“it’s like a TV dinner, but real!”

by Janetha on October 11, 2010

in meals,moves

i know, two posts in one day? what’s come over me? actually i have a secret.. i typed up this morning’s post yesterday. i had a lot of free time on my hands while marshall was watching football for ten hours. ugh. gross.

for the record, the boy is really depressed. it’s bad. he is sad about the packers losing.. what a way to start his birthday week. yes, i said birthday week. his birthday is not until saturday, but we are celebrating all week long. on the upside, he did inform me of five dinners he would like me to make this week.. so that makes meal planning a breeze. on the downside, i have a feeling he is going to use the fact that it is almost his birthday to his advantage. read: i am going to be waiting on him hand and foot ;)


anyway, about the title. that’s a direct quote from marshall.  he said that about last night’s dinner.  it reminded him of a TV dinner.. but, sure enough, was made from all the right stuff. it was real and it was real good!



roasted turkey breast with gravy, steamed carrots & broccolini and roasted red potatoes & butternut squash.

i have to tell you the truth.. this was my very first time cooking a butternut squash! i grew up hating squash and so i never had it at home.. and then the only time i did eat it was when i was out to restaurants. 


i snagged one for a buck at the farmers’ market on saturday and last night, my butternut squash virginity was taken. that sounds dirty, get your minds out of the gutter.


i had no idea if i was supposed to peel it. i was too lazy to consult google, so i peeled it just in case.IMG_0944

diced it.


and then tossed it in my amazing clay vegetable roaster along with diced red potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and trader joe’s 21 seasoning salute.


this clay roaster is incredible. my  mom gave it to me years ago, but i had it in storage along with 12 other kitchen appliances i didn’t have room for. now that i have a house of my own, i get to use all my fun kitchen things!IMG_0951

i roasted two turkey breasts at the same time as the vegetables, so the oven was only at 350 degrees. i wish i had two ovens so i could cook things at two separate temperatures.. oh well, that’s one for the dream kitchen!  i ended up roasting the turkey breasts for 40 minutes and the veggies for an hour. i uncovered them for the last 10 minutes.. they turned out perfect.


the butternut squash was a success! not bad for a first timer.


the nice part about this meal is that while it took about an hour to cook, the prep work involved was maybe 10 minutes. max. i just had to dice the starches, steam the veggies, prepare the gravy and carve the turkey breasts.  a super simple, nice, home cooked meal. no TV dinners here.

IMG_0958 IMG_0966 IMG_0964 IMG_0965

although i have to tell you, marshall DID eat it in front of the TV.. couldn’t miss a minute of that football game! (groan.)

speaking of TV dinners..something i do while trying to think of ideas for dinner is walk down the TV dinner aisle. i never buy the dinners, but i just look at the main dishes and the side dishes they come with. they really do serve a purpose when it comes to good dinner ideas! next time you are drawing a blank at the store, take a trip down the frozen food aisle and there will be a world of possibilities.

because i am a little out of whack on the posting schedule, i will go ahead and tell you about today real quick. mmk?

something i haven’t mentioned is that we started going to the original pancake house again for our sales meeting every monday! we took a break there for awhile because breakfast for the whole sales force is pricey, and we were watching the budget. but things are going good so we are back to the breakfasts.

this morning i got my usual. i know some of you haven’t forgotten about my monday morning meal!

coffee & water.


oatmeal & eggbeaters.

oatmeal topped with cinnamon & sugar free syrup..


and eggbeaters doused in cholula hot sauce.


i missed monday morning breakfasts. i am sure i will get bored with them again soon enough ;)

for today’s lunch, i used some of last night’s leftover turkey to create a delicious pita.IMG_0978

take a peek.


