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How to Pair Frozen Dinners with Wine

How to Pair Frozen Dinners with Wine

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Set the scene: You live alone or else your significant other is away or out for the evening. You’ve had a long day and you’re hungry. You slide open the freezer and grab your favorite frozen dinner. You pop it in the microwave, hit cook. While you’re waiting, you think to yourself, "Self, I’d like some wine with my frozen dinner. Is that crazy?"

It’s not. It’s beyond sane in fact. Frozen dinners deserve good wine picks, too. So we did some legwork for you, tasting meals and bowls and wine and dinners and wine. We focused on three popular frozen brands (Amy's Kitchen, Kashi, and Lean Cuisine) all calorically in check, and some organic. And if you’re eating a frozen dinner for its built-in portion control, remember a glass of wine is 150 calories. Here’s where we landed:

Barone Fini Valdadige Pinot Grigio 2011 (Trentino-Alto Adige) Italy) $12

Amy’s Pesto bowl is full of basil flavor. We tried it with both red and white and found this pinot grigio was flavorful, yet mild enough to complement this bowl. Lean Cuisine’s Spa Collection’s Szechuan Stir Fry pairs well with this white, too, as did the same label’s Salmon with Basil.

De Martino 347 Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Central Valley, Chile) $14

Since a lot of the frozen section has organic offerings, we thought you should drink organic carbon neutral sometimes, too, which this cabernet is. Broccoli & Cheddar is an Amy’s Bowl of big cheesy goodness and it warrants a big, bold cab like this one. Kashi’s Thin Crust Four Cheese pizza holds up with this cabernet as well.

Torre del Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso 2010 (Veneto, Italy) $15

The Amy’s Stuffed Pasta Shells are smothered in red sauce and so it made sense to stay in Italy for this pairing. Same with Lean Cuisine’s Tuscan-Style Vegetable Lasagna and Kashi’s Chicken Pasta Pomodoro.

The Hedonist Shiraz 2010 (McLaren Vale, Australia) $20

Kashi makes a Mayan Harvest Bake with kale and beans. Anything with kale should be countered with a wine labeled Hedonist. If you’re eating the Amy’s Vegetable Parmesan Bowl, you’re probably doing enough good for your body, so also a good match.

Ruta 22 Malbec 2011 (Patagonia, Argentina) $13

Lean Cuisine’s simple beef pot roast or Amy’s Mexican Casserole are flavorful, but not overwhelmingly spicy or rich. Both go well with the little bit of smoke found in our malbec pick.

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This recipe came out awesome! I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter. However, I did add fresh thyme to the red wine reduction, and sauteed some white mushrooms with the shallots, as well. Served with julienned carrots and string beans and twice-baked potatoes.

This recipe came out awesome! I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter. However, I did add fresh thyme to the red wine reduction, and sauteed some white mushrooms with the shallots, as well. Served with julienned carrots and string beans and twice-baked potatoes.

This is my absolute favorite recipe for those special dinner for two occasions. I pair it with steamed asparagus and my Savory Potato Bites: using 2 c. leftover mashed potatoes, add 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 c. shredded cheddar, 1/4 c. bacon bits (3 slices crumbled) 1/2 c. scallions /chives, finely chopped and salt & pepper as desired. Mix all of the above together and form into balls. Dip balls in 1 beaten egg, then roll in 1 cup Italian bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 c parmesan cheese. Fry in preheated oil for about 2 min. Until golden brown.

I added fresh thyme and sliced portibello mushrooms to the shallots. This recipe is a 10!

I prepared the meat exactly as specified in the recipe, and it was terrific. Will be making this again over Christmas holidays!

We love this recipe, although this time I'm adding tarragon as another chateau recipe called for. Serving with duchess potatoes from another site ( and peas. I am cooking it in a separate roaster in the oven this time, too, since like a few other reviewer I severely burned my hand the last time because I, too, grabbed the handle to saute the shallots, forgetting that it had been in the oven. Keep meaning to get one of those silicon sleeves for my pans, but haven't yet so better safe than sorry.

I've made it over 4 times and everyone loves it! Served it with haricot vert and Sweet potatoes with scallion butter. Read More

I love the recipe. I did add mushrooms with the shallots and herbes de provence that i purchased in france and a pinch of sea salt to the saute process. The HDP was the perfect addition. ps.. they make a little potholder that slips directly on the handle of the skillet.. I purchased this after grabbing a hot handle a few years ago.

