was corrupted too.

    “Tsk tsk!! What’s the world coming to!?”

  15. Dan, you can cook some really simple things really quick. I’m with you on the ‘can’t be buggered cooking for one’ thing, however if its quick and simple enough, and still tastes good, one can get over it. πŸ™‚

    Example:

    Chicken breast fillet (dice it up)
    Hokkein Noodles
    Kan Tong sauce of your choice (black bean is quite nice)
    Chop up some carrots, onions, capsicum, etc. whatever floats your boat.
    Chilli
    olive oil
    soy sauce

    Heat a wok with a little bit of oil and a dash of soy sauce, lightly cook the chicken, take it out, throw all the veges in and cook them a bit, then the noodles, then the sauce, and finally throw the chicken back in.

    If you cook enough it’ll last at least two meals, you can whip it up in about 10-15 minutes.

    This was part of my staple bachelor diet… and probably will be again sometime soon.

  16. Dan, you can cook some really simple things really quick. I’m with you on the ‘can’t be buggered cooking for one’ thing, however if its quick and simple enough, and still tastes good, one can get over it. πŸ™‚

    Example:

    Chicken breast fillet (dice it up)
    Hokkein Noodles
    Kan Tong sauce of your choice (black bean is quite nice)
    Chop up some carrots, onions, capsicum, etc. whatever floats your boat.
    Chilli
    olive oil
    soy sauce

    Heat a wok with a little bit of oil and a dash of soy sauce, lightly cook the chicken, take it out, throw all the veges in and cook them a bit, then the noodles, then the sauce, and finally throw the chicken back in.

    If you cook enough it’ll last at least two meals, you can whip it up in about 10-15 minutes.

    This was part of my staple bachelor diet… and probably will be again sometime soon.

  17. Just to make my point: dinner tonight for me will be chicken gado gado with steamed rice and a pot of jasmine tea… a mere $12 from a Thai place at Crows Nest, prepared fresh, very healthy, no throwing out out-of-date unused ingredients; and the 30 minutes I’d spend preparing, cooking and cleaning afterwards is turned into 30 healthy minutes of walking to Crows Nest and back. Toss in a late-night latte while I’m up there, and I’m set!

    Why on earth would I swap that for a meal at home, which would be nowhere near as good and cost only a meagre few dollars less by the time you allow for having all the ingredients fresh and on hand and allow for tossing out excess portions?

  18. Just to make my point: dinner tonight for me will be chicken gado gado with steamed rice and a pot of jasmine tea… a mere $12 from a Thai place at Crows Nest, prepared fresh, very healthy, no throwing out out-of-date unused ingredients; and the 30 minutes I’d spend preparing, cooking and cleaning afterwards is turned into 30 healthy minutes of walking to Crows Nest and back. Toss in a late-night latte while I’m up there, and I’m set!

    Why on earth would I swap that for a meal at home, which would be nowhere near as good and cost only a meagre few dollars less by the time you allow for having all the ingredients fresh and on hand and allow for tossing out excess portions?

  19. MK, have you ever read the Kan Tong or noodle packet label to see how much rubbish is in there? I’m guessing you’ll find any number of preservatives, colourings and flavourings which are only doing your body harm. I don’t think there’s an ounce of goodness in any of them. You might as well just eat the McCains and save yourself the hassle of cooking.

  20. MK, have you ever read the Kan Tong or noodle packet label to see how much rubbish is in there? I’m guessing you’ll find any number of preservatives, colourings and flavourings which are only doing your body harm. I don’t think there’s an ounce of goodness in any of them. You might as well just eat the McCains and save yourself the hassle of cooking.

  21. Hey don’t knock the hardy Kan Tong … there are way worse things out there.

    Anyone who’s ever lived at a university college or dorm knows what I am talking about.

    Anyone reading this thread ever bought packet noodles in bulk to avoid eating dorm food they’ve already paid for? *puts hand up*

    Renai

  22. Hey don’t knock the hardy Kan Tong … there are way worse things out there.

    Anyone who’s ever lived at a university college or dorm knows what I am talking about.

    Anyone reading this thread ever bought packet noodles in bulk to avoid eating dorm food they’ve already paid for? *puts hand up*

    Renai

  23. Ah but you see Michael, any amount of chopping up of chicken breast involves getting chicken goop on your hands, washing up dishes (or at least putting them in the dishwasher), cleaning out the frying pan…

    You see, you say “you can cook some really simple things really quick” but “simple and quick” is not “simplest and quickest” heh heh …

  24. Ah but you see Michael, any amount of chopping up of chicken breast involves getting chicken goop on your hands, washing up dishes (or at least putting them in the dishwasher), cleaning out the frying pan…

    You see, you say “you can cook some really simple things really quick” but “simple and quick” is not “simplest and quickest” heh heh …

  25. I have to say though, I don’t think I am going to by any McCains after I eat the last remaining chicken parmigiana in the freezer. My stomach is starting to turn at the thought of it.

