Easy Bake Oven, Mom-Style
What’s great about roasted chicken is that it’s both a healthy lo-co meal PLUS it’s the ‘dinner that keeps on giving’ with terrific leftovers.
But I rarely serve it because the store-cooked chickens are always dry, and…well… actually roasting a chicken is awful. The sticky process of tying down the legs, the horror of reaching into the cavity for the giblets. And the guilt when you toss the carcass rather than making soup. Because who does that, really?
So basically, I never roast a whole chicken.
But there I was at Stop & Shop last week, exiting the cookie aisle and about to head on over to frozen treats when a yellow and blue bag in the chicken cold case caught my eye.
It was chicken-in-a-bag. Well, really, it chicken-in-an-oven-proof-bag that’s packed inside a nifty carry-bag (I’m a sucker for packaging.)
Oh, sure, Perdue has a much fancier name than chicken-in-a-bag. They call it Oven Ready Roaster – but basically, it was a whole chicken, already seasoned and prepared (read, no giblets and no leg-tying!), nestled in an oven-ready-cooking-bag.
I picked it up by its built-in handle and inspected it. I don’t usually roast things in a bag, but this was intriguing.
From the directions, I could see that all I had to do was pop the chicken (which was, as mentioned, actually lounging, pre-seasoned, in an oven-proof bag) – into a 13x9x2 pan or cookie sheet. Then pop it in the oven.
OK, sure, I forgot 2 days in a row to allow for the 90 minute cook time + carving time (so we had takeout for 2 nights), but once I remembered to turn the oven on at 4:30 so we could eat at 6:30, I was golden.
Golden, I tell you. Because here’s what happened:
- This was so easy to prepare it was like cooking in your old easy-bake oven: no messy prep, no messy oven and not even a messy pan!
- The chicken was divine; even the breast meat was moist.
- My I-hate-chicken-I-only-want-beef teenager drowned it with gravy (that I whipped up from the drippings captured in the bag) and pronounced it delicious. Actually said the d-word.
- In fact, he liked it so much, he ate leftover chicken with gravy for the next 2 nights.
- Plus there was so much left over, I was able to have 3 days of healthy lunches – chicken with avocado on a tortilla that I panini’ed – YUM.
- All this, and I didn’t have to TOUCH the raw chicken or reach inside that cavity
- Cleanup was a snap – just the cutting board, really.
- And the chicken cost all of $9. With rice and broccoli and the smidge of wine I threw into the gravy, I think we dined (for several days!) for a grand total of about $11.
Maybe you already know about this chicken-in-a-bag thing and how easy it makes things, but it was news to me. I’ll definitely be roasting chicken this way again – it’s a great lo-co meal and oh-so-easy. I’d post a recipe but there isn’t one, really. All it would say is:
- Buy Perdue Oven-Ready Roaster, put oven on at around 4:30 then cook and carve.
- Empty drippings from bag into saucepan, add some chicken stock and wine and simmer; thicken with cornstarch & water.
- Put on rice cooker and chop broccoli for the steamer.
The only downside is the carving – which is a hassle (for my husband). So today I bought the Oven-Ready Bone-In Breast which should be easier to carve. Worried it won’t yield gravy, but I’ll keep you posted.