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Back August 30th, 2018 Forward
Meg Reviews Recipes: Tandaco One Pan Dinner Tomato Lasagne Meal Base

This one comes as a boxed pack of sauce mix and noodles, and tells you to "just add meat" (500g minced beef to feed 4 people, 750g to feed 6).

It's pretty easy to assemble, and promises to be cooked in twenty minutes (I think they're looking at the microwave times there), so it's excellent for those evenings when you suddenly realise you should have put dinner on about a half an hour ago but got distracted by the Internet (I admit to nothing...). All you need to do is brown the mince (with or without the addition of garlic and onion), add the sauce mix and water - 3 1/2 cups, which seems a lot, but then you're adding pasta as well. Stir everything together until it boils, then throw in the pasta, shove on a lid, and let it simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes. They suggest adding things like sliced or chopped capsicum, sliced mushrooms, or chopped zucchini to the mix in the last ten minutes of cooking time to fancy things up, and if you're trying to feed six people with this mixture, you'd probably be best off doing all of those, I suspect.

Once it's prepared, it's easy enough to serve up and eat with a fork, but it certainly isn't anything to write home about. This is incredibly bland. I added salt, and the only actual flavour I could taste was the salt I added. Even himself, who tends to have slightly more subtle taste-buds than I do, couldn't really notice anything distinctive about it. So if you have a friend who is a hyper-taster, they may actually be able to tolerate this.

Overall, I think I'll leave this one on the shelves at Coles in future. I can do up a more satisfying tomato noodle mince mix myself, and it actually tastes of something when I do.

Skill Level: 1 out of 5
Spoons/Fuss and Bother: 1 out of 5. If, like me, you're at the age where reading the phone book bare-eyed is no longer a possibility, you'll need to retrieve your reading glasses to be able to understand the directions. If you have upper body strength issues, you might have a bit of trouble with browning the mince. Standing time is about the length of time required to brown the mince, so maybe about five minutes all up.
Overall: 2 out of 5. It fills you up and warms you up, but that's about it.
Considerations: Contains pasta, hence gluten. The package warns for wheat and milk products, as well as being manufactured on equipment that also processes products containing barley, rye, egg, sesame seeds and soy products. Also contains tomato powder and onion powder. Probably neither kosher nor halal; check with anyone who keeps either of these practices before offering it to them. Not safe for vegans even with protein substitutions due to milk products in mix.

ETA: I had the leftovers of this sprinkled with Cajun seasoning, which actually made it vaguely palatable. So, if you're interested in a bit of spark in these things, throw in a teaspoon or so of Cajun seasoning while you're cooking it, and see how these things go.

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Back August 30th, 2018 Forward