Thursday, 11 July 2013

#Schwartz2in1 What's For Dinner Tonight? Challenge - Veggying Up the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta!

I have mentioned before how easily we all fall into a cooking rut, with the same old family dishes being churned out week after week ad infinitum.  Due to time, budget and, let's face it, imagination constraints, we were definitely in that rut recently.  So when we were asked to take part in the Schwartz campaign 'What's for Dinner Tonight?', highlighting their new range of 2 in 1 recipe seasoning packs, we thought why not!

This new range of 5 different recipe mixes consists of two parts, each in their own handy sachet.  One sachet flavours the main dish, with the second sachet containing a second seasoning blend for a complementary side dish or topping.  A really great idea, and they all use basics you are likely to have in your fridge or cupboard, meaning you get quick inspiration on those sometimes fuggy 'What's for Dinner Tonight?' nights!  With the five different mixes, you can try out new dishes or easily add an extra special something to an existing family favourite.

The five Schwartz 2in1 Recipe Mixes are:

  • Chicken Tikka with a Mint & Cucumber Raita
  • Garlic & Herb Crunchy Chicken Bites with a Cheese & Chive Dip
  • Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken with Crispy Roast Potatoes
  • Mediterranean Chicken Pasta with a Cheesy Crumb Topping
  • Southern-Style Crunchy Chicken Bites with a BBQ Dip

I presume all five are chicken-based because that is what people cook the most, I know my non-veggie friends tend to cook and eat chicken a lot, even opting for it when they go out too. I am sure there will be even more fab Schwartz ideas following hot on the heels of the chicken dishes' success.

We were sent the Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken with Crispy Roast Potatoes and the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta with a Cheesy Crumb Topping to try.  We decided to give the Pasta one a whirl first and set about planning how to veggie it up.

The simple, easy to follow recipes on the back of the packets give you all the details you need to create the dish as intended, but of course you are free to alter that according to your own tastes and ideas.  The original recipe on the back of the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta requires only a few extra ingredients including chicken breasts, a yellow pepper, a tin of tomatoes, pasta and Cheddar cheese.

We decided to substitute a can of cannellini beans and a few spoonfuls of sweetcorn for the chicken, and used a red pepper instead of the yellow because that was what we had, plus we added a couple of carrots.

Lara chopped the vegetables, and then I sauteed the carrots followed by the pepper until soft, before adding the Pasta Recipe Mix and the chopped tomatoes.  I then added the drained beans and sweetcorn and cooked it out a little to mellow out the sometimes bitter flavour of the tinned tomatoes.  Lara then added the cooked and drained pasta.  I did need to simmer the mix for a few minutes to reduce the liquid down, as the sauce would have been a little too thin for our taste had it been transferred to the dish immediately.

After transferring the mix to a lasagne dish, I sprinkled over the crumb topping mix and Sophia sprinkled over the grated Cheddar. She was rather proud of her achievement!

After a few minutes under the grill the dish emerged golden and bubbling, ready to feast on!  We served it just with a big green salad. The portion size was ample, even with two little girls who LOVE their pasta and eat near adult portions!

The girls really enjoyed it, particularly the cheesy, garlicky topping part.  I would have preferred the crumbs to be a bit crunchier myself, so next time I would make some of my own breadcrumbs to mix through the topping too.  The sauce and the pasta part was very tasty, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

We will definitely be buying this mix again, although we will continue adding our own tweaks and ideas to it!  To me, that is the joy of packet mixes, they are there to follow to the letter if you wish, but equally you can use them as a base to make your own version, or indeed versions, of the dish.  A great cupboard standby.

Now I just have to think of how to vegify the main dish in the Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken with Crispy Roast Potatoes packet...

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


  1. I love cannellini beans - this looks and sounds great. I love a veggie dish every so often - mixes things up!

  2. Looks tasty! Commenting for myself @kateonthinice and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part

  3. That looks absolutely gorgeous and so easy to follow, I am definitely going to give that a go !

  4. seems like a lovely hearty dish and not too expensive

  5. Fab! My kids would eat pasta for every meal if I let them.

  6. This looks so yummy . I am going to give it a go ty :)

  7. Fantastic recipe! You must have been full with this meal - it looks really yummy :)


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