Can you guess what the heck is in these old frozen TV dinners?

Is that a vegetable or dessert?

Here's a generational divide — people who have had to cook a TV dinner in the oven versus people who have only ever used a microwave.

It's just not the same without delicately peeling back the foil around the specific little compartments, as per the instructions on the box. 

Yes, kids, frozen dinners were once wrapped in metal. Do not attempt to microwave that!

Whatever your age, you can try to guess what's in these (relatively) quick meals from the packaging and ads. See if you can identify the mystery foods in these vintage TV dinners!

  1. What's the red stuff in the middle of this of 1966 Swanson frozen dinner?
  2. What's this stuff in a tray from a 1969 Swanson frozen dinner?
  3. What's this brown stuff in the upper left of the same meal?
  4. What's the main course in this same meal?
  5. What's this orange rectangle in a 1967 Swanson dinner?
  6. What's in the upper left of that same meal?
  7. What this stuff in the upper right of a Swanson Polynesian Style frozen dinner?
  8. What are these golden-brown globules in a Swanson Beef Dinner frozen meal?
  9. What is this mess in the top middle of a Swanson German Style frozen dinner?
  10. Finally, what is this purple stuff in the same meal?

Can you guess what the heck is in these old frozen TV dinners?

Your Result...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque nec ante ipsum. Mauris viverra, urna et porta sagittis, lorem diam dapibus diam, et lacinia libero quam id risus.
Save with
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Post a comment
MichaelSkaggs 3 days ago
Eight out of ten. They used aluminum trays until 1983. By that time at least half the homes in America had microwave ovens.
JohnMitten 4 days ago
I enjoyed the lasagna dinner, particularly the creamy Italian pudding. Does anyone remember the name of that pudding?
Tortoni Pudding?
Thanks. Now I remember.
Allison 4 days ago
8/10 they were so much fun - i mean the tv dinners
DavidBarker 7 days ago
7 of 10..didn't like most of those. Mostly Turkey and Salisbury Steak...
Mobius 8 days ago
I got 9 out of 10, they didn't use the meals I liked. I made some good guesses.
Mobius Mobius 8 days ago
By the way I preferred Banquet.
JDnHuntsvilleAL 8 days ago
10 out of 10, but as a bachelor I ate a LOT of these in the days.
JKMallaber 8 days ago
I actually remember having TV dinners as a kid in the 80's that still came in foil and needed the oven. I think they tasted better than the microwave ones do now. It's not just the way they're prepared, I think the food quality was better.
Pacificsun 9 days ago
They didn't cover it, but anybody remember Fishsticks?? I think they might still make them.
They sure do! Goes perfectly with a movie on a weekend afternoon.
Wiseguy Pacificsun 8 days ago
You think they still make them? Ever go to a supermarket?
I totally remember those, my mom wouldn’t buy those very often. They had things like hot dogs and hamburgers too, pork and beans. If it has Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label label label.....I even remember the jingle.
Nothing like frozen nostalgia.
Pacificsun 9 days ago
Hilarious. I never thought to look back on those meals. But sure enough we actually ate them! I bought those dinners specifically for just a certain food in them. Like the Apple Crisp. Or the Tortoni Pudding (not shown). Some were just so very unique. While other parts of the dinner were nearly revolting. In the picture I couldn't distinguish between meatloaf and the walnut brownie! Scary!! Thanks for this trip back though!
Fast forward to the mid 80s, and behold:
Swanson's Le Menu! A cut above common T.V. Dinners,
I guess.
MrBill 9 days ago
5/10; In did very poorly - most of those dinners depicted looked like they were from the 60's. I was a preschooler then and my parents did not feed me TV dinners.
Flintster 9 days ago
Always loved the fried chicken!
Flonkette Flintster 8 days ago
I still do! Years ago someone showed me to put a little butter on the fried chicken in regular oven, turn it once during cooking! Like night and day difference! I still but them. Nowadays they have chicken and waffles and chicken and ham. No soup tho!
Lacey 9 days ago
9/10 Like my life could not get any more pathetic. I know almost every ingredient in a TV dinner.
DeanWolterman 9 days ago
I wish they would bring these back now. Maybe a classic run in the iconic tin foil trays.

My aunt would save and wash the trays really good. She would cook big meals and make her own TV dinners. She was always complaining about food being wasted so she would make her ow, mark them and freeze them. After about doing it 3 times, she threw away the trays and cycle new/old in.
daDoctah 9 days ago
Got 7/10 but I call shenanigans on number two. I clicked on the fruit salad but the screen updated and my vote got registered as cream of mushroom soup (or cream of washroom soup as we called it). Any fule kno that cream of mushroom soup in those days didn't have visible chunks of anything in it.
MaryHelen 9 days ago
UGH!!! these look disgusting-- so glad never ate them-- my mother cooked!!!
Pacificsun MaryHelen 9 days ago
My mother did too. Really great made from scratch cooking. But people used TV Dinners kind of like they do now with Fast Food. It's just a break for the cook. Or something quick to be served. Or a fill-in for Friday nights! Some were better (or worse than others). But not nearly as "bad" as imagined now!
sandman 9 days ago
9/10. How did tomato look like that?
Carrie 9 days ago
I do not remember these dinners. The only ones I can remember my mother buying were the Banquet ones. Guess I'm a good guesser, I got 7/10
Carrie Carrie 9 days ago
And yes, I'm starving right now
jholton30062 10 days ago
9/10; should have been 10 out of 10, but my clicking finger got antsy. Wasn't the dessert in #6 "apple brown betty"?
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?