“ Brand: Birds Eye / Type: Other Ready Meals „
I'd never noticed Birds Eye's Healthy Options range until recently, when I popped down to Tesco to stop up on some ready meals and quick things to eat as we've been really busy over the past couple of weeks and haven't had the time or energy to cook at night. Although I did pick up a few ready meals the first one I tried was Birds Eye's Healthy Options Spicy Chilli and Wedges, as it looked really tasty on the pack and promised to be low fat with only 255kcal. Now, the ready meal wasn't cheap at £2.49, for the 350g portion, however, the plastic tray with a clear lid made it possible for me to look at what I was buying and, as it looked pretty hearty I decided to buy it. Birds Eye products often have offers on and I'm sure this range is no different. Although you can cook these meals in the oven, they seem to take forever, about 40- 45 minutes, so I always do mine in the microwave where it takes between 7- 9 minutes depending on wattage. You have to pierce the film lid before cooking, and although it's quick in the microwave I like to add a sprinkling of cheese to the top of the wedges after cooking and pop it under the grill to crisp the top up a bit. Once cooked a spicy chilli scent hangs around in the kitchen, and the meal is easily spooned out to serve. I was looking forward to eating my chilli and wedges when I served it up, the portion size is okay but not huge and is best served with some salad on the side to bulk up the meal a bit. The base of the meal is the chilli, which is quick thick in texture and contains a few pieces of minced beef but there isn't a huge amount, however the sauce is packed with vegetables and beans. The sauce itself is quite spicy, and the pieces of onion, green and red peppers, tomatoes give a really nice texture as they retain a nice crunch. The chilli base is topped with a decent helping of potato wedges, about ten; some of the wedges are big however a couple are quite small. The wedges are lovely and fluffy inside but are nice and crispy on the outside, especially when finished under the grill. Together it's a good combination of textures and tastes, and is quite a filling meal but wouldn't be one for those with larger appetites. Nutritionally, this meal is in Birds Eyes Healthy Options Range so it's pretty good: Calories: 255kcal Sugar: 7g Salt: 0.5g Fat: 6g Sat Fat: 3g Overall, this meal isn't too bad at all, it's good nutritionally and tastes really good, however the portion size isn't that big, but it's big enough with a salad, and would be lovely served with garlic bread. The price is a lot for what you get, but its convenience food, and as it's Birds Eye there's no unexpected nasties in the ingredients list.
We are trying to watch our weight in the house just now, bt often it isn't going to plan. The wife picked up a few of the Birds Eye healthy meals the other week when they were on offer for £1 and we both had 1 of these each last night. It was alright, but nothing I was that excited about. This is a frozen meal and you just take it out the box, take the film lid off and cook in the plastic tray. This looked like a decent amount of Chilli with 3-4 Decent thickness Wedges on top. This cooked in 8 minutes and smelt alright when cooked. The Chilli smelt a bit spicy but not too much, and you could smell a bit scent of Beans and Vegetables. This tasted alright. The Chilli was quite thick, and although there wasn't a huge amount of Meat in this, there was enough. It wasn't greasy, and tasted nice and healthy enough. I wasn't that keen on the Wedges since they were thick and they weren't that tasty. They tasted a bit dry inside and a bit hard with a yuk skin. I think this meal only had 360 calories if I remember right, and it was an alright portion and seemed to fill us up alright as well. Not my most favourite ready meal ever, but given the healthy option this done not bad.
I was desperately seeking something quick easy and relatively healthy for dinner tonight. I spotted the Birds Eye Healthy range of frozen ready meals in Morrison's for £1 each so grabbed a chilli with potato wedges. I'm a great fan of chilli and will often choose it when getting something out. I did choose this mainly due to the price, but at £1.43 it's not too expensive to start with. I knew that by buying a "healthy" option meal that the portion sizes would be slightly smaller than other meals as this is generally the case. Being at work I needed to be able to cook this in the microwave and it needed to be easy to do. What I mean by that is to be able to cook a product for one time rather than leave for 3 mins, go back and stir and add another sachet and cook for a further 3 mins etc. Thankfully this meal is cooked in around 6 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave. Packaged in a standard box that looks like it's targeted towards spring months rather than the dark winter months we're straying into, the meal inside is placed in a black plastic container with a plastic seal over the op. Once you have pierced the plastic a few times you can then pop in the microwave and let it do its job. After leaving for the allotted time, I was pleased with the way the meal was looking. Being at work I ate straight from the microwave carton, but to be honest I don't think the presentation would have changed much had I placed it on a plate. The chilli mixture was enveloping the wedges straight away anyway. It was all going to get jumbled up together whatever way I ate it. As I thought the portion was slightly small but it was going to be enough for me to fill a gap. The chilli on first glance looked a bit thin and watery, and there weren't very many wedges but they were a decent size. There were generous chunks of pepper included in the chilli and a lot of kidney beans. I did struggle to see any actual lumps of meat though which was a shame. It was more of the consistency of something you would feed to a weaning baby. My first taste was good, there was a generous flavour to the chilli, and the small wedge that I picked up was fluffy and complimented the chilli well. I still felt that I should be using a spoon rather than a fork but persevered anyway. Getting through the larger wedges and I managed to bite into one that wasn't quite cooked. At first I worried that I hadn't cooked the meal correctly but I knew I had as it was all piping hot, including this slightly undercooked wedge. Progressing through sadly I found all the wedges that were bigger than a sliver weren't cooked properly. This really put me off eating them so was left with the thin chilli mix. Obviously this wasn't going to fill me up to start with; there was even less of a chance now without some carbs included. I felt this was a real disappointment and a waste of a £1. I certainly won't be buying this again, and would rather buy the supermarket own ready meals for the same price and know I will at least be getting fed. If you choose to buy this meal you can expect it to provide you with 255 calories and 6.3 grams of fat per meal.
