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Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto

Time-Saving Tuesdays – 2 Ready Meals From Annabel Karmel

Time-Saving Tuesdays – 2 Ready Meals From Annabel Karmel

You may remember that some time ago… as a plonker…. I bought two children’s ready meals made by Annabel Karmel. The first one I’ve reviewed was the “Delicious Beef Cottage Pie” on 9th June 2015. When reviewing that I gave it a 3 when looking at it as an adult meal and 6 when looking at it from a child’s persepective.

Was I harsh, well a little it probably could have had a higher score as a child’s ready meal but it’s how I felt at the time. Anyway onwards to the second ready meal I bought from Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto in it's box

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto in it’s box

Like the Cottage Pie, I think the package is great, it was clean and eye catching, it was concise but yet engaging for children. It had a clear description of what the product was and also a nice message from Annabel herself

As a mum I understand how important it is to give our children the best, even on those days. That’s why I’ve created a range of easy meals inspired by my trusty homemade recipes. They are full of flavour and fun to eat – just like my cookbook favourites. Toddlers and children will love them.

The box describes it as “Just like you’d make it at home” – I’m not sure if that’s strictly true because I’ve never made a risotto at home 🙄 . I know Mel has over at Melanie’s Food Adventures so maybe we should ask her what a homemade Risotto is like 😆 .

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto nutritional information

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto nutritional information

You may remember I asked Melanie for her advice on the nutritional information as I don’t have a clue. I noticed that the quantities of Salt and Sugars are much higher in this ready meal, I’m wondering why this is, below is a table of the breakdown of Salt, Sugar and Protein in both the Cottage Pie and the Risotto.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto ingredients list

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto ingredients list

I really liked the ingredient list, like the rest of the packaging it was clear and well laid out, there was very little to confuse me other than anti-oxidant which I have no clue about. I looked it up on Wikipedia (my sister Heather Googles everything I Wikipedia everything…. it works for me 😀 )! Wikipedia says:

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction involving the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions.

Now the sciency people would understand this, people like Ben Way who have a handle of maths and science but for me it sounds like the start of one of my friend Graham’s music quizzes. The Free Radicals are a group based in America and well Chain Reaction…. (sings to himself) “And I was there and not dancing with anyone, You took a little, then you took me over, You set your mark on stealing my heart away, Crying, trying, anything for you….” I digress 😳 !

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto cooking instructions

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto cooking instructions

The microwave cooking instructions were really clear, however, it didn’t give the right time for my microwave. It did however, tell you how to cook it from chilled which you don’t see often, this I think is a really good idea. The cooking instructions for using an oven were also very clear and equally as informative.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto served up and ready to eat

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto served up and ready to eat

The packaging described this ready meal as being

Chicken breast cooked with Arborio rice and vegetables.

I think this was a really simplistic way at looking at something which had a great deal of flavour, for a child’s ready meal. It was quite tomatoey with the sun-dried tomatoes and the tomato paste, I also felt the presence of two types of cheese worked well and held all the ingredients together. The rice was soft, it didn’t offer a great deal of textural difference to the dish, but there was chicken!!

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto, look at that chunk of chicken

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Chicken, Tomato and Veggie Risotto, look at that chunk of chicken

Yes there was chicken lol! This was something I was so impressed with, the dish was quite soft, I understand that it was a child’s ready meal and that’s why but the presence of the nice sized pieces of chicken made it feel a bit more real, like it was a smaller portion of an adult’s ready meal.

What would I score this, well the last ready meal by Annabel Karmel I reviewed I gave two scores one for children (6) and one for adults (3). I’m not going to do that for this one, I’m going to give it one score, 5 out of 10. I enjoyed it, it was tasty, light and had plenty of chicken. Both these ready meals were a happy accident for me and I’d happily eat them again, I’m no expert on what children eat I’d certainly recommend these ready meals to my parent friends.5 starsCome back Thursday for my Sausage Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce. Don’t forget you can visit us on social media, please feel free to like and share the reviews and recipes on this site, get involved on my social media pages to tell me what you think, or give me some ideas for Time-Saving Tuesdays or recipes I can make.

Strictly Suppers 2014 Banner

Strictly Suppers 2014 Banner

Also if you’re a fan of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing you’ll know it’s coming back on soon. To mark that I’ll be re-launching my #StrictlySuppers feature again, so any ideas you have on that will be greatly appreciated. If anyone’s interested my money’s on Ainsley…. who else would it be on lol!

