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I had a constant challenge to be organised enough to prepare a cheap and healthy lunch each day. Invariably, I used to succumb to the extra time in bed, or the short-cut in the supermarket!! As a result, this led to me nipping off to the supermarket or sandwich shop at lunch and blowing over a fiver a day on a not particularly healthy meal.
I decided that I must try and find a solution to this problem and save the cash rather than frittering it away on expensive sandwiches!
On a weekly shop, I paid a visit to the snack and soup aisle and came across a colourful looking range of 'Mug Shots' at a bargain price of 50p each. These looked like a great bargain and I grabbed myself ten of these in a variety of flavours to last me a week.
My favourite by far of these has to be the 'Tomato and Herb' flavour. It has a very flavoursome tangy taste as well as having a generous amount of pasta to fill up the belly.
A couple of points on preparation to enjoy the mug shot in the best way. Ensure that the water is freshly boiled or from a instant boil device if you have one in your office kitchen. Also, ensure that you leave the mug shot to fully soak up all of the water. The smell can make it a very tempting prospect, but the wait is worth it as the pasta tastes so much better soft rather than with a crunch!!
In terms of nutritional value, I was surprised that mug shots are a relatively healthy snack. A colleague commented that the salt content must be astronomical, however on inspection it is actually half of what would be described as a high salt food. Impressive also that it contains less than 1% fat and a little over 200 calories. This means that they are a great diet food which can easily be tracked.
Overall, I am a convert to these great little packets. I now keep a plentiful supply in my bottom drawer, my sceptical colleague also doesn't say no to these when offered!!
I always have these kinds of things hidden in my desk drawer for a light snack or as part of my lunch. They are great to have as they are quick and easy to make.
These are available in most large supermarkets and some smaller stores. The Mug shot range has about 10 or so different types and flavours including -
Sweet n sour noodles
I have seen cous cous ones as well but only in bigger supermarkets
The price of these varies per shop but are usually around 70-80p, a lot of stores tend to have these on a constant offer or example 5 for £3 or 3 for £1.50, I have only ever brought when on offer as I like to bulk buy these for my drawer. The availability with vary per store but the tomato and herb pasta is almost always there along side 1/2 others as it seems to be the more popular flavour they do.
It comes in a little sachet with big red writing saying "mug shot" there is a picture of a cup and contains contents of what is inside would look like. The colouring varies per flavour but it clearly states what flavour you get and if its pasta/noodles/cous cous. The packaging is also keen to show it is only 1% fat per sachet which is good for those on a diet, the NI is also on the back for further details.
Cooking is simple and easy, add contents to a mug stick kettle on and add hot water! Now the packaging suggests filling it near enough to the top of the mug, if you have a really big mug I would suggest not to do this as I have found it can make them quite runny, I prefer my sauce thick but its down to individual taste, I usually fill mine up so it covers the contents completely and about 1cm extra to allow it to expand, again this is down to personal taste but it makes the sauce thicker. Once the water is added give it a good stir and wait about 5 minutes, stir again and tuck in!
As I like to have my sauce thicker it gives it a much richer taste. The pasta (and indeed the noodles and cous cous on other types) cooks well and isn't chewy or over cooked, from a dried packet they soften well considering its just boiling water for 5 mins. The sauce has a lovely tomato taste to it, the herbs blend in well and it works well with the pasta. For me this is my favourite out of the mug shot range, when stocking up I always tend to get more of these and 1 or 2 of the others.
There are loads of pasta/noodle/cous cous/rice type snacks available in the supermarket and Ive tried most of them. I am not a massive fan of sandwiches for my lunch so I like to keep these kinds of things in my drawer. The mug shot I tend to have it as a mid morning snack or as part of my lunch because as nice as it is I wouldn't say it would fill me up for more than a few hours but that might just be me being a pig! Most of the other pasta snacks require the use of a microwave whereas this doesn't so its better for those who only have access to a kettle. Price wise this is one of the cheaper snacks available and even better value when they are on multi-buy offers. I would recommend this to those who like pasta and want something quick and easy for a snack or as part of a lunch.
Less than 1% fat Ready in 5 minutes No artificial colours or preservatives Suitable for vegetarians