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Recently, I was invited to be part of a Perdue campaign through http://bzzagent.com. My package of goodies arrived last week, which I posted about, and over the weekend I bought my Perdue product with my coupon. My grocery didn`t have a huge selection, but they did have some cornish hens which stood out to me. I have only made cornish hens a couple of times in my life! These seemed super easy to do. They were already cleaned, the insides were taken out, and they were seasoned. They were even in the roasting bags already! All I had to do was remove them from the outter bag, cut a slit in the roasting bag, and place them in a baking dish to cook. ...Well, and I clearly had to put them into the oven. They weren`t going to walk themselves there. If I were a hen about to be roasted I certainly wouldn`t, anyway.
As most of you know, I am a stay at home mom and cook for the "picky boys" (my husband and my son). I love cooking and love sharing with you all what I`m making in my kitchen. I don`t find baking or cooking a chore. I love being in the kitchen and preparing meals. I love knowing what I am eating and having a part of putting it all together for my family. However, once a week or so it is nice to not have to fuss with a ton of time. I love crock pot meals for that reason. Well, the Perdue oven ready chickens were appealing to me because there was no fuss involved. Nearly everything was done for you. Short of it coming with an oven, it was all there! I just had to focus on my selection of side dishes. I did end up cheating there, too, and used a couple of my Alexia frozen natural sides (which I`ll share my thoughts on in another post). I liked that even though this was an easy main dish, I wasn`t sacrificing health value. It wasn`t something cruddy in a box that was loaded with junk that I don`t want in my family`s bodies. They were still going to consume something that was healthy. That is important to me.
I didn`t really know what to expect with these, but the end result was beyond anything I could have expected. They were juicy, full of flavor all the way through the meat, and so tender that the meat was (very literally) falling off of the bone. It was mouth-watering good. The bag came with two hens and one of the hens was more than enough for me, my husband, and our son. There was even some left over that I pulled from the bone and have saved as left overs. I also went ahead and pulled all the meat off the second bird to store and save for more meals. For the price and the convenience, I think this is a fantastic deal. Perdue has done most of the work and thought for you on these.
I would give these a rating of 5 stars, however, I have to go with four out of five. There was a bit of trouble in the directions. You see, the chickens come in their own little roasting bags, labeled "this side up", and the directions indicate to place the chickens in a dish with the breast-side up. If you buy these and freeze them first (as I did), it is a bit difficult to determine the breast because it can become a large frozen mass. So, I tried to see the best I could, and also went largely on the "this side up" label, assuming the chickens were breast side up on the "this side up" side. Don`t assume this, folks! Half way through my cooking I pulled them out just to do a check and discovered they were turned on their sides, so the breast wasn`t facing up at all! The problem here is the breast needs to be up because that is the thickest section and needs to be able to cook all the way through. They have to reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F. I did flip them properly at this point and continued to cook. Now, because of the flipped bird issue, the chicken cooked for longer than the estimated 1.5 hours. It ended up about 2.5 hours. I feel like this is a combo of user error (I really should have checked and poked at the chicken more, even though it was frozen and difficult) and confusion from the directions/labeling (everything lead me to believe it was set up and ready to go as is).
Everything did end up cooking just fine and turned out delicious. I will absolutely be repurchasing these for quick cooking meals. I`m curious to try the other options there are. I appreciated that I didn`t have to get my hands dirty removing the insides of the chicken or even touching the raw chicken, itself. It was contained in its bag, preseasoned. We are a family of three, so we only ate part of one of the hens, so we still have the left overs from that one plus the whole other hen as left overs. I think these would make FANTASTIC chicken chunks for a small pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I`m already considering getting a small
pot of that going in the next couple of days as we have some colder weather coming in.
My only nit-picky feedback for the company would be to, perhaps, add a little blip that the chicken could have flipped or turned in its package during shipping so be sure it isn`t sideways or on its belly in the bag before cooking! I feel like most people would have assumed, as I did, that it just needed to be put in the dish and cooked. Otherwise it was easy to do and understand. Even the most novice of cooks could prepare this and take all the credit of being a fantastic chef! No one has to know the truth, right? :-) With all of the flavor and tenderness here, it seems like you worked your tail off to get this masterpiece from raw meat to a fantastic dinner with a lot of effort. The reality is, you didn`t have to do much at all! How awesome is that?!
<em>*Chicken received for free with a coupon that I received from http://bzzagent.com and the Perdue Campaign. All opinions are my own.</em>
<Strong>-PHOTOS ARE MY OWN! YOU MAY NOT USE!</Strong>