WITH the nights getting darker and the cold weather creeping in, our tastes are changing.
It’s time to switch the summer salads for winter warmers, like traditional soups and stews – and, of course, good old Sunday dinners.
Tomorrow marks the start of British Roast Dinner Week, so what better time to carry out the Great Sunday Post Sunday Dinner Test?
But instead of slaving over a hot stove, we looked at the next best alternative … ready meals. Tasty meat and all the trimmings all prepped and packed into a box. No stuffing chickens or peeling spuds.
All the hard work is done for you, so all you need do is heat it up.
But how do they compare to a home-cooked roast? Is it winner, winner, chicken dinner? Or simply a recipe for disaster?
Waitrose Mini Chicken Dinner
What it says: Slices of roast chicken served with roast potatoes and peas in a rich gravy.
Looks and tastes: Looks a bit like a dog’s dinner – but it tastes absolutely amazing! The delicious roast chicken is melt in the mouth. Unfortunately, though, the size of the portion is a major downfall. To fill us up we’d definitely be looking for a second helping, and possibly a third! The veg is very sparse, there’s a serious lack of gravy and points off for no Yorkshire pud.
Sainsbury’s Chicken Dinner
What it says: Sliced British chicken breast in gravy with roast potatoes, carrots, peas, two pork, onion and sage stuffing balls.
Looks and tastes: The meat is nice and juicy and there are two pieces of chicken, which is great. The stuffing is sublime and the roasties look and taste like my mum’s … which earns them major brownie points. Let down by the gravy, which has a very powerful wine taste. We prefer a meaty sauce.
Bisto Roast Beef Dinner
What it says: Beef dinner with 100% cooked silverside beef, potatoes, peas, carrots and a Yorkshire pudding in gravy.
Looks and tastes: We all know Bisto knows how to do a good gravy – but sadly that was about the best bit. The rest of this meal wasn’t really up to scratch. The beef was pretty chewy, potatoes slightly rubbery and the carrots a bit mushy. Yorkshire pud was very small. OK for the price but not a patch on some of the other options.
Morrisons Traditional Beef Dinner
What it says: Tender slices of beef with roast potatoes, carrots, peas and a Yorkshire pudding in a rich beef gravy.
Looks and tastes: This dinner looks exactly like it says on the packaging … three good-sized
bits of beef, Yorkies crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle. The veg is tasty enough, but the potatoes have come out pretty hard. The gravy is weak and lacks a beefy taste, which is a real shame.
Asda Traditional Roast Beef Dinner
What it says: Tender roast beef, golden roast potatoes and crispy Yorkshire pud in our hearty gravy.
Looks and tastes: There’s not much beef in it. The picture on the packaging shows two slices but it looks like a much more meagre serving on the plate. The veg isn’t too
bad … there’s a good pea/carrot ratio. Potatoes are OK, but definitely not as good as making them yourself. Marks deducted for exceptionally watery gravy.
Lidl Chef Select Roast Beef Dinner
What it says: Succulent roast beef in a rich gravy served with roast potatoes, peas, baby carrots, and a golden Yorkshire pudding.
Looks and tastes: This is the cheapest option, so we’re blown away by just how good it is. The meat’s lovely and tender, and the beefy gravy is fantastic. Plenty of veg and good roasties – but sadly the Yorkie came out rock hard. You could smash a window with it!
Tesco Chicken Roast Dinner
What it says: British chicken in gravy served with roast potatoes, vegetables and pork stuffing ball.
Looks and tastes: The chicken looks a bit poor and there isn’t much of it … which makes us wonder why the price is so high. Has all the trimmings though, including stuffing. And everyone knows no roast is complete without stuffing! And broccoli instead of peas is a welcome alternative. Overall, not bad but let down by rubbishy, runny gravy.
M&S Roast Chicken Meal for One
What it says: Cooked chicken breast in chicken gravy with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, pork stuffing, carrots and peas.
Looks and tastes: You certainly won’t go hungry with this meal … a lovely and moist chicken breast, crunchy carrots and perfect peas. The roasties are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and there’s not one but two Yorkshire puddings. Result! Maybe a little too much cornflour in the gravy, giving it a strange powdery taste.