Review: Del Real Foods Heat-and-Serve Dishes

I'm not generally a fan of pre-cooked packaged foods. I'm picky in a way that makes most of these products fall far short of what I like to eat--and what I like to serve to my family. I prefer scratch-made, authentic food without the chemicals and additives that most processed packaged foods are burdened with. That said, there are times when I've used ready-made products on a whim (shopping hungry gets me every time) or by necessity (barely enough time to eat, let alone cook) and have been pleasantly surprised.

The first time I tried a Del Real ready-to-serve product falls into the "whim" category. It was Superbowl Sunday, and we were returning from a long day of work just in time to catch the game--and more importantly, the snacks.

I'd decided to make "dinner nachos," so exhausted, starving, and looking forward to game time, we stopped at the supermarket to grab ingredients. 

I typically make nachos with sauteed ground beef, but as I was heading to the meat aisle, I happened to see a package of Del Real Seasoned Shredded Beef on the endcap. I'm not going to lie: I was lured by the possibility of not having to turn on the stove or wash a skillet. Reading the ingredient list, I was surprised to see only 5 ingredients, all of which I could identify. On impulse, I bought precooked shredded beef for the first time in my life and we headed home toward nachos.

Half an hour later, we were happily devouring a pile of tortilla chips layered with black beans, melted Cheddar and Jack cheese, green onions, and some of the tastiest shredded beef I've ever had the pleasure of not cooking myself. 

When Del Real offered me some product for review a few months later, I jumped on the chance. The Beef Tamales were so good, we started looking for them in the grocery store the very next time we shopped. The Chipotle Chicken Tinga was smoky and delicious, with just enough spice.  

Big quesadilla fans, we tucked the pork Carnitas into folded tortillas with cheese and veggies and grilled them in an iron skillet. Again, a huge hit with the whole family. 

In spite of my best attempts to scratch-cook everything my family eats, life happens, and that's not always an option. Keeping a few packages of these pre-cooked meats on hand in the fridge has been helpful on several occasions. Having quality beef, pork, and chicken accessible and ready to heat means that we can assemble a decent meal at home in minutes. Instead of resorting to cold cereal or a fast-food run, my son can pop of bowl of meat into the microwave and have a real meal in minutes.

Visit the Del Real website for recipes, product info (including ingredients and nutrition facts), and a store locator!


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