Friday, 21 June 2013

Dinnertime with Schwartz: 2 in 1 Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Where do you find fresh inspiration for cooking? Is it celebrity chefs on TV? Cook books and magazines? or maybe blogs with their mouthwatering recipes and photos? Pinterest?
One of my blog readers emailed me a while ago, saying that she felt a bit intimidated by the food images on Pinterest and some foodie blogs as they looked so glamorous and perfect, and she said she could never achieve the same result. She also kindly said that she enjoyed my blog as she felt I was, quoting her "One of us, just a busy Mum who cooks". And as busy Mums round the world know, the shortcuts in the kitchen could be a true blessing.
Schwartz has recently launched a new 2 in 1 seasoning range.
“Тhe new 2in1 range offers easy to use recipe mix sachets in one handy pack: one sachet flavours the main dish whilst the other contains а seasoning for a complementary side dish or topping. With 5 different varieties to choose from, and an easy recipe on the back of each pack, it’s a great way to try out new dishes or transform an existing family favourite.”
As I enjoy BritMums' challenges, I have signed up to receive 2 advance samples from 2in1 range:
  • Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping: A blend of herbs and spices for chicken pasta with a cheesy topping
  • Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken + Crispy Roast Potatoes: Roast chicken seasoning, with garlic and thyme, accompanied by a special seasoning to create perfect Crispy Roast Potatoes
I have tried the first of two packets, and here is what we thought of Mediterranean Chicken pasta and Cheesey Crumb Topping.

The new mix comes in a packet with 2 compartments: one contains a mix for the pasta, the other is a cheesy crumb topping.
Following the instructions on the packet, I have cooked the cubed chicken breast and sweet pepper, mixed it with the recipe mix and tinned tomatoes (I also added a handful of olives). Once the pasta was cooked, I have placed it in a baking tray and added the garlic and herb crumb topping., then the cheese.

The tray went in the oven until it all bubbled.

And that was our dinner a couple of days ago. What did we think?
I thought that the tinned tomatoes need more time than specified on the packet to lose the acidity. I prefer to cook the tinned tomatoes for the sauce slowly on low, so this part of the recipe didn't quite work for me.
We eat lots of pasta dishes, and as my husband is Italian, he has his opinions on the pasta and what it should taste like.
When I asked my husband if he liked it, he hesitated before saying "Sorry, I didn't like it."
And I tend to agree with him.

I do love Schwartz dried herbs and marinades, and also buy their packet mixes and inspiration kits, for example, the beef casserole is very good as a flavour booster, but this mix is not a winner. It tastes too packety. I know it is a packet mix, but the crumbs were too powdery and tasted quite artificial. I don't think their addition as the pasta bake topping was an improvement of the recipe.
One part of the packet, with the pasta recipe mix was better than the herb crumb topping, if honestly, I wish I didn't add the crumbs' mix to the pasta bake.

I understand that this review probably kills any chance of me winning the competition, but I cannot feign any enthusiasm for a product which didn't impress me. Sorry, Schwartz, I know you could do much better.

This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’(link removed as expired) sponsored by Schwartz.
Find out more about the new 2in1 mixes here.

I will try the 2nd packet and will duly report on what we think of it.


  1. Always good to read truly honest reviews, they are few and far between unfortunately. Well done for sticking your head above the parapet on this one!! We haven't tried ours out yet, will report back... Lx

  2. Thank you, Leta! I think that the feedback is always important.

  3. Thanks for the honest review. I'm not a big fan of packet mixes which is why I didn't sign up for this one. Your chicken Pasta does look yummy though and I sure my children would enjoy it.

  4. these look really easy and very yummy might have to buy some when next go shopping especially the chicken pasta one for the kids

  5. Haven't tried this packet yet (did the other one today) good to read a honest review!

  6. I've never tried any of the Schwartz range, but I may stay away from this one. I might try something else from their range instead!

  7. Thanks for taking part. Could not see a link as per the terms and conditions of the competition so if you want to qualify can you just check that there is a link and if not alert me on @kateonthinice (working on behalf of BritMums)

  8. Kate, I have tweeted to you. The link is there at the end of the post. I don't know how you missed it.

  9. Sorry Galina - when working through so many entries, it is human to occasionally make a mistake. Please accept my apologies.

  10. No worries, Kate, that's absolutely understandable. Thank you for visiting again!