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I really like spicy food and nagged my mum to cook something different so she went out and bought me the 'Old El Paso' stand 'n' stuff taco kit.
The stand 'n' stuff taco kit consists of 10 flat bottom taco shells, which taste a litlle like nachos,taco spice mix and a mild taco salsa. All that you will need to add to the ingredients to make these yummy tacos are 500g of minced beef, lettuce, tomatoes and grated cheese.
This taco kit is great because you can make the meal to suit you. If your not a big fan of spicy food and would prefer a more mild taste, then you could just add half of the spice mix and add a few more tomatoes. On the other hand if you prefer hot food like me then you could just add a few peppers and chilies. Also if you do not like minced beef you can add chicken instead, i have tried it in the past and it turned out to be a lovely meal.
It serves 4 people and it is very easy to make and it only takes roughly 2o mintues prepare and cook. At the back of the box it has a helpfull guide on how to cook the meal, it has 3 easy steps with pictures to ensure you what it should look like. It also has some suggestions on the back of the box to try their other kits such as 'crispy chicken fajitas' and 'chili and bacon burritos'. This taco kit is even suitable for vegetarians, so if your a vegetarian then you can simply substitute the minced beef for quorn.
I love this type of food where you just help yourself, so i bought this thinking the flat bottoms would make filling them and eating them easier. Sadly i was very disappointed, the pack contains the nachos, spice mix and salsa, the salsa was lovely and refreshing I was worried that it would be to spicy so that all you would be able to taste was the heat and nothing else. I was proven wrong it was a refreshing twist to the meal and added an extra depth. The spice mix for me personnally lacked a distinct flavour and taste so I ended up adding more seasoning and spices but that could just be personal choice. The nachos were the biggest disappointment, they were very greasy when they can out of the oven and trying to negociate eating hot chilli out of one them was quite amusing, we ended up crushing them and putting all the fillings on the top and eating with a knife and fork. Tasty but not easy to eat.
Old El Paso are well known for making Mexican dinner kits. The newest addition to the range is the stand and stuff taco kit. Tacos are mexican corn based shells which you fill with a number of fillings and eat.
There are two differences between this kit and the standard taco kit, firstly these tacos have a flat bottom which makes them easier to fill and makes sure they dont fall over and secondly yhr price. Expect to pay £2.39 for this kit compared to £1.35 for a standard kit, a big difference.
The kit contains the beginings of a non authentic mexican meal. The tacos are heated for a few minutes in either the microwave or the oven before filling them. These tacos look slightly different from the standard ones because they have a wider base. I find that normal tacos have the tendency to curl up when you cook them and these were no exception but because of their bigger size they dont close entirely. When cold they do stand up but when heated they fall over just like the normal ones.
The kit also contains the stand and stuff mix for tacos. This is a powder which you add to 500g of minced beef with some water to make a chilli. I never bothered making this as I know from experience that it makes a really nasty salty chilli, I much prefer to make my own using real tomatoes and spices.
The salsa the kit contains is delicious, it is a mix of tomatoes, chillis and herbs and spices. The salsa contains generous chunks of tomato and is delicious, almost as good as fresh.
When I put these ingredients together it was an ok meal, I found that the larger bottoms on the tacos let them go soggy rather quickly which is not nice. I enjoyed the meal but felt that I had been ripped off, I could have had just as nice a meal using either old el pasos cheaper kit or a supermarkets own brand alternative. It's a bit cheeky of old el paso to charge over a pound more for what is essentially the same product, just a slightly different shape.
I love eating Old El Paso Taco's but the problem with them was that they were always falling over as they had a round bottom but now that's all changed. Recently Old El Paso brought out a new Taco dinner kit called "Stand N'stuff Taco Kit" It's almost identical to their other one except that it is easier to use because they now have flat bottoms.
The pack weighs 322g which is enough to make 12 Taco's. It costs £2.43 whereas the standard packet only costs £1.38, that's a big price difference and I have to say I wasn't too happy with Old El Paso for doing that considering that it's exactly the same but with a flat bottom to the Taco's. Oh well I guess that's the price you have to pay for convenience and a new product.
Anyway the kit comes in a bright yellow box with the Old El Paso symbol at the top and a picture of the Taco's at the bottom with I have to say do look a bit wider than the original ones. In the top left hand corner it says New so you know that you're not picking up the wrong box. On the back are the ingredients, nutritional information and the cooking instructions.
This kit, just like the other Taco Kit doesn't contain any fresh ingredients so you don't need to worry about it going off but you'll need to buy some. The packet recommends minced beef and a salad which is a really great filling, very tasty. The pack does however contain:
10 Flat Bottom Taco Shells, Taco Spice Mix, Mild Taco Salsa.
Put some oil in a pan and warm it until it's hot
Add the minced beef
Cook until it is brown all over
Drain any liquid
Empty the packet of spice mix into a jug
Add 100ml of water to it and stir
Tip mixture of minced beef and allow to boil
Turn down the temperature and let them simmer for 10 minutes (uncovered)
Keep stirring and let it simmer until all the liquid is gone
Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4
Put the Taco Shells on a baking tray
Make sure they are open end down
Bake for 2 or 3 minutes
OR you can do them as I did:
Place the Taco's 6 at a time into the microwave on full power for 1 minute
Fill the taco shells with the salsa, minced beef mixture and, as the box recommends, cheese and lettuce.
As you can see they really are easy to make and the bonus of this pack is that they don't fall over when you are trying to fill them. However to be honest I don't think it's worth paying a £1 extra just to make sure they don't fall over because you can hold them up with one hand and stuff them with the other then they go straight into your mouth before anymore standing around is required, why would I want to pay more for something I can do myself? These are a great idea but if you ask me they are pretty pointless, they look, smell and taste the same as the original kit the only exception being that they have a flat base rather than being rounded.
As you can see it's really easy to cook these and I was finished within 20 minutes, woo!
They smell really good when they are mixed and the spiciness is clear from the smell. They do however taste even better than they smell. The tacos had a definite crunch to them which was really pleasant; I like my tacos to crunch and had a slightly salty taste to them. The filling was great; I found that the lettuce helped to cool down the taste of the salsa and spices, which thankfully weren't too hot anyway. I didn't have any cheese with this food so I can't tell you how it would taste but my husband enjoyed his cheese and said it just added to the flavour.
For those of you who want to know what's in your food, here are the ingredients. It is all vegetarian in the packet and you can choose to use something else rather mince if you don't want meat:
Corn Flour, Vegetable Oil, Salt
Tomato, Chopped Onion, Tomato Paste, Green Peppers, Water, Salt, Vinegar, Dehydrated Onion, Sugar, Onion Powder, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Guajillo Chilli Pepper, Garlic, Coriander, Cumin, Oregano, Black Pepper, Colour: Paprika Extract, Citric Acid
Taco Spice Mix:
Dextrose, Red Pepper Powder, Salt, Flavourings, Black Pepper, Cumin, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Colour: Paprika Extract
Overall I give these 6 out of 10 because I'd much rather save a £1 by buying the original ones, it's a rip off charging to give you a flat base when lets be honest after you've filled them they'll be gone in about 5 seconds flat. Buy the original version and save some money to buy a tasty filling!