4 ounces of diced turkey breast, lots of spinach and a wedge of laughing cow bleu cheese, all stuffed inside a western company wheat pita. the bleu cheese is my new favorite flavor of laughing cow! so good. i heated it in the microwave so it got all melty & delicious.


growing up, i ate a similar sandwich. it was on a hoagie bun with sliced turkey, mayo, lettuce and crumbled blue cheese—all heated in the microwave. this pita really took me back in time! it was funny, because i was reminiscing about childhood meals earlier today while reading julie’s breakfast post.

can’t forget the veggies & homemade hummus on the side.


my snack today was a honeycrisp apple from the farmers’ market and a mini babybel cheese. for some reason, every time i eat the apple & babybel combo, i think of katie.


earlier today, i was searching my archives for my pumpkin chili recipe. i came across the post with the recipe and it also had a killer cardio workout that i did back when i was getting in shape for jamaica. so, for my workout today, i stole my own workout! ha.

after a whole weekend off from exercise, this workout was welcomed with open arms. i get antsy.


minute # speed (MPH) intensity (RPE scale)
0-1 4.0 level 4
1-2 4.5 level 4
2-3 5.0 level 5
3-4 5.5 level 5
4-5 6.0 level 6
5-6 6.5 level 6
6-7 7.0 level 7
7-8 7.5 level 8
8-9 8.0 level 9
9-10 8.5 level 10
10-20 repeat minutes 0-10 see above
20-30 repeat minutes 0-10 see above
30-35 4.0 cool down

total time: 35 minutes, total distance: 3.35 miles


minute # level orientation
0-1 8 facing front
1-2 8 facing right
2-3 8 facing back
3-4 8 facing left
4=5 6 facing front
5-6 6 facing right
6-7 6 facing back
7-8 6 facing left
8-9 7 facing front
9-10 7 facing right
10-11 7 facing back
11-12 7 facing left
12-13 8 facing front
13-14 8 facing right
14-15 8 facing back
15-16 8 facing left

total time: 16 minutes, total distance: 1.46 miles

lovely! i should check my old posts for workout ideas more often ;)

well, i have to go get started on dinner, AKA marshall’s first dinner request of his birthday week. i am making chicken piccata.


1. do you like TV dinners? did you when you were growing up? i don’t eat them now, but i LOVED Kid Cuisine when i was growing up. whenever i had to get a babysitter, i begged my mom for a Kid Cuisine. i also LOVED those 99 cent totinos  pepperoni pizzas. you know, the ones with the square pepperonis? i would eat a whole pizza after school. nowadays, the only things i buy from the freezer section is waffles, veggies and (of course) vanilla bean ice cream. i hear kashi has some decent frozen meals, maybe i will have to try them.

2. what was the last new-in-your-kitchen food you prepared? mine was the butternut squash. i want to get some parsnips and experiment with them soon!

xo. janetha g.

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eatingmachine October 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm

i loved those frozen pot pies-do they count as a tv dinner?
i used to eat the rice and beans lean cuisine as part of my meals when i worked in high school-i was too lazy to make things, so i would stop at the grocery store near work and get one of those and a piece of fruit. it’s actually pretty tasty.

janetha October 11, 2010 at 10:05 pm

YES they totally count! I used to eat tons of those Marie Callendars pot pies.

Marg October 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I love that idea to get inspiration. I lived on frozen meals for a long time. I remember the pot pies and frozen pizza rolls. I really like the Kashi Mayan Harvest one w/sweet potatoes and black beans.

janetha October 11, 2010 at 10:05 pm

thanks for the suggestion!

Naomi(onefitfoodie) October 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm

bahh i acutally am a bit scared of tv dinners! my mom always cooked so I never grew up eating it, but hey to each his own right??

omg that b-nut squash looks so delicious and I am obsessed with that iron cooking tool! my mom has one like that too!! I think its a mom thing, they always have the best gadgets especially when it comes to cooking!

ahh I missed your morning breakfast meeting breakfasts! haha, i know you love the sweet and savory combo so that looks PERFECT for you!!!

I want to try BISON!!!!

Lauren October 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Your first time with Butternut?!?! Really? You did fantastic! I know the initial prep is always the hardest part. Truth be told, I usually opt for the pre cut squash at the store. It’s so lazy I know, but butchering that thing kind of scares me!

Toly goes into slight depressive states when his Eagles loose too. Really, I can’t be around him if they are loosing. It starts to make me depressed too.

Have a fantastic rest of your night love.

Texas Gunslinger October 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Right on with the Kid Cuisines! I used to get those, too, on weekends if we had a sitter! Didn’t it have a penguin on the box? I loved the one with the miniature brownie HAHA!

