Product Type: Old El Paso Ready Meals
Newest Review: ... can find fajitas that are delivered temptingly on sizzle plates. So now to the Old El Paso Fajita kits. The basic kits themselves inclu... more
Old El Paso Fajita Dinner Kit
Member Name: redhead78
Old El Paso Fajita Dinner Kit
Advantages: Good value when on offer, very tasty, quick and easy to make
Disadvantages: Pricey if not on offer, calories add up with all the extras
My husband and I are both big lovers of Mexican food. We live in a small town with only a handful of restaurants, but luckily one of these few is a very good Mexican so when we go out for dinner locally this is always our first choice. However, when we fancy something spicy without the restaurant price tag our standard go to is the Old El paso range. Well, when I say range, I mean their fajita kits! They also do enchilada kits and burrito kits, as well as selling the separate elements of their kits individually. But our favourite is the fajita kit.
These kits are readily available in supermarkets and even most small corner shops now stock them due to their ever-increasing popularity. They are generally priced between £3.25 and £3.50 but are one of those things that are often to be found on special offer. Recently the Co-op has had them on a half price offer at only £1.64 so my cupboard is now well and truly stocked up with them!
The fajita kit comes in a flat box, much like a frozen pizza box, around 9 or 10 inches square. The branding is unmissable on a supermarket shelf as the box is bright yellow in colour with lots of red and bright green contrasting pictures and wording. The front of the box has a tempting looking picture of some finished fajitas ready for devouring and tells us what is included in the pack. It also tells us what flavour that particular kit is. This is where the "discussions" start in our house as my favourite is the Original Smokey BBQ flavour but my husband likes the Tomato and Pepper. As I tend to do 99% of the shopping guess which one makes it into my basket most often?! Yes, selfish of me, I know!
The back of the box gives instructions for cooking and making fajitas and also provides alternatives if you're vegetarian or don't like chicken such as adding butternut squash or chickpeas for a veggie option of steak or beef if you're a red meat eater. It also offers various additions for fajitas like sour cream, guacamole and grated cheese. On various other parts of the box there is the standard contact information for the manufacturers, the nutritional information (althogh this is very unhelpful if you're trying to follow a calorie controlled diet as it only gives the calorie count/fat content etc for what is actually included in the kit rather than taking into account the chicken and vegetables you need to complete the kit, let alone the sour cream and grated cheese it recommends!
So what do you actually get in the kits? The answer to that is simple. 8 soft flour tortillas, 1 packet of spice mix and 1 sachet of thick and chunky salsa. This doesn't actually sound like you're getting very much for your money and, to be fair, you're not really. I once added up the costs of the individual items and you can buy all three separately for around the same price, and for much less if you go for the supermarket own brand products. This is another reason why I only ever buy them when they're on special offer.
The front of the box tells us that all we need to add to the kit is 500g chicken breast, 2 peppers and an onion. I generally use slightly less chicken (normally 2 breasts), one red and one green pepper, two onions and a tub of closed cup mushrooms (all of these things need to be sliced and then stir-fried). As the kit is really intended to feed a family of four - but not a family of four with a father who eats like my husband! - they usually last us for a dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day, which is why I like to bulk it up with more veg. If we were a family of four, however, there is no way that one kit woould feed us all. My hubby could easily polish off 4 fajitas in one sitting and, to be honest, I could manage 3! Piglets!!!
Making fajitas couldn't be easir or quicker. Slice your chicken and stir fry it, meanwhile slice the rest of your veg and add to the pan after the chicken is thoroughly cooked along with the packet of spice mix. I personally don't like salsa so I also add the sachet of this to the pan to cook down with the rest of the ingredients. Once the vegetables are cooked pop the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds and then take everything to the table. This meal is definitely a table meal rather than a sit on the couch with it on your knees meal! As extras we always have sour cream, grated cheese and occasionally shredded lettuce and cucumber but everyone that we've ever had fajitas with all serve them differently. Some friends of ours always have chopped jalapenos with theirs and another couple we know have guacamole. So they really are quite versatile and easily adapted to your own personal preferences.
I really like this Old El Paso Original Smoky BBQ fajita kit. The spices included in it make your chicken and veg nice and spicy without being too hot so there's lots of flavour to it without it blowing the top of your head off. My mum still finds this quite spicy (it says it's "mild" mum, and only has one out of three chillis on the front coloured in - man up!) but with the addition of the sour cream and the lettuce she finds it much more palatable.
The kit itself makes it easy to make fajitas and know that you haven't forgotten any of the ingredients and it's handy for storage in the cupboard that they're all contained within one box. Obviously there is quite a lot of packaging included with this product as each element is also individually wrapped within the box, but I've seen much much worse culprits of excess packaging and the box can, of course, be recycled, being made entirely from cardboard.
We used to have fajitas religiously every week until I sat down and worked out the full cost of them. When everything's full price and you have the chicken, peppers, sour cream, cheese etc I worked out it was costing close to £10 for us to have fajitas. Now we have them maybe once a month as a Saturday treat and when i see the kits on special offer I stock up. When you also get the chicken on offer it makes it much more cost effective, although still more than I would expect to spend on a dinner (but having leftovers for lunch the next day effectively means we're getting two meals for the price of one).
*One of our very favourite things to do, if I'm feeling exceptionally organised, is to cook the fajitas filling in advance then take all the other ingredients in a cool box along with our camping stove andreheat them to have them as a picnic by the side of a lake somewhere after a hard hike or bike ride...what a reward for all that hard work!*
All in all I really like these fajita kits. The flavours are delicious and spicy without being too hot and they are a very convenient way of making fajitas. I would definitely recommend them but my recommendation would come with the following warnings:
-only buy them when on offer, otherwise you're better off buying the separate items individually
-if you don't like hot food keep an eye on the chilli rating on the front of the box to make sure you don't get one that will be too much for you
-if you're on a diet you're probably better off leaving out the sour cream and cheese, but they won't be nearly so delicious!
There are other brands of fajita kits available, including supermarkets own ones which are obviously much cheaper and we've tried several of them but, to be honest, the flavours of the Old El Paso ones are by far the best so we always stick to this brand now - even if my hubby doesn't get his tomato and red pepper one as often as he'd like!
Summary: A delicious meal to have as a weekend treat
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