From the Decorated Cookie.
So there’s one that I had never considered being creative with. I love me some Totino’s pizza rolls….despite how horribly unhealthy they are. Or maybe it’s BECAUSE they are so unhealthy that I love them from time to time.
I see them as a convenience food, though, that gets tossed in the oven (or even the microwave when I’m desperate…shh). I wouldn’t have considered turning them into something more fun, but she did! And it was as simple as tossing some pizza sauce, some cheese, and a few heart shaped spinach leaves a top a pile of pizza rolls arranged into a pointy heart.
I would probably replace the green stuff with some carefully cut pepperonis instead. After all, if I’m going to indulge in cheap, unhealthy food, why spoil it with green stuff? My mother taught me better than that!
(Also…. happy birthday!)
Today’s post is brought to you by guest poster, Sally.
Everyone remembers the food that they ate when they were young. These are the foods that weren’t always the best things around or the healthiest – but the most fun! Most adults forget about what they used to go crazy for as their tastes change, but it’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane.
So if you have ever tried to eat a full packet of popping candy in one go or loved the huge sizes of the old Monster Munch (which are now back!) here are some of the so called “kid’s” food that you will probably have feasted on and loved in the past.
What was not to love about Crispy Pancakes? These favourites from Findus were a fast tea with chips and beans and had flavours like mince and onions, chicken and mushroom, chicken and bacon and cheddar cheese. These fillings were slipped between a folded pancake that had been coated in breadcrumbs. Cook them for too long and they are like cardboard, don’t cook them for long enough and they taste like soggy cardboard – but as a kid everyone thought they were amazing!
These were some of the most popular sweets that kids would run to the shop to buy with their 20p in their hand. Jawbreakers were (or should I say are as you can still find them) massive gob stoppers that have loads of layers. Each layer is a different colour and flavour and it was so exciting seeing which one would come next. Most kids couldn’t manage the full jawbreaker in one go so they would leave it and go back to it later – by putting it on a plate, worktop, desk etc!
Pop Tarts are the ultimate in kids food – stick one or two into the toaster and wait…..when it pops out you have a slice of sugary heaven with a super hot filling. Not only were these a favourite of kids and plenty of adults all over the country they were the cause of a lot of burns. Hands up anyone who hasn’t grabbed a Pop Tart fresh from the toaster and bitten straight into it and suffered the agony of hot jam burning their mouth! It might have hurt but we went back for more. One of the best things about Pop Tarts was they were marketed as a breakfast snack, so we could munch them thinking we were being good.
Um Bongo they drink it in the Congo! This was the drink that had more tropical fruits than you can shake a stick at. It was fruity, sweet and addictive for kids. Most parents hated it but nearly everyone had this in their lunchbox at school. It came in boxes which were easy to keep in your bag 9and pop once you had drunk it) and the advert jingle was sung in playgrounds all over the country.
You might have forgotten about Angel Delight but it if you try it again it will probably be a new guilty pleasure. Making Angel Delight took a few minutes (mix the powder with milk) then put it in the fridge to set. Some people would eat it runny before it set, which was good, but others would be forced by their mum to eat it ‘properly’. The only question with this sweet and smooth combination of a sauce and mousse was which was your favourite flavour? Was it chocolate, raspberry, strawberry butterscotch or banana? Mine was butterscotch.
What could be better than chips that cooked in the microwave? For plenty of kids nothing! Check a packet of microchips in your microwave and three minutes later you could be eating scolding hot chips that tasted as though they were fresh. Well they didn’t but they were fun and they were quick to make as soon as you got in from school!
Author bio: Sally Lindsey, kitchen designer for London based kitchen company Nicholas Anthony. She focuses her effort on kitchen paraphernalia and design trends that adds life to this place of the house, including optimal use of space for big families, cooking recipes and light fixtures.
I’m one of those weird people who actually sometimes craves tv dinners (They don’t even call them that any more, do they?). Are they better than a home cooked meal or a trip to a restaurant? Nah, not usually. But they’re cheap…and done in 3-5 minutes with minimal effort.
And I might have a little nostalgia in there somewhere, too. Growing up, I rarely got them and actually saw them as a treat. I was spoiled with home cooked meals and had no idea that I shouldn’t be jealous of my friends who always “got to go to McDonald’s” or “had cool Lunchables at lunchtime.” The grass is always greener, huh?
So while I rarely eat tv dinners or prepackaged meals of any sort, I certainly wasn’t going to turn down the chance to try out Lean Cuisine’s new line of dinners. I had already heard a bit of buzz about them and they were supposed to be pretty good, so why not, right?
I had a pretty hefty list to choose from, which is never easy for me, so I brought along a friend to help me choose and then sample them. Here were our choices:
- NEW Spinach Artichoke Ravioli;
- NEW Asparagus Ravioli;
- Ranchero Braised Beef;
- Chile Lime Chicken;
- Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli;
- Chicken Makhani;
- Chicken & Vegetables;
- Chicken in Peanut Sauce;
- Chicken Carbonara;
- Glazed Chicken;
- Steak Tips Portobello;
- Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce;
- Chicken Pecan;
- Thai-Style Chicken;
- Chicken Marsala;
- Lemon Chicken;
- Orange Chicken.
Somehow, we managed to pick two chicken dishes that looked almost identical on the boxes, so I thought it’d be cool to compare/contrast and pick a winner between the two.
The contestants? Chile lime chicken for me and thai-style chicken for them. Actually, I don’t think they were intended to go in that order even, but it worked out for the best.
First, check out the pictures. I am SO sorry that the pictures aren’t great. Have you ever tried to take a picture of tv dinners? Even if they taste great, they don’t really look gourmet on a plate, huh? Only they can make them look good on the box, hehe. It didn’t help that I took the pictures after dark so I didn’t have the greatest lighting either. Oops.
That last picture is to show how that one sort of exploded in the microwave. It didn’t make a huge mess, but it did lose some of the sauce.
I attempted to plate the food so it’d look better, but that didn’t really work out. I added some leftover rice pilaf to the second plate because we were afraid it might not be enough food (these were for dinner instead of lunch).
So what did we think of the dishes?
My entrée-experiment-buddy was surprised they didn’t suck, so you know that gains a lot of points right there. Anyone who goes into an experiment with a negative mindset is going to require some extra convincing and proof to sway to the other side. With that alone, I think Lean Cuisine won overall, haha.
Each dish’s pros/cons:
- Thai-style chicken’s coconut rice…didn’t taste like coconut at all. I’m assuming it was intended to just provide the creaminess of coconut milk, but it was really lacking in flavor.
- Thai-style chicken itself was quite delicious. I kind of would’ve expected a peanut based sauce given that it was ‘Thai’, but no go there. It did come with plenty of sauce, though, so it got points for that. I really liked the flavor, though.
- Chile-lime chicken had a surprising kick of heat, but I would’ve liked it to have more. I dipped some of it in the Thai sauce and coconut rice to make it creamier, too.
- Chile-lime chicken rice was delicious. The rice wasn’t nasty like it had been microwaved and the corn was actually roasted. Look at the burn marks:
Overall, our winner is….
The Chile-lime chicken!
I would happily eat this again and I felt satisfied with my portion. I’m glad I was able to try more than one of them, too, although next time I should probably try one of the steak ones instead, just to mix it up and see what else they have.
I’m really glad that the two chicken ones were actually unique enough to stand on their own, too, because based on the pictures on the box and how they looked when I pulled them out, I thought for sure they would be way too similar or hard to tell apart.
Surely I’m not the only one that remembers some of those boxed meals year ago where they all sort of looked the same….and tasted the same….right?
I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!