ConAgra Foods says it is emphasizing homestyle comfort -- with a contemporary twist -- in latest line of Marie Callender's multi-serve meals.

Officials say new Marie Callender's Bakes feature recipes such as Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese and are designed to cook to  perfection in the microwave for oven-like results in a fraction of the time.

“Marie Callender’s new home-style, baked, multi-serve meals add new twists to familiar recipes,” says Jenn Freeman, brand director, ConAgra Foods. “We’re taking classic dishes like chicken alfredo and adding Marie’s creative touch for recipes like Creamy Chicken Alfredo With Sundried Tomatoes. These are dishes with the familiarity of traditional recipes and a little something extra to change things up and make it more exciting.”

Dinner is a growing meal occasion for frozen foods – frozen items appeared on the dinner table 17 percent of the time in 2009 vs. 13 percent in 1994*, says ConAgra. Additionally, 55 percent of evening meals are eaten by one to two person households**, Marie Callender’s target households. The new offerings further extend the brand into the premium, multi-serve meal segment, which has seen significant growth over the past five years.

ConAgra says its new home-style baked meals "provide the high-quality dishes Marie Callender’s is known for, with improved cooking performance from the microwave. The recipes cook more evenly, with no burnt edges for a convenient meal that tastes like homemade, from the microwave."

The new meals will be supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign, including national TV that features Marie Callender’s “Time to Savor” tagline. Ads will run on selected networks, beginning in mid-September.

The new entrées are available now, and come in five varieties: Creamy Chicken Alfredo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes; Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese; Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna; Southwestern Style Chipotle Chicken Bake; and Scalloped Potatoes & Ham in a Creamy Cheese Sauce.

*NPD NET In-Home Database

** Net data year ending August 2009