Marie Callender’s Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl Review

Marie Callender's Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl

Marie Callender’s seems to us like a brand that’s really, really trying to be Stouffer’s, yet never really gets it quite right (of course, there are a couple examples where Marie Callender’s really knocks it out of the park). Typically, we expect Marie Callender’s meals to be a lower-quality version of something that already exists in the Stouffer’s line.

With the Marie Callender’s Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl, however, our expectations are a bit higher than usual. This looks like a really tasty frozen meal — one that Marie Callender’s couldn’t possibly screw up. So we decided to give it a whirl and see if we were right to get excited about it.

First, we must heat it up, of course. This meal has a pretty average (and easy) cooking method. Simply pop it into the microwave, heat it for three and a half minutes, give it a stir, then pop it back in for another minute or two. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions straight from the back of the box, check out the package scans at the bottom of this review.)

Marie Callender's Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl

Now, we weren’t feeling particularly creative when we first picked up this meal, because, as we hinted at earlier, we couldn’t think of any ways in which Marie Callender’s might screw up a cheesy rice bowl. Well, there are actually several. You could use a rotten-tasting broccoli, a gristly, nasty chicken, and dried-out rice. Thankfully, this meal doesn’t have any of these problems. There is one other problem that we didn’t consider, and that’s a super watery sauce. This meal does make this grave error, to the dismay of our reviewers.

A good aged cheddar sauce should be thick and creamy, not thin and runny. This stuff is way on the watery side of that spectrum, and even after letting it sit out to cool for five minutes or so, it never really thickens up. We think that you could probably cook up this meal, then put it in the fridge, then reheat it later on and you might get to a decent consistency. Straight out of the microwave, though, this just doesn’t do it for us.

And that’s a shame, because the rest of this meal is pretty decent. The flavor of the cheese sauce isn’t bad at all, though it’s kind of weak. The rice is perfectly fine. The broccoli tastes fresh. Even the chicken is better than we were expecting. But we just can’t get over that soupy consistency.

This is certainly not a health food. With 430 calories and 1,000 mg of sodium, you definitely don’t want this in your everyday food rotation. Then again, we’re not certain you’d be tempted to eat this that often anyway.

The Marie Callender’s Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl is really close to being a great frozen meal, but it doesn’t stick the landing. With a thicker, richer cheese sauce, this could have excelled. As is, everything that’s good about this meal is made a little bit worse by the fact that it’s swimming in a watery cheese sauce.

For a much better meal in the same vein (though not a 1:1 comparison), we’d recommend the Stouffer’s Grandma’s Chicken & Vegetable Rice Bake.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen meal, check out our package scans below.

Marie Callender's Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl
Marie Callender's Aged Cheddar Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl