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Sainsbury's 'Basics' Macaroni Cheese

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6 Reviews

Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Other Ready Meals

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    6 Reviews
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      13.04.2010 00:32
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      Not something that will be appearing in my trolley again.

      When it comes to macaroni cheese nothing can be the taste of freshly cooked Mac and cheese with onions and tomatoes. But having a new addition to the family, the lack of sleeps been getting the better of me. So when I saw this macaroni cheese in the chilled meal aisle in Sainsbury I though it would be worth a try.

      Priced at only 75p for this 300 gram meal is excellent value for money (as i thought at the time). It's also freezable and suitable for vegetarians. This one small pack also contains a total of 466 calorie and a massive 10grams of salt! It's also contains no artificial colours or flavours.

      It's easy to cook. You can either cook it in the microwave or in the oven. I personally prefer to cook ready meals in the oven as it makes them taste so much better. All you need to do it remove the cardboard outer wrapper and peel off the plastic lid. Pop it on a tray and into a pre heated oven at 190oc for 35 minutes. (Or you can defrost it first, and then it'll only take 20 minutes.)

      The first thing I notice was the sauce looked very watery, and I was correct this macaroni cheese really lacked cheese flavours as it tasted so watery. I mixed it up but still it didn't improve on the taste. It tasted very bland and the pasta also had no flavouring. After grating some extra cheese into it and a few twists of pepper, and popping in back in the oven for a few minutes really did improve on the taste.

      As for the connivance of a prepacked meal I think after the amount of time it took and having to add cheese and pepper, I would have been better just making it from scratch.

      Personally this wasn't to my expectation and isn't something I would purchase again. Truly i was disappointed by this Sainsbury's basic item as they are normally great.

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        01.02.2010 12:52
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        2/5

        Yesterday on my way to work I needed to get a quick snack for my lunch, I was in a rush so as I hurried into Sainsbury's this was one of the first ready meals I saw so I just picked it up and decided to have a try.

        Price: Sainsbury's Basic Macaroni Cheese is only 75p for 300g which is a great price, other non- basics range Macaroni Cheese are about £2 which makes this pretty good value. However it is about 100g smaller than the average size Macaroni Cheese Ready Meal.

        Packaging: The same plain Sainsbury's Basic's packaging is used on this item, as with many ready meals there's a cardboard sleeve so you can pull this off and have a look what the Macaroni Cheese looks like before you buy. I cooked mine in the microwave at work, now they are catering microwaves so I aren't sure whether this would happen in a normal microwave but the plastic container got very hot! So make sure you have a tea towel close by.

        Cooking instructions: In the microwave you take off the cardboard pierce the film lid and put in for 3 minutes, you then take it out peel the film off abit stir, re-cover and cook for a further 1 and a half minutes. In the oven you pierce the film lid and cook it for 20 minutes at 190 degrees or gas mark 5. When you take it out it is very hot so you might want to leave it to stand for a minute or two.

        Taste and Appearance: The Macaroni Cheese looks like any other, the sauce appears creamy and not too thin, which I think makes it abit more filling because you actually feel like you're eating something. Unlike many microwave pasta dishes the pasta remained nice and soft, sometimes it goes hard, and it was really nice and cheesy. It is quite a small portion though, you need some salad with it to bulk it out abit.

        Nutrition: This Macaroni Cheese really isn't very good for you, if I'd of realised this before buying I probably wouldn't of bought it. It has 466kcal, which for the portion size really isn't worth it. It also contains 10g of saturated fat, which is half of your recommended daily allowence! It also contains nearly 30% of your daily salt intake so you don't want to be eating these too often.

        Overall: Really good price and taste, however the packaging is a little impractical and the nutrition is absolutely terrible! I loved the taste but don't think I'd be in a rush to buy another.

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        16.10.2009 20:55
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        I picked this up from the chilled aisle of Sainsburys last week. I'm not normally a huge eater of ready meals, but as I'm going on holiday soon, I wanted some food I could keep in the fridge to eat quickly and conveniently, but could shove into the freezer if for any reason it didn't get eaten .

