September 10th is National TV dinner day

(CNN) -- Freeze! September 10th is National TV Dinner Day.

If you're too tired to cook and just feel like vegging out in front of the TV, you're not alone. According to the American Frozen Food Institute, the average American eats six frozen meals a month.

The term TV dinner, or more specifically TV Brand Frozen Dinner, is a registered trademark to C.A. Swanson & Sons, and has been since 1954. While Swanson didn't invent the compartmented meal, they are credited with being the first to mass market it. The idea of separated tray compartments for food was already being used by airlines.

Originally they were packed in aluminum trays and heated in the oven, but as microwaves became more popular, the aluminum ones were done away with. Over time, the name TV dinner has been dropped in favor of "frozen meals" or "microwave meals."

The very first TV dinner available was an ode to Thanksgiving and consisted of turkey, peas, sweet potatoes and cornbread dressing. Eventually meals like Salisbury steak, meatloaf and fried chicken were added. Desserts were included on the trays in 1960.

In 1987, a representative tray was added to the Smithsonian to honor the TV dinner's impact on American culture.