* Prices may differ from that shown
As a Bzzagent I get the chance to try out products for free, all I have to do is spread my honest opinion about the product either online or face to face.
One of my latest campaigns is to try out a range of Season & Shake products from Colmans. I was a little sceptical of the idea of bunging all my food in a plastic bag and leaving it to cook in the oven but after having a try I'm converted. It is so simple and mess free.
On the day my kit arrived I had just fetched a couple of small fresh chickens from the supermarket so I thought it was a great time to try out the Garlic and Herb Roast Chicken pack.
The pack is separated into two sections, the top half contains a tightly folded bag with a blue tie wrap and the bottom half contains the flavouring. In an unusual case of trying to look like I knew what I was doing as my husband was sceptical too I went into demo mode.
I opened up the bag and placed the tie wrap to one side as instructed. I then liberated the chicken from its packaging and (wo)man handled it into the bag. The bag felt a little flimsy but the chicken slid into the bag easily and had plenty of room to get comfortable. I then measured a spoon of olive oil and tipped it into the bag. With this olive oil I gave the chicken a good rub down. I then opened up the bottom sachet and poured the more than generous contents into the bag with the chicken. All the time I kept the base of the bag on the work surface as I did not want the chicken to escape out the bottom. I then searched for the tie wrap as I had managed to lose it. I found the tie wrap on the floor and used it to seal up the bag. I pulled the tie wrap as tightly as possible and then gave the bag a gently shake all the while supporting the underside of the bag. The contents of the sachet coated the chicken evenly and fully. I then placed the bagged up chicken in my usual roasting tin and set the timer for an hour and a half at 180 degrees. The instruction say to make sure the bag has room to expand without touching the oven. It is also advised to open the bag 15 minutes before the end of cooking so the chicken skin can crisp up, I chose not to do this as I wanted my chicken to be super moist.
I was concerned as to whether the tie wrap would keep the chicken and its juices contained but it did a great job, absolutely no mess. The aroma filling the house was mouth watering and we could not wait to see the results. When the timer went off I lifted the chicken out the oven and carefully cut the bag away, I was extra careful as I did not want to get burnt by escaping steam. Once free from the bag the chicken looked amazing, in all my years of roasting chickens I had never made one that looked as tender and delicious as this.
The chicken tasted as good as it looked, the flavouring was just right and the chicken was super moist and tender. I will definitely use the Season & Shake packs again as it is fool proof and mess free.
Season & Shake sachets are currently on offer in Tesco for 4 for £3.
Thank you Bzzagent for giving me the chance to try this out and thank you for reading xx
At uni I don't get much chance to cook properly; so when I come home the first thing I do is raid the cupboard and have a look at what my parents have found in the supermarkets whilst I was away. These shake bags by Colmans have definitely become a staple!
Shake bags are so simple and easy to make; all you do is get the ingredients on the back (or the ingredients you want to use) prepared, put them in the bag, put the seasoning in the bag, shake and bake! The ingredients list states the amount and how you should put the ingredient in the bag - for instance, potatoes in the sausage casserole bag need to be sliced or they won't cook. There's also a full text and picture guide on the back which clearly states cooking times and how to do it perfectly which is helpful. The bag must not touch the side or top of the oven otherwise it'll melt on and ruining your dinner (and oven!).You're not meant to put more than the stated amount of ingredients in - I'll talk about this more in a bit.
So far we've had the Mediterranean chicken and sausage casserole from this range, and we're trying the garlic roasted chicken tonight. Each different variety has different instructions - the casserole requires 150ml of water in it (though personally as we like more gravy in this house we put a bit more in) and the roast chicken bag needs to be slit 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Each different bag also requires different vegetables to compliment the meat and herbs. The other varieties in the range include a lemon and dill salmon and a sticky rib combo, as well as some other chicken flavours.
The only trouble we've encountered with these is that the portion sizes seem to be massively off - the sausage casserole is meant to serve 4 people but if we had only put in the amount the packet told us, it would've been about 5 sausages and a small potato per person. Definitely not enough! As a result the nutrition info may be a bit off if you want to actually have enough food to eat... Price wise they're not too bad; at the moment they're three for three pound (normal price £1.50 odd) so they're a pretty good deal. The best thing about them is that you can just stick them in the oven and let it cook!
Like most people, I have watched the cheesy tv adverts promoting the Colman's Season and Shake range , but to be honest, thought there wouldn't be much difference between using a Colman's Season and Shake pack in comparison to me making a similar dish myself. However, with a young baby in the house now, cooking dinner is more challenging, especially if my daughter is getting cranky and tired, and so I am now willing to try anything ,with the exception of ready meals, to make dinner time easier for me, but still getting the home cooking. So, when Tesco had the Colman's Season and SHake range on offer at just over 70p I thought it was definitely worth trying and purchased two - one for chicken and one for sausages.