        It comes with the normal 'Basics' orange and white packagaging, which is pretty dull but instantly recognisable, and has all the nutritional and ingredient info on it, as well as cooking instructions for both ovens and microwaves from either chilled or frozen.

        I opted of course for cooking int the microwave from chilled - when I'm hungry, I get very impatient . This was a simple matter of slipping the white plastic container out of the outer cardboard casing, popping it on a plate and piercing the film lid a few times before heating for 2 minutes . You then need to pull back the film, stir, and heat for a further one and a half minutes, then leaving it to stand for a minute and serving .

        When it came to serving up, the white container is actually rather hot to handle, which is a small problem, but one common to most ready meals . It's very pale creamy coloured, and there seems to be rather a lot of sauce . The macaroni pieces are quite generously sized though, and the sauce is thick enough to coat them well .

        Taking a mouthful, it was actually rather better than I was expecting - the sauce was smooth, creamy, and definately very cheesy, and the macaroni was perfectly cooked, not too soft and not too hard .

        This meal is intended to serve one - although I served mine with some peas as I found the size of the portion a little small for a full meal . However, I am a big eater, and I think this meal is perfectly suited for those with smaller appetites, or could even be divided between two if served with some salad and garlic bread to make a full meal .

        Per 300g pack, there are 466 calories , and 20.7g of fat, 10g of which is saturates . Thats rather a lot of fat, especially considering that the amount of saturates is actually 50 per cent of an adults RDA . So, it's not the healthiest meal around .

        I will probably eat this again - It's tasty, and at only 75p is good value for money, as well as being quick and convenient to prepare. However, I would need to be careful not to eat it to often due to the high fat content , but for a meal in a hurry, it works!

        4 stars - one off for the very high amount of saturates .

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          24.08.2009 16:38
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          great buy now

          I'm starting to wonder about your taste buds, Dooyooers. I am started to seriously wonder. Two stars, you say? TWO STARS?! THIS IS MADNESS! I can't be bothered to follow that line. You get the drift. I think it is rather sick that such a great product should get, er, two stars? C'mon, guys. Four, at least. MAYBE FIVE. I CAN'T DECIDE YET.

          I decided to pick this up because, although I'm not a fan of ready meals, I've always wanted to try macaronia nd cheese and I didn't want to make it if no one else would eat it with me unless I knew I'd like it...errr, long sentence, sorry. So I picked this up. It's very neat, and cheap. I believe it was 79p and this made me very happy. I jumped for joy. Not really. But I was somewhat happy because a meal for 79p is pretty dang decent.

          It comes in a neat little black tray. It says to put it in the microwave. This is what I did. In the middle of heating you have to stir it up with, er, a fork or something. This, I also did. It was rather disturbing as there were still clumps of ice and at this point I went, noooo, there is no hope. However, there was some cheesy sauce left on my fork and I ate it and it was delicious. Therefore, my hope was returned to me. I waited for the rest of the heating to be done, and then I ate.

          It is delicious. The only problem I can see with this is that there is not a lot of macaroni, really, it's largely the sauce which may explain the rather radical amounts of (saturated) fat. The sauce isn't thick. I guess that might be a problem but I've never eaten any other macaronia nd I thougth it was delicious. I mean, I heated this is in the microwave and the cheese started to brown - isn't that weird? So I think heating this in in the oven would be seriously EPIC. I feel I will try this.

          Although the sauce isn't thick, it's really, really cheesy. I eat loads of cheese and by the end I was about dying of cheese overload. It's pretty much just, er ya, cheese and macaroni - I think it would be good to throw in a few peas or tomatoes or something to at least make an attempt at healthiness, you know. I will remember this for next time (I've bought another).

          I was full by the end of eating which is all you really want from a ready meal, so I'd definitely recommend this. It's really cheesy and lovely and definitely worth buying. Please don't eat it every day as you'll die of cheesiness, but for a lazy dinner once in a while I think it's pretty awesome.

