Consumer Reports: Restaurants' frozen-food versions of menu - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Consumer Reports: Restaurants' frozen-food versions of menu items

(WMC-TV) - Restaurant chains are stocking dishes right out of their menus and into your neighborhood supermarket's frozen food section. Chief Consumer Investigator Andy Wise worked with Consumer Reports, running side-by-side comparisons to see if the restaurants' home versions measure up!

Many of America's most popular chain restaurants including California Pizza Kitchen, TGI Fridays, Boston Market and P.F. Chang's are now selling frozen versions of their best-selling items.

Consumer Reports says they are worth trying … some of them, anyway.

California Pizza Kitchen's Frozen BBQ Recipe Chicken Thin Crust is topped with similar ingredients as the restaurant version; at $6, it is less than half the price.

"Our tasters found that the frozen version is worth a try, but the strong barbecue sauce overpowered the flavors," said Maxine Siegel of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports' tasters were pleased with the frozen version of TGI Fridays Cheddar and Bacon Skins. The restaurant dish costs twice as much and has three times more calories and fat.

P.F. Chang's frozen shrimp lo mein resembles its restaurant counterpart in both price and appearance. But some people are skeptical.

"The shrimp in the frozen version were noticeably small, and the tasters found that they don't have much flavor," said Siegel.

Boston Market's frozen chicken pot pie costs a little less than in the restaurant, but it is much different. Large chunks of rotisserie chicken flavor the restaurant dish versus the small cubes of spongy chicken in the frozen version. Testers agree however, that its crust was tasty.

All in all, Consumer Reports found many of the restaurants' frozen choices were pretty good and at least worth a try.

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