Which country fried chicken frozen meal is not garbage?
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Back when I was single, I had a favorite frozen meal; Claim Jumper’s Country Fried Chicken. It had a good size REAL chicken breast in great tasting mashed potatoes and white gravy with a half of a corn on the cob. Sadly, the Claim Jumper line of frozen meals was discontinued. But all turned out okay because around the same time, I ended up getting married and my wife made me start eating real food!
Recently, while working night shifts, I found myself awake all night on my days off from work, sitting in the basement playing Xbox and drinking Jack Daniel’s. I’d eventually get hungry, and I needed something quick and easy to eat that I could prepare without waking my wife up. Much to my delight that meant frozen dinners, in the microwave, in the basement. While trolling the frozen food aisles at the local Kroger grocery store, I loaded up with dinners that I liked, and Country Fried Chicken is a common meal made by several different frozen dinner brands. What I found though is that not all Country Fried Chicken meals are created equal. Some of them actually suck, a lot! Read on to see what meals I tasted and how they were.
Healthy Choice Country Fried Chicken
I have to say, I was very surprised with this selection. I figured it was going to absolutely suck! While it didn’t exactly knock my socks off, it was okay and I didn’t feel like I was going to throw it back up. The chicken patty was very obviously processed meat but it had an okay texture. The mashed potato and gravy mixture was a little too thick and had a paste like consistency. Over all, the entree section of this frozen meal wasn’t that bad, but it was a little on the bland side. The corn was a little rubbery and also very bland. It needed the addition of salt and pepper. It also had a side of spiced apples. The spiced apples were actually very good, but the serving size was absolutely pathetic, leaving me wanting more! Overall, it would have taken two of these meals to have satisfied me. But compared to the competition this meal is a healthier, albeit, bland choice.
- 330 Calories
- 3g Sat. Fat
- 500mg Sodium
- 10g Total Sugars
Stouffer’s Fried Chicken
I was a little excited with this once based on how it looked on the box. Whoever Stouffer’s hired to photograph the food for their boxes did a great job because the chicken turned out to not look anywhere near as appetizing in real life as it is on the box! Using a fork to cut into the chicken patty reveals an extremely processed chicken product that is very crumbly and sponge-like. When I describe it as sponge-like, I mean this chicken patty looked like a pale, white sponge. The texture wasn’t that great and it was on the dry side. However, the mashed potatoes were actually pretty good, as was the gravy. It could have used more gravy. More gravy would have offset the horrible, dry, sponge-like chicken! There were no additional side items in this meal and it would have taken three or four of these entrees for me to have felt satiated after eating them. On paper this one doesn’t look to be all that bad for you, but once you eat enough to feel full you’ve consumed some major calories and sodium!
- 350 Calories
- 4.5g Sat. Fat
- 950mg Sodium
- 2g Total Sugars
Marie Callender’s Country Fried Chicken & Gravy
The chicken from the Marie Callender’s Country Fried Chicken & Gravy had a great, realistic texture and flavor. The gravy was okay, but tasted like it was loaded with black pepper. The gravy and mashed potatoes were on the thick side, but overall not that bad, minus the load of black pepper. The corn was great! It had a nice buttery flavor and texture. When I first started eating the Marie Callender’s Country Fried Chicken & Gravy, I felt the black pepper flavor was way to much and made the meal crap. Over time, I got used to it, and it doesn’t bother me as much. It takes two of these meals, a combined 2300mg of sodium, to make me feel not hungry.
- 460 Calories
- 8g Sat. Fat
- 1150mg Sodium
- 3g Total Sugars
Banquet Chicken Fried Chicken
I am thankful the Banquet Chicken Fried Chicken meal wasn’t anything like portrayed on the box. Is that Elmer’s glue running off that chicken in the photo on the box? It certainly doesn’t look natural or appetizing to me! The chicken patty is very processed and is a little too soft in texture, but not awful. The mashed potatoes are VERY thin; this becomes a small issue because they are separate from the meat and gravy. When you use a fork to scoop them over to mix with the meat and gravy, the mashed potatoes run through the tines of the fork. The corn was also okay, just a little on the salty side. It will remind you of how loaded with sodium these meals are! Speaking of sodium; it takes two of these to feel full. That’s 2200mg of sodium!
- 330 Calories
- 3g Sat. Fat
- 1100mg Sodium
- 5g Total Sugars
Banquet Country Fried Chicken Bowl
This one was absolutely disappointing. It had such promise; a bowl of fried chicken pieces, mashed potatoes, corn, cheese, and gravy. But they used the wrong gravy! The gravy was weak thin, and flavorless; not the thick country style gravy it should have been. The gravy was so bad that my wife actually bought me little packets of white gravy to make and pour on this meal (probably so she could stop my complaining). I had to carefully spoon out the gravy it came with to replace it. A pain in the butt, but it made the meal more palatable. What a disappointment! I’d only eat one of these in a sitting, with something smaller to go with it. It’s a good thing because the sodium in these is off the chain!
- 450 Calories
- 6g Sat. Fat
- 1380mg Sodium
- 3g Total Sugars
None of these meals come close to holding a candle to the Claim Jumper Chicken Fried Chicken frozen meal with it’s real chicken breast, flavorful mashed potatoes and gravy, and real corn on the cob. I’d definitely categorize all of these in the Bad Food category, but if ranked, I’d say the Marie Callender’s Country Fried Chicken & Gravy and Banquet Chicken Fried Chicken are the better of the five frozen meals. After eating enough of them, I got past the over peppery flavor of the Marie Callender’s Country Fried Chicken & Gravy meal and it became my preferred version of this frozen dinner. But the bottom line, they’re all Bad Food. They’re all pretty unhealthy and overly processed. I’m glad I’m back on day shifts with my job, eating dinner at home with my wife again, and not eating frozen meals in my basement at 3:00 AM. Who knows; maybe in a future article I can detail how to make this dish from scratch the right way instead of the frozen meal way?
The take aways:
- The Claim Jumper Country Fired Chicken meal was damn good!
- All of these meals left a lot to be desired.
- The Marie Callender’s Country Fried Chicken & Gravy meal was the best of these, even though it was loaded with pepper.
- These meals have probably contributed to my arteries hardening in the worse way!
- Have you seen those sodium numbers!?!?!
- If it tastes good, it’s garbage for you. If it’s good for you, it tastes like garbage!
- Does anybody actually care? Probably not, but know you know what I think about Country Fried Chicken frozen meals!