          But I'm giving it four, after all. I think it could do with a few more bits of pasta to give a bit more bite. I guess throwing in veggies would solve this as well.

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          17.05.2009 22:48
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          I might buy it again

          I bought this macaroni cheese as there isnt much choice in my local small sainsburys, and being vegetarian most ready meals were meat based, so I went for this one.

          This is a one persons ready meal, and there are loads of others in the sainsburys basics range, like spaghetti bolognase, shepards pie, and lasagne.

          It costs around 80p, and is part of the sainsburys basics range. That means boring packaging with the orange brand of sainsburys all over it.

          The tray that the meal comes in is quite small, but enough for one person. You can either cook it in the microwave in abour 4 mins, but I dont have one so cooked it in the oven for 20mins.

          I had this ready meal with lettuce and cucumber, and it went quite well together. Half way through the cooking process, I removed the film lid and stirred to make sure all the sauce would get hot.

          The sauce is quite thin, but tastes cheesy, and although the pasta is more soggy than I would have liked it did fill me up.

          If your looking for a ready meal that is suitable for vegetarians then try this. It wont break the bank, and is best served with some salad, as there is no vegetable content in it, so not particularly good for you.

          I am still full up now after a few hours, and thats the main thing Im trying to achieve with my diet. I know that this ready meal is full of saturated fats, but I didnt eat pudding!

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            19.07.2008 22:25
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            Gross

            Finding the perfect macaroni cheese has been a long standing ambition of mine! Ok sure I can make it easy enough but I'm someone who doesn't like fuss and I want something quick cos I'm to lazy to make much effort when it comes to cooking lately. On my travels on trying to reach perfection I've bought tins, ready meals and dried sachets of macaroni cheese oh and a thing like a pot noodle attempt. Now that was revolting!

            So I was rather excited the other day when I got in from perusing the shops for new clothes for a date in a cocktail bar to meet a nice a man and so much so I forgot to eat while I was out and missed breakfast and lunch, most unlike me! My Mum was sat watching Jeremy Kyle and as I made us a cuppa I saw the oven was on and I asked her what she was making and she told me she'd decided to stop cooking for a bit and ready meals were in the freezer for everyone and I could have the same as what she had if I wanted, this Macaroni Cheese. I was delighted till I saw the box and my little heart sank! Oh grrrr 'economy' but undettered I was starving so to catch mum up as she was about to eat rather than put mine in the oven I decided to bang mine in the microwave so we could eat together.

            The Packaging....

            The meal comes in a white, squarish plastic container with a see through film lid over the top that is stamped with what it is and who is by on it and thats it. Over that is a cardboard sleeve, that slides on and off and of course contains information on the product and you do not cook it in it! lol I almost put that in the microwave as well so I thought its worth mentioning lol

            The sleeve itself is white and orange. On the front in white writing at the top and on a orange band of colour I am told it's Sainsbury's 'Basics'. Under that there is picture of the cooked macaroni on a white plate and over the top of that there is a nutritional at a glance pye chart and I'm told in a green circle beneath that that there is no hydrogenated fats, artificial colours or flavours. On the right hand side of the sleeve I am told in orange writing that it is macaroni cheese 'just for one' and then beside that I'm told it is vegetarian and suitable for freezing and the display date is shown along with the use by date. On the back in small black writing I'm given instructions on how to cook it, nutritional information, how to store it (in fridge or freezer), ingredients and allergy advice, contact details for Sainsbury's and the size is listed (300gram), and a bar-code is show. It's economy looking packaging but contains all the details you need.

            How To Cook....

            Oven Cook....

            20 minutes from chilled on 190c or gas mark 5
            35 minutes from frozen on 190c or gas mark 5

            Microwave....

            From chilled 3 and 1/2 minutes - 4 and 1/2 minutes
            From Frozen 5-6 minutes

            The Product....

            Well as I've said already I microwaved mine and my Mother oven cooked hers and although hers was what I call cooked as properly as you can and you'd expect better results considering I wacked mine in the microwave for alot less time than it took hers to cook there was no difference in appearance, consitency or anything else. On the plates side by side our dishes looked the same.

