— In honor of Swanson's TV dinner turning 50, Good Housekeeping magazine staffers tested four frozen single-serve turkey dinners and four frozen single-serve Salisbury steak dinners to see which were tastiest.
Swanson TV Dinners were introduced to Americans in 1953, when color TV was a dazzling new concept. Seven years later, the company stopped calling them TV dinners because they didn't want to discourage people from eating the meals anytime.
Good Housekeeping's 10 testers were asked to consider the meat and side dishes separately. Some of the meals came with desserts, but the testers did not like any of them.
There were some clear winners, though, in the steak and turkey dinner categories. Here they are:
Salisbury Steak Dinner Winners
Still good after all these years, Swanson's Hungry-Man Salisbury Steak ($3.10) tied for first place with Stouffer's Homestyle Dinner Salisbury Steak ($3.19).
Tasters lauded Swanson's "delicious, mushroom-y flavor" and "colorful carrots and beans with good texture," while Stouffer's won points for steak that "looks homemade" and "fresh-tasting" vegetables. Both the Swanson's and the Stouffer's steak dinners contain 470 calories.
Turkey Dinner Winners
Once again, Stouffer's Homestyle Dinners took first place, this time with its Roast Turkey Breast and Dressing ($3.19), which tied with Marie Callender's Complete Dinner Turkey Breast with Gravy and Stuffing ($3.31).
Good Housekeeping magazine testers praised both turkeys for their tenderness, but stuffing lovers should choose Marie Callender's for its delicious sage-y flavor. The Stouffer's turkey dish contained 410 calories, while Marie Callender's turkey contained 380 calories.
Chocolate Chip Champions
In another taste test, Good Housekeeping looked at ready-bake chocolate-chip cookies.
Most tasters preferred Nestle's Toll House Ultimates ($3.49 for 12, available at your grocery store) to cookies that were baked from scratch. The testers raved over the chewy, chocolate-y taste.
Other favorites were Najla's Gone Chunky Classic Chocolate Chunk cookies ($10.99 for six 4-ounce cookies, najlas.com), which contain dark Belgian chocolate chunks stuffed into a creamy cookie dough and Dancing Deer Chocolate Chip cookies, which feature rolled oats for a great texture (one 18-pack of Cookies, $12.95, dancingdeer.com).