See you Thursday

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Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie

So I decided it was time to stop sponging off my parents and actually do a shop of my own recently, for the purposes of Wheelie Good Meals of course (not because there was nothing nice to eat in the house honestly your honour)! I bought these two ready meals – now before this review goes any further ssshhh don’t comment on them, wait 😀

Time-Saving Tuesdays – 2 Ready Meals From Annabel Karmel

Time-Saving Tuesdays – 2 Ready Meals From Annabel Karmel

Now while flicking through the ready meal section of the Tesco website I stumbled across these on offer from Annabel Karmel. I didn’t think anything of it, when the delivery arrived my mother commented on how small they were. Well she was right, they were for babies over the age of one! Now wait, you’d think I’d feel like a right plank now and give them to either Gemma or Stacey who have little ones… nah, I hadn’t realised until I was taking pictures of the packet after eating it… doh 😳 !

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie

After reflecting on the humongous mistake I’d made I thought the packaging was very clear. Quite clever in fact it wasn’t geared especially towards children in a way that made them kick, scream and shout until they had it. It was clear, concise and informative and had a pretty little picture of a cow on it. I noticed on the box it said it included “two of your five a day” which when catering for children is impressive.

We eat with our eyes and I didn’t think it looked particularly appetising, that being said if you’re a one year old I suppose looks isn’t important. That being said, I wasn’t disappointed with the flavour of it, you’ll notice from the picture above (and below) there were carrots in the mash, ingenious!

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Carrots in the Mashed Potato

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Carrots in the Mashed Potato

I don’t have children but have been around enough family members’ children and watched enough television to know sometimes the best way to get vegetables into their diet is to hide them. My grandmother Mam Shep tried to convince me for years parsnips were potatoes…. I think that’s why I don’t like them now!

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Nutritional Information

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Nutritional Information

Now when it comes to children’s nutrition I have no club… scratch that, when it comes to any form of nutrition I have no clue! So I asked an expert, a mother, and who better than Melanie from Melanie’s Food Adventures!  Mel  thought the Nutritional information was fine. She felt that the levels of Salt and Sugar were low enough and there was a good level of Protein.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Ingredients

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Ingredients

I thought the ingredients list was very large, there were some excellent ingredients in there, especially introducing them to children but there were some that I was unsure of like acetic acid…. do you know what that is, if so help me out because I’m clueless – it doesn’t sound healthy though! This a quote from Annabel Karmel on the side of the box:

As a mum i understand how important it is to give our children the best, even on those days. That’s why I’ve created a range of easy meals inspired by my trusty homemade recipes. They are full of flavour and fun to eat – just like my cookbook favourites. Toddlers and children will love them.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Cooking Instructions

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Cooking Instructions

You’d have thought if I’d have read that I’d have realised! The cooking instructions were clear, the only issue… yes… as always is there was only instructions for 800W. The packaging also gave cooking instructions for oven cooking which is a good idea as not everyone likes to use a microwave. The description on the package is:

Minced British beef gravy, cooked with carrots and peppers, topped with a carrot and cheese mashed potato

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Ready to Eat

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Ready to Eat

I think that’s a fair assessment of the dish, I’m not sure about the Minced Brittish Beef Gravy…. was there any mince in it, that doesn’t imply so! There was a) because I read the ingredients and b) because I saw it.

3 and 6 Stars

3 and 6 Stars

What would I score this out of ten, well as an adult (not taking it’s size into consideration) maybe it would get a 3, personally I thought it was very tomatoey and very carroty. With that in mind, it’s not an adult meal and I can understand why there was carrots in the mashed potato and why it may have been so tomatoey as children like the taste of tomatoes so I’d give it a six as a children’s meal. If your child(ren) has tried this then let me know what they thought.Comforting Classics - Shepherd's PieI never put tomatoes in my Cottage Shepherd’s pie, click on the picture above to see my recipe. On the whole, would I feed this to my children if I had any, yes I probably would – would I eat it myself, yea if it was in the freezer 😆 but I probably wouldn’t knowingly buy it again – wouldn’t want to spoil my street cred J. Later on in the week we have the rest of my 2nd Dinner Party number 2 menu including Scallops and Chorizo with Greg’s Pea and Mint Purée and Ginge’s Lamb Kofta Curry with Greg’s Saffron Rice 😀

The Box for Bisto Cottage PieIf you want a quick and easy adult Cottage Pie try Bisto’s Cottage Pie, you can click on the image above to take you to my review.  Come back soon and together we’ll make more Wheelie Good Meals

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