There are two categories of “easy dinners”. The first are dinners that take up to 30 minutes to prepare and cook so you are eating in no time. The other are meals that take a few minutes to prepare and then sit in the oven (or slow cooker) for a few hours while you go about your adventure (or chores!).
Old El Paso – you know, they make those fajita kits – have launched a new range of casserole mixes. Designed to give you a taste of Mexico, these are packet mixes that you add to various other bits and bobs and then bung in the oven for a couple of hours. Old El Paso sent me a couple to try out (along with a selection of their other kits, which you already know I like), one for beef and one for chicken.
Smoky Chipotle Chilli and Honey Casserole Recipe Mix – for Beef
These casserole mixes are not kits – you have to add quite a few ingredients to them to turn them into a meal. For this one you add water, tomato puree, honey and water to the seasoning mix before stirring that through your already browned beef casserole steak, chopped onion and red pepper. Once that’s done, though, you’re all set – it goes in the oven on a fairly low temperature for a couple of hours, and can go straight to the table.
It was really tasty, with a definite smokiness and a hint of chilli. We ate ours with some courgetti and garlic bread, which worked well as accompaniments. Our left overs (both casseroles are designed to serve four so we got two meals from each) went brilliantly with some mashed potato. Don’t forget spicy food is always “hotter” on the second day!
Creamy Poblano Pepper Casserole Recipe Mix – for Chicken
This one takes less preparation than the beef one we tried first, and uses fewer ingredients, but still takes the same two hours to cook in total. The seasoning mix gets added to water and then put in a casserole dish with chicken, onion and green pepper. You add some double cream for the last ten minutes.
At the point of adding the cream we felt this casserole was really quite watery. Thankfully adding the cream helped, but it could still do with being a bit thicker for my liking – perhaps if you add two peppers or some extra chicken the sauce would be less sloppy. You definitely need some carbs to soak up the juices; we had rice the first time around and then mash with the leftovers, both which worked very well.
Of the two we preferred the beef mix, and I will definitely be buying that again for an easy way to create a hearty meal. I followed the instructions on the packet this time around, but next time I will give it a go in the slow cooker – even easier in my opinion and means I have a great meal ready when I get in from work. I’ll let you know how that goes.