FOOD: Shape up for summer with M&S

Get ready for summer with delicious dishes without the calories…

Marks and Spencer have stocked their shelves high with some fresh and flavoursome meals that’ll help you keep in shape this summer. And the best bit… pick any three for £10.

Choose between the Balanced For You and Count On Us ranges – both calorie and portion controlled dishes that are quick to make and aim to leave you feeling satisfied so to avoid unnecessary snacking.

So what’s the verdict?

Day one:

Wok chilli beef noodles (322 kcal / 6.7g fat)

wok beef

Visually, this dish appealed to me most. Wok fried beef with rice noodles, beansprouts and broccoli filled the rectangular tray accompanied with a pot of spicy tamarins, lime and soy sauce. Initially I was surprised at the large portion on offer, but after a few minutes in the microwave the ingredients did shrivel down by about one third. The amount of beef you get is certainly value for money but be warned not to get too carried away with the sauce – the taste is rich and can overpower the other ingredients. I’d suggest using just half of the sauce to savour the flavour of the fresh ingredients.

5/10

Day two:

Balanced For You Creamy King Prawn Risotto ( 317 kcal / 6.8g fat)

king prawn risotto

The packaging struck me as complex – sauce situated on the dish bottom separated with a tray topped with the rice and prawns. Don’t panic! Before you hit start on the microwave you empty all packet contents in to one dish and cook it in one go. Phew.

Wow, this one smells good as it cooks. The creamy sauce has a unique flavour and tastes surprisingly indulgent. It works perfectly to blend together the rice and prawns with cherry tomatoes & roasted red peppers. The best risotto flavour I’ve tasted yet.

10/10

Day three:

Count On Us Cajun Steak Penne ( 392 kcal /  7.6 fat)

cajun steak penne

Steak and Cajun? Together? I had my reservations. I regularly eat chicken with Cajun spices but beef and Cajun is a new combination for me. Mouthful one – I scoop up a plentiful spoonful of the wok fried steak tossed in to penne pasta in a rich Cajun spiced tomato sauce served with roasted red onions and fresh coriander. I’m not sure – it’s new and I really can’t decide.  By mouthful five, I’m actually starting to enjoy it, though. And it’s filling. Its an acquired taste but one that I think I could become quite a fan of, surprisingly. This one is for the brave.

7/10

Day four:

Count On Us Chicken Pepperonata ( 258 kcal / 5.7g fat)

pepperonata

Don’t be put off by the wordy label – the dish is simply chicken with baby potatoes, piquillo peppers and tender spinach; a traditional Italian meal. A third of the dish consist of chunks of tender chicken breast, a third soft centred baby potatoes and a third vegetables – a good balance of carbs and protein yet low fat.  Tasty too.

8/10

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