Colman's promote these packs as being 'easy and mess free' as well as having no artificial colours or preservatives and having no added msg. This range of season and shake cover chicken, fish and red meat dishes, so there should be something to suit most people. Within each packet, there are two sections. The top section has the clear roasting bag inside, with a blue tag that is later used to secure the bag and its contents whilst cooking in the oven. The second lower part of the pack contains the seasoning which you can put on when everything is in the bag, before giving it that all important 'shake' as you see being done on the TV!! I found opening the pack and ensuring you don't open the seasoning part before needed is very easy. The bag is sturdy in that you an add your contents, and it won't collapse or burst the bag. The blue tag that is used for securing the top of the bag when all your seasoning and shaking has been done is also easy to attach and tighten as you wish, and I have never had a problem with this tag not staying secure throughout cooking.
The other great benefit of using these packets is that the bag itself keeps all the juices from the meat within the bag, and so you aren't losing any of these and therefore not compromising on taste either.
THe instructions on the back of each pack should be followed carefully but are easily done so with great success. I first started with one of the chicken packets, which meant you could throw in all your vegetables and potatoes in with the meat and therefore involving no other cooking! The first time I did this however, I probably didn't slice the potatoes as thinnly as I should and they were slightly harder than I would have liked, but it was my own fault. Second time around I sliced them a lot smaller, and they were done perfectly.
I really couldn't believe how easy these packets were to use. The instructions were easy to follow, and the smell when you took the food out of the oven was very yummy, and filled the kitchen with homely smells. IN fact, when my husband came in from work, he commented on the lovely smell the first time I used these packs. Not having to pre boil potatoes or vegetables is a real time saver in my book, and the fact that it is literally throe everything in the bag, add the seasoning and shake before cooking, couldn't be simpler, even for those who claim not to be able to cook at all.
The food itself that came out was delicious each and every time, and I have now used four of these packets and bought more. My husband immediately said 'I hope you make that again!' and it really does feel like a fully home cooked meal. THey are ideal when you don't have a lot of time in the kitchen but want something that still tastes great without resorting to a ready meal. Even at full price, these packets are still a great idea in my view as you whole meal can be made and put in the oven in one go, meaning you have very little washing up, and very little mess to clear up. What more could you want?!
Being a mother that cooks with many other sauce mixes from the Colman's range, with my favourite having to be the, Tuna Pasta Bake I couldn't wait to try the Colman's Season and Shake 'yum yum for my tum tum'.
The packet was very well presented, it has 2 pictures on the front, firstly of the food in the bag before it went into the oven and then a picture underneath of when it came out of the oven.
Both of the pictures attracted my attention, the food looks delicious, I couldn't wait to go shopping and get the bits I needed!
I was cooking the 'Mediterranean Chicken' one, it said for the shopping list you needed,
600g skinless chicken breast (approx 4 breasts) cut into large chunks
150g (2) tomatoes quartered
150g (1) courgette thickly sliced
150g (1) red pepper cut into chunks
None of us are keen on courgette so instead we added half an onion and also a green pepper.
It was very easy to prepare and also showed you on the back of the packet how to do it. I just placed everything into a bag, tied it and gave it a good shake and placed it on a tray and popped it into the oven which was set at 190C.
The smell coming from the kitchen whilst it was cooking was mouth watering!
I left it in the oven for 45 minutes which was well enough.
Finally me, Andrew and Alesha were able to use our tastebuds and test the meal. After Alesha had one forkful she was going "mmm more" and that's how me and Andrew felt aswel, we couldn't get enough, it was lovely and we will be buying them in the future!
Availability (Season and Shake)
These can be purchased from a wide range of local shops, large supermarkets and even online stores. For as little as £1.49 you can buy one packet from Tesco's.
I have just tried my first Colman's Season and Shake and am wondering what all the fuss is about.
I saw the advert some time ago and it had the desired effect on me and I went out in search of this wondrous new timesaving dinner kit. I am a housewife/farmers wife and so I am not rushing about trying to find a nutritious meal that takes no time to prepare but sometimes when you are doing your fourth school run of the day and you still have to collect drugs from the vet and get the kids to brownies and beavers it is nice just to throw something in the oven that doesn't need a lot of preparation or can cook itself while I get on with other things.
It took a while after the seeing the advert for the Colman's season and shake to become available through the Asda online shopping site that I use. The packs are available for £1.46 at Asda but this may vary depending on the offers that they have. At the moment the only flavour that I can buy online are Mediterranean, Paprika and Rustic but I believe there are others available.
