Anyone who has read my column and blog long enough knows that I have no problem with taking some shortcuts in the kitchen. Without certain shortcuts, I just don’t think double-income families (or even single income, for that matter) would be able to put a nutritious meal on the table on some nights.
I didn’t become a fan of cooking bags until I met my husband, Howard. And even after he began to sing their praises, I balked for a while. I considered them pedestrian. And if anyone reading this considers this whole topic pedestrian, just come back tomorrow, when I’ll be talking about flan.
Last night, I transformed a package of chicken leg quarters into delicious, falling-off-the-bone baked chicken with a little help from a bag-n-season kit. Those are the ones you find in the grocery aisle beside the gravy mixes and other envelopes of seasoning. They include a cooking bag, a twist tie and a pouch of seasoning. You throw in the meat, sprinkle in the seasoning, shake it around a bit, tie it off, put it in a baking pan and throw it in the oven on 350. Because I was using large quarters, it took about an hour and 15 minutes. But I got home from work at 6 p.m. and had dinner on by 7:30 with some rice and asparagus on the side.
If you don’t care for the seasonings that come with those bag-n-season kits, head to the aluminum foil and plastic wrap aisle and pick up a box of plain cooking bags. You can use any seasoning you want, including your favorite marinade.
The benefit of the bag, I think, is that it renders just about any cut of meat extremely tender and juicy in less time than a normal roasting and basting method. Check out a pork loin, some bone-in chicken or a beef roast in a cooking bag soon and let me know what you think.