The Simple Hack For Making Your Own TV Dinners

In 1955, the creator of the TV dinner sold 25 million of them — but today, many families have shied away from eating their last meal of the day out of microwaveable containers. While it's inevitable that we'll turn to a frozen dinner occasionally, nowadays, we understand that they can have tons of sodium and preservatives and lack nutritional value. Even worse, they don't usually taste that great.

But sometimes, we don't feel like cooking and don't want to dish out the dough to order delivery. The solution? Pre-made, homemade TV dinners. You can put these in a special category of meal prep since, unlike the weekly version that goes in the fridge, this variety is freezer-friendly and able to last more than a week. All you need to do is purchase a number of (this is key) quality, airtight, freezer-friendly, microwaveable containers and fill them with your favorite meals. Since you have control over the ingredients, you can pack your TV dinners with as many veggies and nutrient-dense foods as you please. And when it comes time to eat, you'll get a yummier, fresher-tasting meal than if you bought something from the frozen section at the grocery store.

What to include in a homemade TV dinner

Not sure where to start with your homemade TV dinner? Think along the lines of your favorite foods to meal prep. Start with a protein like chicken, fish, turkey, or steak, cook it up however you'd like (with whatever sauce or seasonings you'd favor), and portion it out so it's ready to freeze. For a simple option, buy a rotisserie chicken; for a nostalgic one, whip up and portion out homemade meatloaf. Just like with TV dinners back in the day and frozen dinners today, try to find reusable, microwaveable, freezer-safe containers that allow you to divide your food into different sections. That way, you can prevent the sauce or juice of your protein from seeping onto your sides.

In the remaining sections of your container, pick out one or two options for a grain and veggie that pairs well with your main. The grains could include rice, quinoa, pasta, or couscous, and the veggies could be broccoli, green beans, squash, carrots, peas, or potatoes. And, of course, these are just ideas to get you started — feel free to go rogue and incorporate a dessert or whip up complete entrees like fried rice, a stir fry, enchiladas, noodles, curry, or anything else you like. As long as you can freeze it and re-heat it successfully, it's fair game for a homemade TV dinner.