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What’s For Breakfast? Frozen Convenience Foods

Recently our test kitchen came across some new choices in the frozen food aisle for prepared breakfast sandwiches and we’d like to share our opinions.

Longtime favorite Jimmy Dean has expanded its biscuit and croissant line to now include flatbreads and egg whites.  IHOP joins the freezer case with their line of French Toast and “Omelet Crisper” sandwiches.  Special K flatbread sandwiches offer a similar flatbread sandwich to that of Jimmy Dean.  Bob Evans has a Breakfast Bake product.  And Marie Callender’s brings a uniquely packaged sandwich to market.

The most recognized brand for breakfast sandwich would probably be Jimmy Dean.  They have had varieties of sausage patties on biscuits, croissants, and english muffins, both with or without egg or cheese, and a bacon variety on biscuit.  These were tasty and there were some changing of ingredients over the years, most notably the egg patty and the quality of the meat. Taste and quality has not been consistent with Jimmy Dean.

The IHOP sandwich we tested was found to be quite oily and the inability to discern the ingredients was unsettling for our taste panel.  The melty cheese sauce/egg mixture and hammy bits passed off as bacon were “inedible” by one taster’s comments.

Special K flatbread sandwiches were found agreeable by the panel, with a vegetable filled egg white patty with spicy cheese.  The sandwiches did not contain meat and were relatively healthy, but the grainy flatbread got soggy and stuck to the paper towel during cooking.  Flavor rated highly among panel members however.

The Bob Evans Breakfast Bake (Bacon, Egg, Cheese & Hashbrowns) was to be an egg and bacon sandwich, but most panelists felt it was a potato pancake with minute bits of “something else” in it.  Not very flavorful or satisfying.

The surprising leader for taste and product texture was Marie Callender’s “Cheddar Biscuit with Bacon, Egg & Cheddar”.  Using a unique cardboard box with micro-crisp liner, the sandwich is contained in two halves with a sizeable piece of bacon on one biscuit half while the other side has a folded egg and cheese slice.  The 90 second cooking time allowed the biscuit halves to toast up nicely and bacon to crisp.  Flavor of the bacon was excellent and the egg was “buttery tasting” and “real” per our panelists’ comments.  Sodium and calories has never been Marie Callender’s strong suit, but the flavor of this particular variety lead the others by a significant margin.

The Special K sandwich had the most potential for being a better-for-you choice, if slight improvements were made to the flatbread the product uses.