            I cooked mine in the microwave for the full four and a half minutes and it came out piping hot and looked cooked. I splatted it on a plate. Yes splatted. Ok huge portion but it looked disgusting.

            As I slide it out of the carton the bottom part ran on my plate followed by the pasta and the top part of the sauce was thick and lumpy looking though it was cooked. Colour wise an insipid pale cream colour met my eyes. No brown colour of course on mine giving a baked look because I'd microwaved it but I looked at my mums one she had oven cooked and it looked the same as mine. It was no more firm or coloured than mine which surprised me and the consistency was the same so it doesn't go thicker in the oven. Again a surprise to me..

            So I gave mine a good stir and the heat did sort of melt the top part and all it needed was a stir. It all then just became rather runny and didn't really stick to the pasta so my pasta sat in a pool of whitish looking sauce.

            So I was disapointed in it's appearance but the taste is far more important of course. Well I Wish I'd never put it in my mouth.

            Ok the pasta was alright. It wasn't stodgy, slimy, sticky or clumped up and the pieces were long and slanted with slight ridges in them. It had barely any taste but then it has sauce so surely that wouldn't matter to much? The pasta although an inch kind in size per tube and plenty of it made me realise this was an economy product and that the pasta they used in it must be the cheap and nasty stuff they sell in store also from the basic range. It wasn't awful and turned out to be the best part of the meal though I couldn't say I enjoyed it.

            The sauce was simply vile. Normally I'd eat anything and I am a ganet as I love my grub and I was hungry. The sauce well where can I start? First mouthful was like soup only a tiny bit thicker and I felt it was a bit powdery like they had used milk powder in the sauce instead of milk. Checking this out on the ingredients milk powder isn't listed but that's how sweet it is and not in a natural kind of way. Then I got a slightly sour taste like cream and again no that's just milk and butter. I really shovelled it in my mouth and almost gargled it to find the cheese. Nope. None. I really hunted and peered at my dish. I'm certain my macaroni cheese contained none! I really couldn't find it. 10% cheese obviously isnt enough even if it is mature.

            So my verdict is that if someone was to blindfold you and make you guess what this is, after you gag it back up you really wouldn't know. It's really that bad. The only ingredient I could taste on my sloppy white sauce was nutmeg. I identified that before looking at the ingredients. It's too much and it's powdered throughout the dish though you can't see it.

            Overall....

            Not recommeded. It's disgusted me so much I feel like contacting Sainsbury's about it asking for another meal to be delivered with a block of cheese! Nothing can make this better without cheese. I could critise the fact it isn't seasoned as much as I feel it should be but seasoning would probably make the taste worse. This is one to really avoid and save your pennys and not insult your tastebuds or your tummy with. As my mum said when she ate it...'This wasnt worth gaining weight for' just before turning a shade of green....

            Ingredients....

            Cooked macaroni pasta (35%), cow's milk, water, mature cheese (10%),(from cow's milk), cornflour, rapeseed oil, wheat flour, butter (from cow's milk), dijon mustard (water, black mustard seed, spiriti vinegar, salt), salt, white pepper, nutmeg.

            Cooked macaroni pasta contains water, duram wheat semolina.

            Allergy Advice....

            Contains milk, mustard & wheat semolia.

            Nutritional Values...Per Meal

            Energy 414g
            Protein 15.6g
            Carbohydrate 46.6g
            of which is sugars 1.8g
            Starch 14.0g
            Fat 6.2g
            of which is saturates 3.1g
            mono-unsaturates 1.9g
            polyunsaturates 0.7g
            Fibre 1.2g
            Salt 0.3g
            of which is sodium 0.10g

            Price...

            This particular one is 79p and is 300g is size and there is 340g also Basics Macaroni cheese and the sleeve is slightly different but after looking at the ingredients and nutritional values looks no different is priced at the lower price of 69p. I could say they can't give the stuff away but I won't lol.

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