For my first attempt with Colman's Season and Shake I chose to try the Mediterranean flavour as I quite like Spanish Chicken and I imagined this would be similar.
The pack is made up of two parts. The top part contains your bag and a little tie to secure the bag once it has been filled and the bottom half contains the herbs and seasoning.
According to the pack the ingredients are as follows:
Potato Starch , Tomato Powder (21%) , Salt , Potato Flakes , Sugar , Spices (7.5%)(Paprika, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper) , Flavoring , Yeast Extract , Onion , Herbs (2.8%)(Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Bay Leaf) , Vegetable Oil .
and the nutritional values are:
Typical values Per 100g as sold
of which sugars 27.5g
of which saturates 0.8g
It took me a while to get round to actually try this because I wasn't sure what to put with it and I knew that none of my four children would eat it so I just had it in the cupboard for ages. Occasionally it is just me and my husband and our youngest around at dinner time so I thought I would give the Colman's packet seasoning a go and see what happened.
The directions suggest you use fresh chicken pieces with chopped tomatoes courgettes and peppers. I am not keen on courgettes and didn't have any fresh tomatoes when I decided to try this out so I added mushrooms sliced carrot peppers and a tin of chopped tomatoes.
I chopped some chicken breast into chunks and added it to the bag with my vegetables except the tinned tomatoes. I then added the seasoning section of my packet and gave it a good shake making sure that everything was well coated in seasoning. I then added my tinned tomatoes and gave the whole thing another good shake. Unfortunately I did get a small hole in the bottom of my bag during this process so I was obviously shaking a little too vigorously.
Once everything was evenly coated in the seasoning mix and the tomatoes juice I put the bag into an ovenproof dish and placed it into the preheated oven as instructed. The packet recommends a temperature of 190 degrees but this will obviously differ for fan ovens.
After about 40 minutes or so I removed the dish from the oven and although there had been some leakage the majority of the contents were still in the bag and it had puffed up quite a lot. The instruction do state that you should not let the bag touch the side or top of the oven and that this puffing up will occur. Getting the contents out of the bag was a little tricky as there is a lot of steam when you open the bag so I cut down the top of the bag opened it out and removed the contents with a large spoon. You could tip the contents into the dish if this was easier.
I served my chicken and vegetables with some pasta and I admit it looked and smelled lovely. There was quite a lot of watery juice left over but this was probably down to the tinned tomatoes and mushrooms. I was worried that cooking without any liquid might produce quite a dry meal but I imagine the bag will contain any moisture and juices but how much I don't know. My husband likes to have sauce with his meals and so having the tinned tomatoes juice produced the effect I had been looking for.
The chicken was very moist and the vegetables weren't over cooked or sloppy like they can be when casseroled. The flavour was quite a pleasant tomato and herb and even had a bit of a kick to it. Overall I was quite pleased with the end result.
My main problem with this product is that I can't see what you are gaining by buying this packet rather than just using your fresh ingredients a casserole dish and some tinned tomatoes dried herbs and garlic. When you use the Colman's season and shake you still have to take the time to prepare the fresh vegetables and provide an accompaniment for your meat so it is still taking the same amount of time as throwing in some dried herbs and tomatoes.
Maybe I was expecting too much from a packet of seasoning.
=== The product ===
This is a packet that contains seasoning and a plastic bag. This is designed to be placed together, along with meat, sealed and put in the oven to create delicious tasty chicken or other meat with minimum effort and fuss.
=== The packaging ===
This is a paper/plastic style packet and it's quite clever. There is a small sealed off area at the top which contains the bag for using in the oven and then once you tear further down the bag you can access the spices, herbs and flavouring that is used to season your dish. The packaging is designed so that you can remove the plastic bag and plastic tie tab without having to balance the packet to stop the flavouring being released. This is a fantastic idea that works very well.
=== How to use this ===
Well you simply place your meat in to the bag, add the packet of seasoning then use the plastic tie to tie the end of the bag up. Place this in an oven tray and put in the oven at the advised temperature always ensuring that the bag does not touch any part of the oven. Leave some room as this will rise up and become quite puffy.
=== Where can I buy this & for how much? ===
These can be purchased from numerous stockists and I have been buying mine from Sainsburys stores on a 2 for £2.00 special offer that seems to be running frequently. The usual price for one packet seems to be around the £1.50 mark which is quite reasonable for something that makes life quicker and more convenient. Ideal for those nights when you can't really be bothered but want something home cooked and delicious. There are currently only 3 or 4 flavours available in my Sainsburys store but the range is slowly increasing which shows popularity I suppose!
