“ Brand: Asda / Type: Pasta „
Sometimes after a very busy day at work I don't have the energy to always cook a full meal from scratch so I often cheat once or twice a week with a simple meal or a ready meal. This time it was an Asda own brand pasta chilli bake which I spotted on a recent trip to the supermarket on my lunch break. ~~~~~Price~~~~~ The chilli pasta bake is a large 800g meal for two and costs only £2.00. I thought this was pretty good value for a meal that serves two people especially by the fact that I would struggle to buy the ingredients to make this meal for £2.00. ~~~~~Packaging~~~~~ The pasta bake came in a black plastic tray covered with a clear film lid and a cardboard sleeve. On the front of the cardboard sleeve there was a nice appealing picture of the pasta bake cooked and served in a dish which made it look very appealing. The pasta bake had the description of 'Italian penne with minced beef in a spicy tomato and chilli sauce, topped with a creamy cheese sauce and cheddar'. There was some basic nutritional information on the front of the pack and more detailed information on the back with further information such as ingredients listings and cooking instructions. ~~~~~Nutritional Information~~~~~ Each individual 400g portion (half pack) of chilli pasta bake contains the following: Energy kcal - 630 Protein - 27.6g Carbohydrate - 82.8g Fat - 20g Sodium - 0.68g As with most ready meals it is slightly high in calories and fat so this lets the meal down a little, but as they say everything in moderation! ~~~~~Cooking~~~~~ The heating of the pasta bake was really straightforward, it can be cooked in either the oven or the microwave. To cook in the oven which I did as it allows the cheese on top to go nice and golden was just a case of removing the sleeve and film and placing on a baking tray in the oven for 25-30 minutes. I found that this cooked the pasta bake perfectly with it being piping hot throughout with a nice golden brown top. But if in a hurry then you can remove the sleeve and pierce the film lid and place it in the microwave for between 8.5 and 9.5 minutes obviously depending on the power of your microwave. ~~~~~Taste/Opinion~~~~~ I really like pasta bakes and do enjoy homemade ones the best but was drawn to this one because of the appetising picture on the front of the packet and the fact it was only £2.00 which I think was a bargain for a meal for two people. Overall I was quite impressed with this meal it cooked exactly to the instructions and was rather tasty. Some people might have found it a little too sloppy with the chilli sauce and the cheese sauce on top but I quite like my pasta bakes like this. The chilli sauce tasted quite beefy but also had a nice bit of heat from the chilli which was toned down by the creamy cheese sauce. The pasta was also nice and soft with a good layer of cheese on top of the bake. I try not to make a habit of eating too many ready meals but I would say that this one is one of the better ones. So if you are looking for a quick, cheap and tasty meal it is certainly one to try.
When it comes to meals I can cook up fast I always tend to buy them. I don't mind cooking but at the minute I'm really busy living and have no time to cook meals up from scratch and so tend to go for easier options for the time being! This meal for two I bought the other night from Asda. Being a meal for two people I shared it with my boyfriend with a glass of wine and a dvd and costing only £2.00 it didn't break the bank! The Packaging: The meal comes in a black plastic and rather large and deep tray with a see-through peel off plastic cover to the top of it and over that there is a cardboard sleeve and on the front of that there is a photograph of the cooked pasta bake and we are told that it is Asda 'Chosen By You', Meal For 2 Italian Chilli Pasta Bake 'Italian penne with minced beef in a spicy tomato and chilli sauce, topped with a creamy cheese sauce and cheddar' and that it weighs 800g, is suitable for freezing and there is an at a glance nutritional chart shown. On the back of the sleeve other information stated includes being how to cook the meal (you can oven bake or microwave this from chilled), the ingredients and allergy advice is given, there is a full nutritional chart stated , storage details are given (this is freezable by the way) and contact details for Asda are listed. Nice enough, informative packaging this is. The Meal Itself: What you get is alot of food, enough for two people. You can, as I have previously mentioned pop this in the microwave for about 8 1/2-9 1/2 minutes or oven cook it in around 25-30 minutes, because I am lazy I always if possible microwave everything! What you get is alot of tubes of pasta in a dark red sauce with visible melted cheese over the top and it spells spicy. Sadly though this is quite a sloppy dish so once served does look a bit of a mess. However appearance can be deceptive and we rather enjoyed this meal. The pasta was al dente although didn't carry a lot of flavour, the tomato sauce was just that really and tasted fresh. Tomato flavoured with lots of bits of mince in it that wasn't fatty or gristly and had a mild and slight kick of chilli to it. The melted cheese was mild in flavour thankfully to calm down the chilli flavour and there was a subtle hint of garlic going on within it too. This was a nice tasting meal and enough for two people, however it just didn't look all that appetizing on a plate. I liked all the flavours though and didn't find it too spicy and the cheese although tasting and looking gooey like melted cheese didn't taste mature to me but was creamy and plentiful. I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase this again purely cos it looked sloppy but it is nice enough and worth the £2.00 I paid for it. Nutritional Information Per 1/2 Pack: Calories: 630 Sugar: 6.4g Fat: 20.0g Sat Fat: 10.8g Salt: 1.7g Only available in Asda stores.