“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Beef „
When it comes to finding time for lunch during a busy working day, it's easy to slip into bad habits and buy whatever fatty convenience food is at hand. However I follow the weight watchers diet plan and try to stick to my points on a daily basis. Due to this, I plan my meals for the entire week to ensure that I am prepared, and to keep me on the straight and narrow diet-wise. Ready meals are essentially an easy and quick option for lunch, and even though they are generally pretty bad for you, there are a few out there that have been specially designed as a healthier option. I chose these "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" as soon as I laid eyes on them in the chiller at my local Tesco store, as I love, love, love Mexican food. A lot of ready meals are same-y and it can get boring eating the same old lasagne, pasta and curry with rice for lunch every day, so was glad of something a little out of the ordinary to be on offer. Unfortunately, I was expecting the world from this ready meal, and was given a plastic miniature globe keychain instead.
These "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" are only available to purchase in Tesco stores. Light Choices is a range of low fat, low calorie foods produced by Tesco for those choosing to watch their weight or eat healthier options. You can find these "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" in the chiller section of the store along with the other chilled ready meals. All Light Choices products are housed together in the chillers.
"Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" come with a price tag of £2.69, which is quite expensive for a 'ready meal', but I guess the size of the portion is a little more substantial than the regular ready meals so this bumps up the price. I picked up this meal when it was on a multibuy offer, so it worked out a little cheaper (but not much!).
The packaging for the "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" is very similar to all other ready meal products. The meal itself comes packaged within a black plastic tray, which is sealed on top with a transparent film. There is an outer cardboard sleeve which fits neatly around the tray that houses all the relevant information that you need to know. The front of the cardboard sleeve is mostly white in colour and features the Tesco Light Choices blue text logo. There is a large photograph of the product itself being served on the front, along with the product name and a brief description. The front of the sleeve also shows the nutritional information at a glance bar and the symbol for the product being freezable. The back of the outer sleeve gives more detail about the product itself along with the full ingredients list. There is also the cooking instructions, full nutritional information, allergy and dietary advice, and contact details for the manufacturer.
Cooking these "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" is pretty simple. You can either cook the enchiladas through in the over for 30 minutes (if you have time, and an oven available), or pop the enchiladas in the microwave for a few minutes on full power. In my workplace, we don't have an oven, so I cooked my enchiladas in the microwave. I generally choose to cook ready meals in the microwave at home too, as there is never much difference between the oven and microwave outcomes (and I'm totally impatient). The method of cooking is completely a personal preference thing.
To look at, these "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" don't seem too appealing whilst uncooked, but then again ready meals never do. You can clearly see the two tortilla wraps rolled within the tray, and the cheese sauce covering them. To me, the cheese sauce looks very similar to the white lasagne sauce you get on pasta type ready meals, and there is a fairly generous amount spread over the top of the tortillas. Once cooked in the microwave, the meal doesn't look much different, other than the cheese sauce has browned a little around the edges and top of the tortillas. Again, nothing too appealing but not unpleasant either.
The smell given off by these "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" was pretty appealing. The smell is one of a rich and meaty scent, coupled with a spicy undertone. The enchilada filling is made mostly from minced beef, so this is the smell that overpowers everything else. I love the smell of cooking minced beef so to me this was rather appealing. As I said, there was a subtle hint of spice, but nothing too strong or obvious, just a slight spicy warmth.
These "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" have a bit of a spicy kick to them, but only slightly. If you can't handle spice, then this meal would probably be okay for you to eat. There's a little bit of a bite and heat, but nothing that's going to break you out into a sweat. I would have liked to have had a little more spicy heat to the meal, but this is again personal preference. The cheese sauce coating the outside of the enchiladas was pretty bland, and tasted much like the white sauce used in lasagne and Italian type ready meals. Nothing special there. The tortillas themselves didn't have much of a taste, they were pretty bland and definitely overshadowed by the rich, meaty flavour of the filling within. Although there wasn't exactly much filling inside the tortillas, it did have some decent flavour to it, which suprised me as the rest of the meal was so far very bland. The filling did have a decent amount of both red and green peppers amongst the minced beef filling, but they were only small pieces, not the big chunky pieces of pepper that I enjoy. There were a lot of kidney beans mixed throughout the filling, and I can't help but think that this was to act as a filler and bulk out the filling, meaning less meat could be used. This said, the filling did have a pretty good flavour to it, rich and meaty with a small hint of spice and a little crunch added by the pieces of pepper and beans. It would have been nice to have had more meat inside the tortillas, but I guess beggars can't be choosers when it comes to a ready meal. There was no underlying taste of salt or sugar, which pleasantly surprised me as this is the general aftertaste left by the majority of ready meals out there. Overall, the taste was good, but average, nothing special or out of this world.
For me, these "Light Choices Beef Enchiladas" were pretty average. Okay, yes they were a 'microwave meal', and they are low fat, but they just didn't satisfy my expectations completely. For a healthy option ready meal, the standard of the contents was pretty fair, having at least a decent amount of flavour and not tasting laden with sugar/salt. However, they really do not compare to the real full fat thing. This should really be a given, but in my mind these could have tasted so much better. The addition of more beef and less beans would have been a plus, but I guess Tesco have to make their profits somehow, right? The portion size was decent as the tortillas did fill the entire length of the plastic tray however the filling was a little scarce and didn't fill the tortillas right to the end. It was nice to see something a little different being offered by Tesco for their ready meal options, however it was a little bit of a letdown, especially based on the price it is being sold at. Overall, I'd say that although the flavour was there and the portion size was decent, I still think the meal on a whole was average. Better than most ready meals, but just lacking that 'something'. I guess I'll just have to keep searching for a completely satisfying, tasty, spicy, delicious, low fat Mexican lunch option!
Tomato, Onion, Tortilla (14%), Beef (12%), Tomato Puree, Red Kidney Beans (7%), Skimmed Milk, Low Fat Hard Cheese, Red Pepper (2.5%), Green Pepper (2.5%), Red Wine, Cornflour, Parsley, Garlic Puree, Sugar, Coriander, Red Chilli Puree, Wheat Flour, Cumin Powder, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika, Smoked Paprika, Mustard Powder, Cinnamon Powder, White Pepper.
Tortilla Contains: Wheat Flour, Water, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Salt.
Nutritional Information per serving:
Energy: 411 kCal
Energy: 1,734 kJ
Protein: 28.0 g
Carbohydrate: 54.0 g
of which sugars: 8.0 g
Fat: 9.2 g
of which saturates: 4.0 g
Fibre: 8.8 g
Sodium: 0.8 g
Salt Equivalent: 1.9 g
Contains Gluten, Wheat, Wheat Flour, Milk, Mustard & Mustard Powder. May contain Nuts.
Weight Watchers points: 7 points per meal.