=== Flavours available ===
At present (October 2011) these are the current flavours available:
Sausage & Herb Casserole
Lemon & Dill Salmon
Garlic & Herb Roast Chicken
Sticky Spare Ribs
=== Overall opinion ===
I love these bags, particularly as the range is ever expanding. I have tried the Rustic Chicken, Paprika Chicken, Mediterranean Chicken & Sticky Spare Ribs and have been pleased with all of them. These are very simple to use and it takes just a minute to add my meat, sprinkle the seasoning, tie the end up and shake a lot. I then just place this in the oven in a Pyrex roasting dish and leave it to cook. At the end there is juicy succulent meat that is rich in flavour.
These really are a fantastic idea and in the range there is a variety of flavours already. The paprika chicken is one of the most unhealthy chicken ones but the Mediterranean chicken contains hardly any calories and fat which is fantastic. There is something for almost everyone in this range, whether you are watching your waistline or not, and the prices are reasonably for the convenience of having a delicious chicken dinner with minimal effort.
I am sure that I could find a large roasting bag and add some spices myself but sometimes I just don't feel like doing that and I want to be able to just throw everything in a bag and sling it in the oven. Then I am able to give my husband a delicious dinner with very minimal fuss and hassle. This bag is strong, sturdy, when it did come in to contact with one of my oven trays it did not stick on it which is great. The tie is strong, it works well and even when I vigorously shake the bag to mix the ingredients no tearing or damage occurs.
Overall I am pleased with these. They are fairly cheap, frequently on special offer and they are convenient. It takes just a few minutes to prepare a wonderful meal for my whole family and even though I don't follow the instructions and just throw in loads of whatever I feel like meat wise it always turns out wonderfully and we end up having dinners that are full of flavour and taste.
The only thing I would say is watch out when opening the bag! Obviously this bag is full of hot steam and while the packaging did warn me about this I did not pay much attention then and ended up burning myself which was not a pleasant experience, however, this was my own fault and the packaging did warn about this!
My family love Mediterranean quisine, and I usually cook from fresh, but sometimes if I am in a hurry, I do resort to convenience foods.
I'm sure most people have seen the somewhat annoying advert for Colman's Season and Shake packets, with the silly woman embarrasing her kids by dancing round whist shaking the bag of chicken. Yes, she annoys me too, but when you see that bag being opened, and the succulent chicken coming out onto the plate, then the power of advertising does rather take over, so it certainly made me want to try it!
Anyway, I had a look in the supermarket and found the range of Season and Shakes and went for the one in the advert, Mediterranean Chicken.
The picture on the front of the packet shows the picture of the chicken ready to cook in it's plastic bag and then underneath, the finished chicken in a casserole, which does look appetizing.
On the back of the packet it gives a list of all the other ingredients you need to make the dish on the picture - a couple of tomatoes, a courgette and a red pepper plus 4 chicken breasts, is all you need to complete the recipe, so pretty easy.
Cooking the recipe couldn't be simpler....you are provided with a plastic bag, which comes rolled up with a small plastic tie to seal it up. All you do is dice the vegetables and chicken, add the content of the packet, seal the bag with the tie and give it a good shake. Place the bag onto an oven-proof dish and cook in the oven for about 40 minutes at the recommended temperature.
This seemed all too easy, so I was expecting the finished dish to taste a little artificial, but I was pleasantly surprised! When you open the bag (you must be careful not to scald yourself as the steam is very hot!) you can put the contents into a casserole dish to serve, the chicken is lovely and moist and the aroma is wonderful. It all tastes really succulent and spicy, without being too hot and it really does have the flavour of the Mediterranean! I served it with a jacket potato, but I guess pasta or boiled rice and a green salad would work too. My family all loved it, and I would certainly buy it again. I think I'd like to try the others in the range too.
Colman's Season and Shake come in several different varieties: Mediterranean Chicken, Rustic Chicken, Sausage Herb, Paprika Chicken, Garlic and Roast Chicken, and Lemon Dill and Salmon. I think I may just have to work through the lot!
They are so handy to have in the store cupboard too and since they are small packets they don't take up too much room.
On to the ingredients....
I have to admit to being surprised when I saw the ingredients list, as I was expecting all sorts of E numbers.....but I am happy to say that I was wrong in my assumption! All you get is a lovely array of herbs and spices!
Potato Starch,Tomato Powder (21%), Salt, Potato Flakes, Sugar, Spices (7.5%)(Paprika, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper), Flavouring, Yeast Extract, Onion Herbs (2.8%)(Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Bay Leaf), Vegetable Oil.
The cost of packets of Season and Shake are about £1.46 - £1.49 and are available in most of the suupermarkets.
I would certainly recommend trying them out. They take minutes to prepare, cook quite fast and really do taste wonderful!