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Food

Ready meals

(91 Posts)
grannyactivist Tue 19-Nov-19 09:51:11

I have been ill for many weeks (now on the mend) and initially had no appetite. Then my lovely husband, aka The Wonderful Man, who works away during the week, began batch cooking at the weekend and leaving meals for me. Finally, as he was spending too much time cooking, he began to buy me ready meals.

So I've now ranked them in order of preference:
M&S (yummy)
Cook (frozen and delivered by courier - delicious)
Charlie Bingham (from Waitrose, very good)
Waitrose own brand (good)
Lidl/Co-Op (it was a tie - both decent enough)
Waitrose 'value' (no, no, no - not value if they're not nice)

I'm almost ready to start cooking again, but now that I know how good some of these meals are I'll have no hesitation in buying them occasionally rather than our standard take-away of fish and chips.

But now of course I'm wondering what I've missed. Are there favourite ready meals that you buy and, if so, what are they?

Gonegirl Tue 19-Nov-19 09:53:28

We had Charlie Bighams Meatballs last night. So good!!! In fact all of Charlie's stuff is good.

glammanana Tue 19-Nov-19 10:06:03

I always enjoy the selection from M&S from their "Dine in for Two" plus wine the Oakham Chicken is always a favourite,their pizza's are filled well and go down nicely for a light meal enjoyed with a salad.
So glad to hear you are feeling better GA sending you my best wishes flowers

Rufus2 Tue 19-Nov-19 10:09:06

I'll have no hesitation in buying them occasionally
Granny; I buy them all the time supplemented once a week with take-away chish and fips. The varieties here are tremendous; chicken, fish, lamb, beef, vegetarian; I love them all! Even the Asian varieties! Just bung them in the microwave for a few minutes and voila, dinner is on the table. grin Although tonight's dinner will be fried eggs and hashed browns in order to maintain a balanced diet!
Lovely Jubbly!

Pudding123 Tue 19-Nov-19 10:12:51

I cook mostly from scratch as I really enjoy cooking it is one of my hobbies but I have had a couple of Charlie Bighams meals from my local Tesco and I enjoyed them and emailed them to tell them.

annodomini Tue 19-Nov-19 11:01:45

ga, I'm sorry to hear that you have been so poorly for so long but pleased to know that you are on the mend. Your run-down on the quality of ready meals is very useful. Waitrose is convenient for me, so I will take a look at the Charlie Bigham range. One of the local garden centres has some of the Cook products which I will take a look at next time I have a mooch around there.
My eating habits have deteriorated this year. I'm apt to leave it too late and make do with crispbreads and cottage cheese or - don't tell my family - breakfast cereal. blush.
I hope you are well enough to enjoy Christmas with your family. (((hugs)))

M0nica Tue 19-Nov-19 11:17:31

Glad your recovering GA

Our go-to comfort/instant meal in this weather is a Waitrose Steak and kidney pudding, from the chill cabinet. All it needs is some veg and a bit more gravy, I am also partial to a Fray Bentos steak pie (if you can open the tin).

Quick comfort dishes for this wintry weather and only needing veg, which can come from a freezer or a tin.

Kittye Tue 19-Nov-19 12:46:19

I’m a big fan of Charlie Bighams. I love the Chicken Kievs, but my Lasagne is nicer than theirs 😊
Pieminister pies from Waitrose are very good. I don’t know if they are sold elsewhere.

kittylester Tue 19-Nov-19 13:15:06

I like the Charlie Bigham curry but most other ready meals contain gluten!

Gonegirl Tue 19-Nov-19 14:12:56

Actually, I prefer Waitrose own meat pies to Pieminster. I find the Pieminster crusts a bit hard.

Gonegirl Tue 19-Nov-19 14:13:44

Love those Fray Bentos pies in the flat tins.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 19-Nov-19 14:18:23

kitty there is actually quite few M&S ready meals that you can eat. I trawl around looking at them all, and always find something.

Their actual free from section is all orange so not terribly imaginative.

Kittye Tue 19-Nov-19 14:18:37

Gonegirl soak them in plenty of gravy 😁

M0nica Tue 19-Nov-19 15:56:57

They have expanded the range, there was a cheese and vegetable and a chicken balti one in Waitrose last week. I usually put one or two in my food bank bag. I feel if they can be comfort to me they are probably comfort to someone else in need of comfort.

welbeck Tue 19-Nov-19 16:29:50

I don't eat meat but for those who do, for pie tins, or more generally, I bought a battery=operated tin opener from john lewis a few years ago.
it was not cheap but works well.
it looks live a kind of large matt black insect, ovoid shape, and you set it on the tin, resting on the top, then press a button and let go. it progresses itself around the rim until it reaches start point, then the rim drop off or is fully detached.
just be careful to avoid putting fingers underneath it, could get cut.
it was quite expensive, about 22 pounds, 5 years ago, but so useful for those with grip/strength problems.
I guess retailers do something similar.

welbeck Tue 19-Nov-19 16:34:52

that's a nice thought, MOnica;
i don't have much income at the moment, less than 10 pounds a day, am living on savings, but i will try to remember that if I'm better placed.

M0nica Tue 19-Nov-19 17:42:04

welbeck one pie will serve at least two, possibly three meals. You could bake it and freeze the portions you do not need immediately and at around £2.00 a pie that makes them very economical.

lemongrove Tue 19-Nov-19 18:59:42

We have at least one readymeal every week, as we do so much with the DGC and it’s tiring.
So, a pizza or pasta meal, sometimes Chinese themed, either from Tesco finest or Sainsbury range, all good.

MawB Tue 19-Nov-19 19:08:17

Thank you Grannyactivist your research has not been in vain.
My one gripe with the majority of ready meals is that the photograph on the packaging so often promises much more than it delivers. Even M&S although their Bistro range is better than most.
I do like most things from Cook! and will give Charlie Bigham a go too.
Often when I have a ready meal I find myself wishing I had made the effort as I (hope) think I could do better if I had the energy.

dragonfly46 Tue 19-Nov-19 19:09:37

I think Charlie Bingham is overpriced but I am not keen on ready meals.

Marelli Tue 19-Nov-19 19:30:31

M&S Indian meals are very good indeed. As authentic as an Indian takeaway, I think. Often they have meal deals on where you can get 2 mains and 2 sides for £10.

annodomini Tue 19-Nov-19 19:34:38

I treated myself to a Charlie Bigham fish pie today. It was delicious - very similar to my own recipe and I am now determined to batch cook several for the freezer.

Keeper1 Tue 19-Nov-19 19:50:47

Has anyone used the Wiltshire Foods? I am thinking of organising some for my FIL.

BlueSapphire Tue 19-Nov-19 21:32:07

My favourite ready meal is M&S Chicken Provencale. Chicken breast in a lovely tomato sauce, smells delicious while cooking; I always add extra red wine to it before putting in the oven. Serve it with crushed and roasted new potatoes.

tanith Tue 19-Nov-19 21:50:58

I do have a lasagne once in a while when I need a quick meal but I find most ready meals I’ve tried are far too salty for my taste.