“ Brand: Weight Watchers / Type: Chicken „
The reason I purchased this Chicken Casserole & Dumplings ready meal is simply because the chilled Weight Watchers meals, at the time, were on special offer where you could choose four from the range for £5. This was an excellent offer and seemingly available only in a few Tesco stores as many people I've spoken to did not see this offer, including my sister who uses the next store along on the Tesco 'map'. I had not tried this meal before but it certainly looked appetising; the box has been changed since the photograph above was taken, it's now a rustic looking sleeve featuring a far nicer picture of the casserole. The cooking directions were spot on, the exact timing escapes me at the moment but it's roughly 45 minutes to cook the casserole in the oven and significantly less if you are confident enough with the microwave to use that. When the timer went off I was less than impressed with the appearance of the meal, I had carefully spooned the casserole onto a plate but it looked awfully insipid. Weight Watchers have used a poultry gravy for the base of this casserole, but it's not a pleasant gravy and looks far paler than any casserole I would cook for myself. There is adequate chicken in the casserole, slightly less than I would have hoped for but certainly not the tiny amount Weight Watchers used to supply in their old style meals. Since their revamp the ready meals have definitely improved, unfortunately this one hasn't really been brought up to speed and is a return to the tasteless and uninspired ready meal. The chicken has an extremely bland flavour, to the point where eating it became dull as each bite was identical to the last. It's nicely cooked, it has a very soft consistency as you eat - but even this is not a particularly good thing as it causes the chicken to feel a little processed after a while. The gravy is as bad as it looks. It's fairly thick but has no richness, the gravy tastes as though it has been flavoured with something but it's hard to pick out any individual flavours. I suspect it's sage from the aftertaste of the gravy, but it's such a synthetic sauce that it's hard to be sure. The very few vegetables used in the casserole had a very overcooked consistency and tasted like they had come out of tins; I wouldn't count this as one on your portions of daily vegetables as your diet would become rather lacking! The highlight of the meal for me were the two large fluffy dumplings, and even those weren't particularly good. They go a little crispy on the top and have an enjoyable dense consistancy, in keeping with the rest of the meal however they are very bland tasting. With each bite I couldn't help thinking it was like eating a warm bread roll, the dumplings certainly need a little more salt and possibly some kind of fat even if it means raising the calorie content of the meal. I cannot recommend this meal, I shall definitely not buy it again myself as the quality is simply not there. There are six Weight Watchers points in the meal, and even this is not terribly low considering I can make my own chicken casserole at home for just three points. It tastes far better than this and due to the large amount of vegetables I use, it satisfies my appetite for longer than this rather small ready meal. I do laugh at myself when I make this mistake, it's so silly to buy a ready prepared version of a meal you cook well yourself because it will not be as satisfying in taste or substance.