Birds Eye do a selection of ready meals and one of the ones I have tried recently is the chilli and wedges. This is found in the healthy living section. They can be found in all supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's and I have also seen them in smaller shops and little newsagents. They are frozen products and can therefore be found in the freezers. In my local Asda they were placed in a freezer next to all the other beef burgers of different brands however sometimes they will be found alongside all the other Birds Eye Products. We buy ours from Asda as at the moment it only costs £1 compared to £1.47 in Tesco. I have this for lunch often so its really worthwhile going for the cheaper option! This ready meal weighs 350g which is pretty average for a healthy living ready meal. Weight Watchers meals for example weigh around 300-350g so this shows just how good a weight this meal is. This one costs £1 at the moment from Asda which great price for a ready meal but then again you would be a lot better off cooking a big pot of chilli and chopping up a potato!. Often there are offers on where you can buy one get one free but none at the moment. The meal comes in an attractive box. It is mainly white in colour and looks really quite pretty with a little red fading section on it. on the back obviously is all of the nutritional information and ingredients. On the front is the brand name, some product information, and a beautiful, mouth watering picture. The picture is of a steaming plate of chilli, layered high with delicious golden brown looking wedges. The picture is incredibly tempting. Is fairly easy to open however it requires a bit of tugging at the end of the box. Inside the ready meal is kept in a black tray. You can either cook it in the oven or in the microwave but I always without fail do mine in the microwave. It takes 8 minutes in mine but it depends on the setting. I find sometimes it takes 9 minutes, sometimes 7, it just depends. You have to peirce the lid before cooking it and sometimes this is hard and requires a big stab with a fork as the plastic Is quite tight. Once it has finished cooking there is a lovely chilli aroma wafting through the air. It is quite runny sometimes and can be hard to spoon on but usually it is nice and thick. I eat mine for lunch and with a yoghurt for dessert it provided a lovely substantial lunch which I really did enjoy. The chilli really does taste gorgeous. The chilli is lovely and spicy and has a great chewy texture to it. The kidney beans give it a lovely soft texture to it and makes the texture really nice. The wedges are few and far between and there are only about 8 of them in total. Some are big and whole, some are small, and some are crushed and mushed up! They are lovely and the potato is gorgeous and fluffy. The outside of them is crispy too and just gorgeous! The whole meal contains 255 calories which is really quite amazing and actually lower than most of the Weight Watchers ready meals. Yum!
I picked up a couple of the Bird's Eye Healthy Options frozen ready meals yesterday whilst shopping at Morrisons. They are currently on special offer at £1 per meal. I don't use ready meals all that regularly but thought I would give these a whirl as a back up in the freezer for when I can't be bothered to cook. I ended up having the Spicy Chilli and Wedges meal last night. It is heated by either microwaving for up to 8 minutes (depending on the wattage of your microwave) or in the oven from 35 minutes. For me, the whole point of convenience meals is that they are quick as well so I went for the microwave option. **SMELL, APPEARANCE** This meal smelt delicious even before the microwave heating time had elapsed. It smelt like it was obviously chilli and quite fresh, not like it had been sat in a canteen for hours. It looks tasty, with obvious lumps of minces beef, red kidney beans and red and green peppers, making the dish really colourful and appetising. The wedges had held their shape well, hadn't turned to mush as I had expected with the microwave heating. Not particularly well presented on the plate, but that was me tipping the tray out. **THE TASTE TEST** Well, its tastes good. The chilli is no where near strong enough for my taste buds, but is definitely chilli with a slight kick to it. I think the level of strength would be acceptable to anyone, I guess you could add more chilli to it if it just wasn't enough. The wedges were also really tasty, soft and fluffy on the inside and yet had maintained some crispiness on the outside. At 255 calories for a 350g meal I would say this is not a bad option. But for me personally it is not enough to fill me up. Next time, I would serve it with rice or a large salad. Lol - and probably some garlic bread, which probably would defeat the object of a 'Healthy Options' meal for most.
This is quite tasty and low in calories, and if you load the rest of your plate up with salad it becomes a very substantial meal. The preparation guidelines say that it is tastiest when microwaved straight from the freezer. You can't get much more convenient than that: Freezer to plate in 7 - 8 minutes. I was rather surprised at the instructions to microwave, because I thought that the chips might become soggy and unappetising, but in fact they retained both shape and texture and the entire meal was very enjoyable. Even though I enjoy eating rice, I don't actually like rice with chilli, so this particular combination of chilli and potato wedges is just right for me. Looking at the ingredients on the back of the packet, there was nothing unpronounceable listed there, and all of the ingredients appear to be natural. At 255 calories this meal is the lightest in the Healthy Options range, and is an all round winner on good low calorie meals category.