“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Beef „
Yet again I have fallen prey to my mother's dieting escapades and the consequential diet-y, low-fat food products that go along with it. Curses! Can I just state, and I say this in a caring way, my mum is a complete fool, for one "diet" options are generally more expensive/less healthy/not that far removed from the original versions anyway, and for two, mum you are perfectly slim as it is! Stop being a silly goose.
On returning home from a hard shift at work yesterday (mothering sunday+footie=busy pub!) I was practically withering away to nothing. My ma decided to manipulate the situation by getting me to eat up this ready meal that she didn't want, and was on its 'last legs' so to speak. So this was thrust in my face as soon as I got in, and although 'minced beef and potatoes' didn't exactly thrill me I was at the light-headed and snappy stage of hunger and was practically eating my shoe at that point. If dogfood had been offered I would have given it serious consideration. Turns out I may aswell have...
This is a part of Tesco's 'light choices' range. I have had a couple of other meals from this range and they were pretty okay-ish, so I was hopeful that this would at least be slightly pleasant. Oh me and my childish hopes. The cardboard sleeve boasted (in a big red circle! You can't miss it!) that this costed a mere £1. A £1! that's, like, a fouth of a vogue magazine! For food! Goodtimes I suppose, since readymeals are usually grossly overpriced.
Being female I also checked out the calorie count. 200 calories?! For the whole fricking thing? Quite, quite amazing.
I was getting in the spirit of things now, so I gave it to Mike (the microwave, duh!) for a few minutes and was rewarded with a hot, steamy plastic tray of some sloppy looking food. I wasn't nonplussed by appearances, I learned and accepted sloppy ready meals years ago. The smell, however...well I can't say I was exactly drinking it in. The smell reminded me of when you're on a plane and they start heating up the food, but grosser. Ho hum.
Plopped out in a bowl, it seemed a plentiful portion. Enough for delicate ladies anyway. Half the meal was made up of the 'minced beef' saucy bit, in its greyish-brown, lumpy splendour. The rest was cubes of potato and a generous amount of peas.
It was finally nom time (we have wierd terms for everything in my house, just so you don't get too confused), and in the spirit of Spring and hope I'll start with the good bits. The potatoes were a starchy joy(!), fluffy and yielding with a nice earthy flavour, indicating these were in fact REAL potatoes and not some reconstuited crap you usually get in such meals. The peas further raised morale, they were fresh-tasting, plump and sweet. All-round stellar peas.
The minced beef part was, sadly, not far off repulsive. It had an awful sticky, almost gluey consistency with tiny bobbles of beef throughout. I was actually thankfull in the end that the beef was diced so small, since the few larger bits I did come across were, just, totally vile. Hard, and rubbery, lord knows what part of the animal it originated from, completely disgusting. There was also some very finely diced carrot and onion in there, but not enough to be noticable in texture or flavour. I'm guessing they were there to bulk out the sauce and lower the calories.
The overall flavour was vaguely meaty, but with an odd bitter, almost sour aftertaste that seemed to pervade and violate my entire oral cavity. Very akin to dogfood. Ewww times ten.
After eating the potatoes and peas I gave up on the sauce. I was surprisingly full at this point and I just COULD NOT GO ON with that sloppy excuse of a..puddle of putrid...homeless person's urine...sauce. Just couldn't. I told my mum she was a child abuser and then flounced off to get some orange juice in a vain attempt to rid my mouth of the unpleasantness. It only slightly worked! I had to taste it for hours after! No matter what I did! Horrific! (can you sense me getting more high-pitched?)
I must grudgingly acknowledge the plus points of this meal. It is cheap, easy to prepare, low calorie and has rather tasty tats and peas. Since I could, to the same effect, buy some normal peas and potatoes and eat those (but why would I do that?) these plus points can only accumulate to one star in my opinion.
The vulgar minced beef part will give me shudders for years to come and for this I suggest, all those except masochists AVOID as one would avoid doggy-poop on the pavement and/or swine flu. It really is that bad.
Tesco have introduced some new light choices meals, so I thought I would give them a try, as they were only £1. The first one I tried was Light Choices Minced Beef and Potatoes. This is described as Potatoes with a minced beef and onion sauce served with peas.
The pack is a regular microwave meal type pack, with a cardboard sleeve over a microwaveable dish which has a film cover. The cover tells you it is Tesco Light choices, minced beef and potatoes, and then clarifies, that it is potatoes with a minced beef and onion sauce served with peas. There is a picture of a heaped plateful of potatoes with minced beef and peas.
The rear of the packet:
There is a lot of information on the back of the packet, in very small print. It says that it is Tesco Light Choices, and has a tag line which says 'Big on taste, light on calories sugar or fat.' It also says 'In our light choices range we don't use any hydrogenated fat, artificial colours and flavours. All products meet strict criteria for sugar, saturates, salt and Calories, and are either less than 3% fat or have half the fat of a comparable product.
It then tells you it is potatoes with a beef sauce and peas and then gives the cooking instructions. (Three and half minutes on full power in an 850 watt oven, or 20-25 minutes in an oven at gas mark5)
It can be frozen and the pack also gives guidelines for cooking from frozen.
Ther is a list of ingredients which I won't bore you with here, but just to tell you it has 32% potato, 11% peas and 10% beef and there is also carrot and onion.
It gives a promise that if you're not satisfied they will refund or replace it, and gives the additional information that it is produced using beef operating to Tesco's livestock standards. Sounds very reassuring doesn't it? It doesn't tell you what those standards are, and if they are the same or better than freedom foods standards. Tesco's livestock standards could be abysmal, we don't know! Anyway...
I was very pleasantly surprised by this, it was tasty, and although there wasn't a great amount it was filling, and made a reasonable meal to eat at work on the late shift. There were reasonable chunks of potato, and the 'sauce' was meaty, with a nice thick rich gravy, plenty of tasty onion, and lovely peas, not over cooked.
I really enjoyed this meal, it smelt appetising as it was cooking in the microwave, and although I probably could have eaten more, it was filling enough to last me for my shift at work. It certainly wouldn't have been enough for my husband for a meal, but for me it was fine. I would recommend this as a tasty filling hot meal when you haven't got the opportunity to cook your own, and at the special price of £1 I would buy it again. If they raise the price a lot, I would think twice, and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with a really hearty appetite
Nutritional infomation per packet:
Energy 200 kcals
Salt equivalent 1.1g