The Simple Way To Upgrade Your TV Dinner

Did you know there is a National TV Dinner Day? National Day Calendar says we should all be celebrating this occasion every September 10, since there's no denying that the first frozen meal was a real game changer when it was introduced back in 1953.  Swanson (manufacturers of that marvelous meal) took the sobriquet "TV Dinner" off the packaging in 1962, but by that time it had become a generic term akin to Kleenex or Xerox.

While there are several aisles in every supermarket devoted to the wonders of frozen dinners, we are referring specifically to anything meant to take the place of an entire meal, whether it be a multi-course dinner or a simple entrée such as a burrito or Hot Pocket (a brand name that's also well on its way to becoming a generic term for frozen sandwich). While most of these microwaveable meals are perfectly adequate when you want something quick and filling, they're not exactly gourmet fare. There is, however, one simple trick you can perform that will transform any frozen dinner into ... Well, something at least a little bit tastier. The "secret" can be expressed in just one word — embellishment.

How to embellish your frozen meal

What do we mean, embellishment? If we wanted to go with a two-word explanation, we could have said "dress up," instead, or maybe even "add stuff." So, like, what kind of stuff? Condiments are a pretty obvious choice. For example, if your frozen dinner consists of a burger and fries, add ketchup, duh. Hot sauce also makes everything better and cheese can be a game-changer too — not only atop the aforementioned burger, but with sandwiches, pasta dishes, soups, and just about anywhere you need some extra flavor, richness, and a dairy product you can actually identify. Speaking of dairy, sour cream would also make a great addition to a Mexican meal or could even lend a frozen stew a certain stroganoffish appeal.

Spoon University suggests that crushed or chopped nuts are a great way to upgrade frozen dishes involving chicken, although nuts could also work well with pork, fish, and Asian noodle dishes. Another suggestion of theirs is to add sautéed spinach, while Eat This, Not That! goes the healthy gourmet route by recommending you doll up your dinners with fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon or lime juice. As for frozen pizzas, just add your own pepperoni, pineapple, or whatever else you enjoy on your pizza, either before or after it comes out of the oven. Customize your frozen food however you like it, and you'll enjoy the convenience without having to make any sacrifices in the flavor department.