    I’ll have to move on to frozen lasagnas. πŸ˜‰

    Just kidding. I cooked myself a large batch of nice healthy steak strip spaghetti last night… lots and lots of different vegies in the sauce. And chilli. mmmm…

  26. I have to say though, I don’t think I am going to by any McCains after I eat the last remaining chicken parmigiana in the freezer. My stomach is starting to turn at the thought of it.

    I’ll have to move on to frozen lasagnas. πŸ˜‰

    Just kidding. I cooked myself a large batch of nice healthy steak strip spaghetti last night… lots and lots of different vegies in the sauce. And chilli. mmmm…

  27. Thats fine Dan, if you want to be really lazy…. buy pre-cut chicken breast then. πŸ˜›

    You can pick it up in those plastic covered styrofoam containers from Woolworths (aka Safeway) or Coles.

  28. Thats fine Dan, if you want to be really lazy…. buy pre-cut chicken breast then. πŸ˜›

    You can pick it up in those plastic covered styrofoam containers from Woolworths (aka Safeway) or Coles.

  29. Hahahaa, well now if you’re going to be all clever about this, may I point out that the pre-cut stuff is almost always chicken thigh, not breast, which I find a bit offputting because it has a sort of spongey consistency. Better at absorbing flavours though, admittedly.

  30. Hahahaa, well now if you’re going to be all clever about this, may I point out that the pre-cut stuff is almost always chicken thigh, not breast, which I find a bit offputting because it has a sort of spongey consistency. Better at absorbing flavours though, admittedly.

  31. Frozen dinners? Mate, this can’t be good for quality long term.
    As it happens I’m batching at the moment too. Come on over and I’ll show you how to get some stuff done in the kitchen in a flash.
    Then you can put the kids to bed πŸ™‚
    (never too soon to figure that stuff out)

  32. Frozen dinners? Mate, this can’t be good for quality long term.
    As it happens I’m batching at the moment too. Come on over and I’ll show you how to get some stuff done in the kitchen in a flash.
    Then you can put the kids to bed πŸ™‚
    (never too soon to figure that stuff out)

  33. I bought a few of these so called “easy meals” from McCains. What a disaster!! If you can find 3 little blocks of meat in any of their dishes, you are lucky! It’s the biggest scam I have ever come across in my entire life. And I intend, or are doing it already, telling all my friends of what a ripp off this is!! Sorry but you failed terribly in trying to make a meal. THe only one that had something proper inside, was the cottage pie, but NONE, whatsoever of the others were worth my money

  34. I bought a few of these so called “easy meals” from McCains. What a disaster!! If you can find 3 little blocks of meat in any of their dishes, you are lucky! It’s the biggest scam I have ever come across in my entire life. And I intend, or are doing it already, telling all my friends of what a ripp off this is!! Sorry but you failed terribly in trying to make a meal. THe only one that had something proper inside, was the cottage pie, but NONE, whatsoever of the others were worth my money

  35. I agree with you Annie. I bought a McCains frozen roast lamb dinner for lunch today. What a total waste of money. The picture on the box was NOT what was inside. Isn’t there some sort of law about false advertising. On the packet it shows a picture of the meal with REAL roast lamb. Imagine my horrer when I ripped off the plastic cover and discovered MANUFACTURED meat cut into perfect circles and looking just like fried sausage. It looked bloody awful and was otally tasteless and bland. At least the chooks ate it ’cause 3 different dogs wouldn’t touch it. Just proves that dogs are smarter then chooks and also most humans. Iv’ learned my lesson. Never again.

  36. I agree with you Annie. I bought a McCains frozen roast lamb dinner for lunch today. What a total waste of money. The picture on the box was NOT what was inside. Isn’t there some sort of law about false advertising. On the packet it shows a picture of the meal with REAL roast lamb. Imagine my horrer when I ripped off the plastic cover and discovered MANUFACTURED meat cut into perfect circles and looking just like fried sausage. It looked bloody awful and was otally tasteless and bland. At least the chooks ate it ’cause 3 different dogs wouldn’t touch it. Just proves that dogs are smarter then chooks and also most humans. Iv’ learned my lesson. Never again.

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