Andrew Zimmern's Frozen Dinners, Ranked

With food prices skyrocketing, people are turning from restaurants back to their homes. But some days, cooking a full-course meal just isn't in the cards. Seeing that, famous chefs have been launching new lines of frozen meals for the convenience of all. The latest in this trend is Andrew Zimmern. He has lent his name and likeness to a small line of "homestyle" meals available exclusively at Walmart and distributed by Golden West Food Group, the company responsible for Guy Fieri and Gordon Ramsay's frozen meals.

Andrew Zimmern is known for eating just about anything in his show "Bizarre Foods," but this line of products is relatively tame, encompassing some classic American meals that would be at home any day of the week. Zimmern has had a long and varied career with cookbooks, restaurants, and TV shows all under his belt. With all this, we had some high expectations for the meals he put his name on, so we decided to try all of them and see how they stack up.

4. Caramelized Onion Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

The name says it all: a pulled pork mac and cheese with caramelized onion sauce. From presentation to first taste, this frozen meal did not excel and only worsened. The color in this dish is completely washed out. The meat looks as though it has been boiled to death and is grey. The meal inside does not in any way resemble the pictures on the package, not only because it requires stirring to finish cooking but because the meat and cheese mix into a watery, globby, gray pool.

One bite confirmed our worst fears: it tasted as bad as it looked. The meat was flavorless, as was the cheese sauce. We know both were there. We could see them. But neither came through with any kind of pungency. We also could not taste the caramelized onions. They were definitely there in texture. The whole thing was just overall bland. We have to think about the common comment on cooking shows, many of which Zimmern has judged on, "Did you even taste this before it came out?"

3. Swedish Style Meatballs

The Swedish Style Meatballs meal is egg noodles and gravy with pork, beef, and chicken meatballs. Almost immediately, this one was already better than the Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese. This dish did at least bear a passing resemblance to the photo. We started with the meatballs. They were fine but a bit on the rubbery side. This texture is understandable, given that they were frozen and reheated in a microwave. The microwave is not always kind to certain kinds of food; it is a hazard of the trade.

The gravy was fine, though nothing to write home about, and the noodles were a little tough. The meal was unremarkable. What makes this meal all the more disappointing is comparing the ingredients in this meal to Zimmern's own recipe and seeing all the differences. Zimmern was not putting corn syrup solids in his meatballs, for example. We appreciate that Zimmern is trying to keep the meals affordable, but his Swedish Style Meatballs are not hitting their mark.

2. Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes

Finally, we have a meal with some color in it. While the Swedish Style Meatballs and the Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese became homogenous in color, the meatloaf meal actually feels like a whole meal with meat, starch, a vegetable, and vibrant colors. The peas and the mashed potatoes were fine, although both could have used some salt. The mashed potatoes, in particular, were creamy but were weakly seasoned.

The meatloaf was moist, and while it isn't exactly the way mother used to make it, it was perfectly acceptable for a frozen meal. It was, of course, topped with ketchup. Overall, this meal was perfectly fine. That being said, there just was not that much of it. The meatloaf, while decent, was small, and the mashed potatoes were not piled. The whole box only comes in at 500 calories, which is just not that much for what should be a hearty meal. If we are thinking about a nice Sunday dinner, part of that is not walking away hungry, which you might do with this.

1. Turkey Dinner

We don't know what Andrew Zimmern has against the images matching the product, but once again, it is not even close. The image and description show a serving of sliced roasted turkey with a side of mashed potatoes and a side of green beans, all topped with gravy. But upon opening the package, you find a bowl of those ingredients mixed together. Despite this somewhat false advertising, this meal was still our favorite, simply because it tasted the best.

The mashed potatoes in the meal were noticeably more flavorful than the ones in the meatloaf and came out a bit fluffier as well. The potatoes were creamier and buttery. The turkey was about as moist as you can hope for from a frozen meal. The gravy was perfectly fine. It was on par flavorwise with something you would buy at the grocery store.

Once again, we see that this meal is just not substantial. The entire package only has 300 calories. You would likely need at least two for dinner. If you have two, though, it is an acceptable substitute for cooking on a lazy day.

Again, none of these meals really give that homemade taste, but the Turkey Dinner brings flavor, color, and substance to the plate.