“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Other Ready Meals „
The other day, I was round visiting a friend who's been having some problems. Like me she has Fibromyalgia, and finds it hard to cope with all that life throws at her on occasion - more so because she's a single mum and has 3 kids to bring up. Now I can imagine right now you're thinking what the heck has all this got to do with a review on Tesco value macaroni cheese. Well, one of her issues at the moment is that she's struggling to cook much because she's so tired, so when I went round it wasn't just for a social visit, it was to take her some shopping that I'd bought & to help out a bit. Most of the shopping I chose for her were simple easy to cook meals that she could either do with very little effort at the moment, or ready meals that she could get the kids to help with. One of the ready meals I bought was this value macaroni cheese. I picked up half a dozen of these. Some for the freezer, knowing she and the kids could have one each for an evening meal, and one each for she and I for lunch that day so that I could make sure she ate a proper meal as when the kids are at their dads she often doesn't bother for herself. Anyway, I went for these rather than tins because I knew from experience that tins can be really hard to open and these would be much easier for her to deal with because it's a simple plastic tray with a pull back plastic cover. Oh, and personally I don't think tinned macaroni cheese is up to much. Each serving is 300g, and they cost 74p each. They're fresh when you buy them, but can be frozen, and to cook you simply pierce the lid and microwave for as long as recommended for your strength of microwave. For a lunch these are a good size, and with a helping of vegetables or two, they work pretty well for a main meal to be honest. Compared to a home cooked Macaroni cheese they're not really too bad in terms of nutrition either, 420 calories and 16.5g of fat - but that's for the whole thing, so only just 5.5g per 100 which is not bad. The place they do fall down is that they're fairly high on salt content so you wouldn't want to use these all the time I'd say - specially for kids. After putting the shopping away, making tea and tidying round for her, I popped a couple of these in the microwave for our lunch, and we sat at the table to eat them. I have to say, I personally think the flavour of these is quite good, and I know she was impressed as it was a really quick simple meal that all three kids would eat and that wasn't going to knock her out while she was struggling. The pasta is soft and well cooked and tastes like ermm well pasta really. The cheese sauce was nice and creamy, not overly cheesy, but it did have a good mild cheddar flavour and there was plenty of it, they hadn't skimmed on it like they might have done. The only thing you do have to watch for a little bit is that as the pasta is macaroni tubes it does kind of get filled with the hot sauce and you do get hotspots a little in it - but I guess you do with home made too, so no different really. I have to say that I think both of us were impressed. It's not something either of us had eaten before, so I'd been a little worried choosing for her, but I quite relieved after we ate our lunch that this hadn't been a mistake at all. I'd even go as far as to say I would consider keeping one in my own freezer for hard to manage days too!
This Tesco Value Macaroni Cheese is a real bargain buy at only 74p for a 300g serving! That's about what you pay for the tinned stuff, but this definitely surpasses that. It's in the chiller section in Tesco, and has to be kept fresh in the fridge. This is really heat up and is a typical microwave meal really. Just pierce the film lid, put it in the middle of the microwave, then heat away for up to about ten minutes (depending on your microwave's level of power). Once heated through, you'll need to remove the film lid and then leave it to stand for a couple of minutes. The sauce is bubbling by the time this is finished, as that's how this cooks best, so do be sure to give it some cooling off time before digging in. The appearance of this is absolutely fine. Not quite as tempting as those pre-packaged macaroni cheeses with a generous sprinkling of cheese on top, but perfectly tasty-looking all the same. The smell is again pretty reasonable. It makes me hungry and want to dig in, but it isn't the greatest cheesey smell that's ever wafted up my nostrils. Taste wise is where this stuff scores highly. The pasta is well cooked and there haven't been any tough bits in the three or four of these that I've eaten to date. The cheese sauce is very rich, a little bit salty (but not too much so) and quite mild and cheddary too. This has got a mild over all flavour, but at the same time it tastes very much like you would expect a macaroni and cheese to taste. The downside, you knew there'd be one, is the shocking nutritional content. Bearing in mind that 300g is a reasonable portion but hardly a massive one, you might be a little surprised to hear that this pack contains 16.5g of fat along with 1.5g of sugar (bearing in mind it's not a pudding lol) and 2.3g of salt. Ouch! Only 420 calories though, so swings and roundabouts there then. I do recommend this based on taste and price, but dieters and the health conscious will probably want to give this one a miss.
Last night my wife and I had a Tesco Value Macaroni Cheese with a few chips on the side and although the packaging is different from the one shown here, I found it good value. It can either be microwave or baked in the oven which was preferable in this case as it has a crunchy coating on top. The hot cheesy sauce complimented the chips as we dipped them in and this added to the flavour. However we both found that it was a bit bland and lacking the cheese flavour although there was a hint, it wasn't enough. So as the price is reasonably cheap it isn't bad value for money. There is 450g in the container which we find was quite a good portion compare with other snacks. Tim's Tips; there are still some ways you can either spice it up or just add Ground salt and Black Pepper, brown fruity or tomato sauce and if you don't want chips a slice of hot Garlic bread. Branston Pickle is also a favourite of mine with Macaroni Cheese or an addition of extra cheeses, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. The packet save a lot of preparing and washing up but watch out for melting the packet. I will leave off here or I will either put some off their food or make you hungry.