We made this in the oven the first time, and it was great, however, since then we have made it on the bbq, with the sauce on the side. We actually prefer it on the grill, because of the issue of smoke coming from the oven, and the sauce doesn't seem to suffer from the lack of fat from browning the meat. It's a great "surf and turf" with Grilled Oregano Shrimp.

good..but I improvised with demi glaze and did not use red wine but finished it tableside ..flambed brandy..very nice

Followed the recipe exactly. I gave it three forks because I'm hoping someone will play around with it to help give input as to what's missing. It's good, but it's not great. Needs an herb maybe. The flavor isn't quite there. Might try it with sauteed garlic and fresh thyme added to everything else next time. Iɽ make it again though with some tweaking.

the best recepie ever! My husband loves this. I made it for him on our first valentines day. Remember to be careful that the pan stays hot for a long time and that it is super easy to burn yourself (I have done it several times).. this recepie is amazing and anyone who appreciates good beef will LOVE it. I am making it again tonight with smaller cuts of beef to celebrate the elections!!

please let me just say this is my husbands favi=orite dish. I made it for him for our first valentines day and BE CAREFUL I burned the **** out of my hand because I forgot the pan had been in the oven**** he has asked me to make it several times again for him. I am making it tonight to celebrate the new election.

One of our goals at Foodlets is making fresh, wholesome food easy and fun for your whole family. This part’s just for the rascals.

  • Spinach is an easy crop to grow in the garden. It doesn’t grow well in hot weather, but grows best during cool, rainy spring weather.
  • During World War I, spinach juice was added to wine and given to soldiers who had been injured. The reason is that spinach is good for building blood.
  • Spinach was probably first cultivated in Persia (now called Iran). It spread to Europe during the Middle Ages (about 400 AD to 1200 AD) and has always been known for its health benefits.

Just for laughs

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You can grow spinach without any dirt at all. Instead the spinach grows in water. Find out how.

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To saute shrimp, you will need a few simple ingredients:

  • Minced garlic
  • Salt or soy sauce
  • White wine
  • Ground black pepper
  • Parsley

If you have big shrimp, you can slice the shrimp into halves. This will make sure that the shrimp are perfectly sauteed and cooked in a jiffy. Do not overcook the shrimp as they might turn rubbery.

What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Marsala

Marsala is a brandy-fortified wine from Sicily that is 100% worth adding to your pantry, if only to make this dish time and again. It will keep in a cool, dry spot for months.

I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and pound them thin myself, as opposed to using the ultra-thin sliced cutlets sold at the supermarket, since pounding tenderizes the meat. This adds an extra step but you can save time by using pre-sliced mushrooms. (And you can skip all this hassle by using chicken tenderloins.)

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (10-oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • Assorted crackers

Stir together first 8 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 18 minutes or until about one-fourth of liquid remains. Remove from heat, and cool 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs, sage leaves, and cinnamon stick.

Place cream cheese on a serving platter. Spoon desired amount of cranberry mixture over cream cheese. Serve with crackers.

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce

Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch). Discard plastic wrap. Using sharp knife, score skin in 3/4-inch diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh). DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Step 2

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck with salt and pepper. Add duck, skin side down, to skillet and cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts and 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm, and let rest 10 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Step 5

With the duck, pour a medium-bodied red from Spain's Rioja region. We like the Viña Santurnia 2005 Crianza Rioja ($13), which has black cherry flavors and smoky notes.

How would you rate Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce?

Awesome. I cooked it a bit differently but otherwise made according to the recipe. I used my Weber Kettle grill. Built a fire with a single charcoal holder of briquettes. I heated a cast iron frying pan over the coals with a bit of butter. I did not pound the breasts but rather just scored the skin with a knife . I seared the breasts skin side down in the frying pan for about 3 minutes to get some fat and start the browning process. I took the breasts out of the pan and put on the indirect side of the grill. I used an IGrill to monitor the temperature of each breast. . I roasted them to a temp of 130 and then moved them over the direct heat skin side down to finish crisping up the skin., moving them off the heat anytime a flare up started. After several minutes of juggling the breasts got up to 135 degrees and they no longer flared up. Off the grill they came and I made the sauce per the recipe in pan I used to sear the breasts. Yumm! I did not find this sauce at all too sweet. And I hate overly sweet sauces on meat.I used local honey (in the days of COVID19 , I am not wandering through stores looking for orange blossom honey and one of the few things in the frozen food section was actually frozen dark cherries. ). Birthday dinner for my wife . She loved it.

This was an amazing recipe, everything just worked perfectly. One tip that I did to cut through the sweetness and fat of the sauce and the duck was by adding fig infused balsamic vinegar and some orange zest, it made everything just that much better. Either way, this is definitely a recipe I see myself making again.

This is a superb recipe. I only had ruby Port in the liquor stash so I used that. I still had some fresh cherries in he fridge. Orange blossom honey is findable in the northeast but it’s not common i used regular local honey. I used a single 16 oz duck breast and cooked it the way I have been very successful in the past. (Not pounded thin, seared skin side down and then lower the temp so it barely sizzles, in this case 25 minutes, flip for 2.5 minutes, remove and let rest). Others commented this was too sweet. I hate cloying sweet entrees. This was not . It was perfect balance and I had extra sauce.

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