That looks like my kinda workout! I’m impressed you go “backwards” on the stairmill. That would be interesting for me to try (and probably interesting for others to watch HAHA!) I’ll jog backwards and sideways on the treadmill, but would think the stairmill would be a bit harder…hmm, maybe I’ll just find out for myself tomorrow:)

janetha October 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

YES the one with the penguin. I loved the crud out of those brownies.

actorsdiet October 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm

i was OBSESSED w tv dinners growing up. since my mom cooked mostly chinese, to me and my confused cultural first-generation self, tv dinners represented “american.” yours looks awesome!

Rachael October 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

KID CUISINE! Ah, how I loved those. The little pinkie-sized brownie concoction was the highlight of the meal for me.
And let’s not forget Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese – ruined me for the Kraft stuff.

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm

It does remind me of a TV dinner….but much more appetizing. And isn’t butternut squash good?

katie October 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Haha that is totally a TV dinner- but I would SO EAT THAT! oh my gosh!!! love squash these days too!

Stefanie @thenewhealthy October 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I just used lentils tonight and it was my first time using them! I made a lentil veggie salad. It turned out really good!

lisaou11 October 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm

oh kid cuisines! I loved those! i loved the nasty lil pizza and those rubbery desserts they had!

I can’t think of the last new thing I’ve tried—guess I need to try something new then huh?!

Hey–I made that Baked Turkey Cheese Ziti from Dancia tonight! yum, and of course, Sean approves!

thetwentyfifthyear October 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Oh those Kid Cuisines were in full freezer force whenever my grandparents came to stay with us! I still look at them longingly whenever I take a trip down the aisle. I am sucker for kids’ food.

I’m obsessed with making spaghetti squash right now -it’s my newest thing in the kitchen. Add some pesto sauce and pine nuts and you have satisfied me!

BroccoliHut October 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm

What a beautiful meal!
I never had any Kid Cuisine as a kid, but I always loved the nights when my mom would make Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. YUM!

Sarah October 11, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I hate frozen dinners :[ Blech. One time, I ate a frozen dinner with shrimp in it. I immediately regretted that decision. I used to love Lean Cuisine’s macaroni and cheese… Except that it’s not real cheese. And my mom’s homemade baked mac and cheese blew that crap out of the wata’ :] I’ve tried Kashi’s frozen dinners. They’re not bad, but they’re not quite good either.

Last new-in-my-kitchen-except-it-was-the-boyfriend’s-parent’s-kitchen-because-we-don’t-have-a-stove-yet (holy mouth-full) was an acorn squash. I just used it tonight actually. I sliced it, and cooked it up on the stove with some fresh green beans in a little (aka alot) of honey, some brown sugar, garlic salt, and pepper. Then I spied some rice leftover from everyone else’s dinner, and threw that in too. Oh my delicious. It was like this bourbon chicken and rice that I used to eat in high school, and panda express had a very healthy love-child.

Happy birthday to your boy!

edenseats October 11, 2010 at 11:26 pm

As a kid I hated cheese (I still sorta do, dont kill me) and so I loved stouffer’s macaroni and beef. Its so bad for you! I also loved those microwavable churros.

I ask my favorite chef instructor in culinary school what his ideal meal was and it was the stouffer’s mac n cheese and their pizza bread. This chef used to feed the president and this was his favorite meal!

I dont eat many frozen meals these days, is it me, or are they like really small???

I’ve recently been into squashes as well! Acorn, delicata, carnival, might as well while they are in season!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 12, 2010 at 2:05 am

“while marshall was watching football for ten hours. ugh. gross.”–

Omg I was JUST TALKING with scott bout this and also my tattoo artist. Scott watches The Bears. That’s it. No college, no other NFL. Just the bears thank god. But any more than 3 hrs at a time and im wondering how they do it…like how is it possible to just there for that long?! Well, hey, at least Marshall likes it and since there are no kids that need to be played with or diapers to be changed, hey, enjoy for as long as possible.

Thanks for the compliments on my tatt. I know you’re not a fan, but thanks for the praise :)

your Pace appetizer. Nice. Looks pretty darn tasty there Miss J!

Oh and I booked it. Keeping it low key for awhile tho :) CAn’t wait to see you!

MelissaNibbles October 12, 2010 at 2:43 am

I didn’t have a tv dinner until I was in college. I lived on Lean Cuisine’s. So healthy right? hahaha!

