One of the reasons that I’m excited about launching Foodie City Mom next month is that I like options in every area of my life…including the food that I eat. In addition to sharing the best recipes for a variety of dishes, I also want to share about the best prepared food items that I buy when I don’t have the time (energy, or desire) to cook from scratch. That’s why I was intrigued when TheMotherhood asked me to be a part of a project with Marie Callender’s Pot Pies.
Recently, Yahoo! Shopping included Marie Callender’s Frozen Chicken Pot Pie in a post by a Bon Appetit guest blogger. The post was titled “8 Grocery Store Products that are Better than Homemade (really)”. A snippet of that section says, “The pastry puffs right up, and the ingredients are perfectly cooked and surprisingly fresh-tasting.” Well, I was asked to write a post answering the question, “Does a Marie Callender Pot Pie taste better than homemade?” If you assume that my answer is “yes”, because this is a sponsored post, then obviously you don’t know me that well 🙂
It has been years since I last ate a frozen pot pie, so I really didn’t have any expectations when I redeemed my coupon for the pot pie. The first thing that I noticed when I opened the package was that the pot pie was larger than the pot pies that I ate as a campus student many moons ago. (I won’t name the various brands that I used to buy. Just think “campus student budget” when cost was the primary deciding factor!) I put the pot pie into the oven and patiently waited around an hour for it to bake, because I don’t like cooking this type of food in the microwave. Finally, it was time to eat it.
The pot pie was really good. The crust was how I like it – flaky, but not too crumbly. The chicken, peas, celery and sauce all tasted fresh. (I didn’t eat the carrots though. I rarely ever eat cooked carrots. I prefer raw or steamed ones.) I missed having potatoes in the pot pie, but all in all, it was a filling meal.
Now, back to the original question…did it taste better than a homemade pot pie? I’m sure that it tastes better than some homemade ones, but it was not better than the homemade pot pie in my personal frame of reference…my friend Rasheda’s homemade pot pies. Whenever I think of a food, I immediately think back to the best version of it that I have ever had. Many years ago, I had a dear friend named Rasheda who made the best homemade pot pies ever. Most pot pies have similar ingredients, so I don’t know what made Rasheda’s version so especially wonderful. She never told me her “secret ingredient”, but it is the definitive pot pie in my mind. (The chicken pot pie served at NYC’s “Friend of a Farmer” runs a close second. It is the best chicken pot pie from a restaurant that I have ever tasted!) I also imagine that if I ate one that my friend Jennie cooked, it would be in my top three – simply since she made a zucchini bread that my kids couldn’t stop eating. If you can make zucchini taste good, then you’re a cooking genius! Thinking about Jennie’s cooking leads me to one last point about frozen versus homemade items. If you’re watching your diet, you have more control of the ingredients and salt when you cook dishes. Chicken pot pie isn’t a diet food for most people anyway, but be sure to look at the calorie and sodium levels of the Marie Callender pot pies before you purchase them. Personally, I think that it’s fine for an occasional treat, but (just like any other frozen food!), I would recommend against having them as menu staples.
Anyway, I digress. I share all of that to say, “No. Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie isn’t better than the homemade one that is ingrained in my memory.” (Maybe the answer is that it depends on whose home the comparison pot pie is being made!) It is the best frozen/grocery store pot pie that I have ever tasted though. So, if you don’t feel like making homemade pot pie and you don’t live near Rasheda, Jennie or Friend of a Farmer, then Marie Callender’s Frozen Chicken Pot Pie is a tasty, satisfying option that you will enjoy.
I’m curious…are there any grocery store products that you think are definitively better than the homemade option?
Disclosure: I have been financially compensated by Marie Callender’s and TheMotherhood to write this post but the opinions are (obviously) mine.