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Recipes: The Pouch Principle

Cod prepared for pouch cooking

I’m a big Food Network fan, particularly of Good Eats, Alton Brown’s show in which he discusses basic nutrition science principles and gives good recipes.  One of my favorite shows was called ‘The Pouch Principle’.  This article is pretty much a rip off the show (with a couple things added).  This guide is is fantastic for anyone who wants to cook a quick meal.  I use these principles with fish quite often, but it works for beef, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, lamb, or tofu.

5 Easy Steps to Single Serving Meals

  1. Choose 2-3 vegetable options: broccoli, corn, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, green beans, spinach (or any others you might have lying around)
  2. Choose a carbohydrate: potato, sweet potato, couscous, amaranth, quinoa, noodles, or rice
  3. Choose 2 aromatics: onions, scallions, garlic, celery, carrots, shallots, or fennel.
  4. Choose seasonings: red pepper flakes, white pepper, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon, lime, cilantro, black pepper, or salt
  5. Choose 1-2 cooking liquids: soy sauce, mirin, broth (chicken, vegetable, beef), wine, sesame oil, olive oil, or fish sauce.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Build a parchment paper (or aluminum foil) pouch by placing all the ingredients that you selected (except liquid) on the foil and bringing the sides up to form a spout at the time.  Pour in the liquids and seal most of the pouch, leaving a little space for air to escape.  Pop it in the oven and 15 minutes later, dinner is served!

*The amounts needed are not specific.  If you like lots of vegetables, add more vegetables!  Just make sure you add enough liquid for your starch to fully cook.

Here are a couple ideas to get you started:

  • Chicken: broccoli and mushrooms, whole wheat couscous, onions and garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and chicken broth.  Seasoned with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
  •  Tilapia: tomatoes, spinach, quinoa, fennel and garlic, white wine, vegetable broth. Lemon and basil.

What combinations will you try?

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