Erica October 12, 2010 at 5:17 am

awwwww! Happy Birthday week to the man! What a way to kick it off. Beautiful dinner. I love all squash…but I hate peeling it- so I usually just roast it up in the oven and stuff it up with goodness :) Your breakfast out looks good to me. I went to Charleston’s cafe this weekend and did not get a parfait! I got egg beaters and a sweet potato biscuit- a delicious change. I was a huge Kid Cuisine fan when I was little. My Mom used to let me get one when her and my dad had date night and we had a babysitter (which was rare). I remember eating those fake brownies with the sprinkles haha.

Abby October 12, 2010 at 6:29 am

But where’s the little “cobbler” smashed in the corner that used to come with all those TV dinners? Ech!

I never really ate them growing up, but I went thorough a “Healthy Choice” phase in high school, mostly out of laziness. These days I do love Amy’s Organic frozen meals at least once a week, as they’re delicious, healthy-ish (organic, at least) and perfect for a party of one. However, they get a bit pricey, but they’re worth it!

P.S. Don’t be hating on sports, woman ;)

Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 12, 2010 at 6:37 am

I cut open my first bnut squash this weekend too, and even though it’s way more expensive, I’m sticking to pre-cut for now. I have a fear of the huge knives necessary to cut them open!!

OMG as a kid I was obsessed with Ellio’s pizza. OBSESSED.

Di October 12, 2010 at 6:42 am

Your dinner looks great! And that’s a brilliant idea about the frozen dinner aisle…I’m totally going to start doing that. Thanks!

I used to eat a Lean Cuisine flatbread every Friday while I was on my last “diet” and it actually kinda worked because it was enough of an indulgence that it satisfied my weekly craving for a gooey, cheesy sandwich. They don’t make ’em anymore, and I don’t eat LCs anymore anyway, so I’ve gotta start making my own or something.

But as kids we ate Ellio’s pizzas. SO GOOD. I’m not sure I ever ate a Kid Cuisine but I know for a fact I asked my mom to buy them! (She wouldn’t. )

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) October 12, 2010 at 6:55 am

Birthday week, bahahah! I love it. Marshall knows how to get the good stuff :P

That dinner looks delicious- WAY better than a TV-dinner! :)

I used to LOVE TV-dinners. And I ate way too many of them as a kid. I loved Kid Cuisines, and then when I was a bit older I used to love Marie Callender’s fettucine alfredo. My mom used to let us have them maybe once every couple of weeks? Yuck.

Now, I do like the Kashi meals and Amy’s meals and have them oh, maybe two or three times a year? And I always bulk them up with extra veggies!!

New-to-me-food? Kabocha squash! I roasted the whole baby and it was gone in a week! Delicious!


thedelicateplace October 12, 2010 at 7:17 am

confession: i never even heard of kid cuisine! my husband made homemade pitas for his lunches this week and broke our pizza stone haha. i had no idea how easy they were to make! my latest new thing is pattypan & carnival squash. i really haven’t met a squash i didn’t like and i have spaghetti squash with EVOO/nooch at least 1x a week haha

Freckled Foodie October 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

i wasn’t one for tv dinners, but I DID used to love those frozen pot pies as a kid! the ones you microwave and serve. :)

the last new food i’ve tried to prepare was peanut flour, i think!

GetHealthyWithHeather October 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

I was all about those mini pizzas growing up too! Not anymore though, now I go for my own homemade freezer meals.

katecooks October 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

i was never allowed to eat frozen tv dinners! i think the one time i had one, i thought it was pretty gross anyway. although, i used to eat frozen ellios pizza or the frozen pizza rolls all the time for lunch. loved that stuff! the kashi meals that i’ve had are pretty good, but for the price, i feel like i could make something similar myself :) sometimes i will get a lean cuisine three cheese ravioli bowl with veggies. i got hooked on those for a while, but now i am trying to steer clear and just have a few on hand for lunches when i know its either that or going out!

Steph October 12, 2010 at 10:07 am

Dinner looks excellent! Let’s not talk about football – Packers were not the only losers this weekend (bah the Cowboys are horrible! and my Cheifs, ugh).

Speedy Gonzales rocking the 8.5 mph minute sprints! May have to give it a try :) Fingers crossed True Blood arrives in the mail so I will have no excuses not to hop on the treadmill.

Healthy Coconut October 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Growing up we ate a lot of lunchables, we would stock up when it went on sale and then some days eat them for lunch and dinner.

