I am a big fan of country fried anything whether chicken, steak, or pork tenderloin. A little mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn and I am sold. Well, after a stroll down the freezer section at the local Meijer, I stumbled across several Marie Calender’s microwave meals on display. I was a little burned out on the lean cuisine and Stouffer line so I opted for something different, and went with the country fried chicken and gravy by Marie Calender. Every few weeks, I usually stock up on a few frozen meals for quick and easy lunches at work or keep as spares in my office freezer just in case it is a late night. The ability to microwave a meal is also very convenient when there is not much time to get away from the desk.
Microwaving this particular meal was not as convenient as one would believe. The steps involved with preparing this meal involved cutting a slit here and there, and placing the separate gravy packet on top of the meal tray as it cooked. Half way through the cooking process, I had to peel back the plastic film and stir the potatoes, I then had to turn the chicken patty around and tear open the gravy and pour over entire meat and potatoes. This switch around and tear process took a minute or two and then the product was heated again for additional minutes before resting in the microwave. All in all, the preparation of this microwave meal was not so convenient.
The first taste of the chicken was somewhat appealing. The likable taste of the chicken and potatoes was largely attributed to the good quality gravy that smothered almost the entire meal. For a TV dinner, this gravy had a good hint of pepper and a very nice consistency. Though the chicken tasted okay, the texture and firmness were lacking. I would guess that preparing this meal in the conventional oven would be better suited for heating up this country fried chicken filet. The potatoes were of almost watered down slurry due to exposure of steam coming from the neighborly corn sitting in the compartment next door. It is hard to fault Marie Calendar with the soupy potatoes. I am not sure any frozen food manufacturer has quite figured out how to produce a quality mashed potato that can be cooked in the microwave. The corn was loose and not on the cob like I have seen with other Marie Calender fried chicken dinners. Overall this vegetable was quite delicious and appeared surprisingly still firm to the bite.
The Marie Calender’s Country Fried Chicken and Gravy meal is sold in a 16 ounce serving size and the portions are relatively decent. The meal contains 570 calories and a high twenty seven grams of fat which I am sure is due to the very delicious gravy. The caution flag with this meal is the 1340 milligrams of sodium. This meal will probably be presentable for a lunch, but will leave one hungry for dinner. I would like to see this meal add a small berry or peach cobbler and tack on another couple hundred calories.
The box of Marie Calender’s Country Fried Chicken and Grave set me back $2.79. This price is considered average for a microwave meal but definitely good for this brand. Perhaps it was the store I was shopping at that I thought this price was decent since I have seen Marie Calender meals be much pricier at other locations.
I have to consider this meal to be average at best. I definitely will not purchase this meal as a microwave choice again. The soggy chicken and potato mess was too much to deal with given the different steps involved during the microwave preparation. If I am yearning for country fried chicken and gravy I will most likely indulge on the weekends and prepare the meal myself or pay a visit to Cracker Barrel restaurant.