I try to cook at home most days or cook a batch on weekends and eat leftovers the whole week. But I do have some Lean Cuisine frozen TV dinners for emergencies. Lately, I haven’t had to eat them yet. They are small though so I usually add more rice to them.

Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) October 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm

My brother and I always loved Saturday nights home alone – frozen chicken pot pie’s and Walker Texas Ranger… :)

cbrady3 October 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I actually never ate frozen dinners growing up, but now I love to have them on hand when I’m in a rush. I mostly stick to the Amy’s burritos, but like lots of the Kashi meals as well. (Mayan harvest bake!!) I just have to beef them up with more veggies or I wont be full.

Susan October 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Haha, your dinner was more thanksgiving-y than mine and it was actually Thanksgiving here! I ate a lot of Michelinas growing up. The fettuccine alfredo being my favourite. I loved those swanson hungry man dinners too, but my mom refused to buy them (as if Michelinas was better?) Oh! And I have a soft spot for frozen mac n’ cheese. Nowadays the only frozen food I eat are waffles ;)

Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) October 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I’m glad you peeled that squash! I don’t know how it tastes, but I know you’re supposed to peel it. I just roasted one the other day (LOVE you veggie roaster!!) and it’s addicting. I love how it’s both sweet and savory.

I used to love TV dinner’s when I was a kid – kid cuisine to be exact (the one with the brownie!) but I don’t really (I say don’t really bc I sometimes still eat Amy’s occassionally when in a pinch) now. When I got a little older and was poor andin college I ate those 99 cent Michalina’s a lot… way too much actually!

The last new to me food I made in my kitchen… man, I really have to think about that one…. OH! I got it.. I just recently bought Barney Butter… Yup, it’s THAT good. Now if only I could find mighty maple! That sounds SO good.

Danica October 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

You are such a good wife – Marshall will love you all the more for it ;) I always plan out my meals for the week and Jay only gets one say if he has any requests – I imagine if he picked anything, it would be like, steak, tri tip, steak, hot links or something LOL.

Dinner looks amazing – you have to try butternut squash fries next – they are the BEST!

xoxo! me

Jenny October 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I grew up on Bagel Bites. Perfect after school snack. But my mom wouldn’t let up do the full blown TV dinners because they were not good for us *Thanks mom :)*

My boyfriend is all about frozen pizza. But if I am going to eat a pizza, it’s going to be a delicious delivery pizza that I custom order to fit my craving. I use to bring a frozen meal to work for lunch everyday. It was so easy and convenient. Kashi has a good Black Bean and Mango dish that is really good with tortilla chips. But my fall back was Cedar Lane Garden Vegetable Lasagna. It is VERY tasty! But I don’t usually allow myself to buy those anymore, forcing myself to make a healthier (as usually cheaper) sack lunch.

I made your stuffed chicken w/ cheese, hummus and spinach with a side of your healthy mac & cheese for date night last week. Those were 2 firsts for me. I never realized how easy it is to make stuffed chicken, and the possibilities are endless of what you can stuff in there. Thanks for for recipes!

Mary (A Merry Life) October 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I’ve never really liked tv dinners. For a while my mom and I ate the “healthy” ones, but I never really liked them. I love the look of your “tv dinner” though. :)

julie October 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

can you remind me of your white bean dip when we get closer to the holidays please? i think i need to make that soon haha

also i want that pink cookie i think it would be JUUUST sweet enough pour moi!

your tv dinner reminds me of like blast from the past but in a total cooler kind of way :) i love your wifeness and i also can’t wait to see how things go down for marshie’s birthday “week” haha

Salah October 12, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Man! I loved tv dinners when I was younger…I never got them a lot growing up but when I did I enjoyed every bite! haha

my last new in my kitchen prepared food was….hmmm, haha i have no idea right now

Katie October 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm

We didn’t eat TV dinners from the box, but we ate dinner in front of the TV so we could watch 7th Heaven, Everwood, and Gilmore Girls. We were total WB nerds! When I was in college I ate a few Lean Cuisine, Amy’s and Kashi meals for when I didn’t have time to cook… your meal looks so much better than all of those!

Hmm, the last new-in-my-kitchen food I prepared was a spinach-mushroom pastry I made tonight for Ari and my dad. There were definitely a few bloopers, but it worked!

I think of you when I eat protein oats :-)

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