This Week’s Secret Weapon: Parchment Paper

If you couldn’t tell by the slumping frequency of my posts (sorry!) it’s been a busy few weeks for me.  Busier than usual, that is – because it’s always a busy week.  When I take a pause over the weekend to plan what I can throw together for dinner each night, and what I can haul in to work for weekday lunches, I’m also always looking for ways to speed the process up and claim a little weekend relaxing (or blogging!) time back.

That and, you know, like most sane people I’m not into scrubbing baked-on crud off my pots and pans!

Enter my new best friend and secret weapon: parchment paper.  I used to either suck it up and scrape roasted on veggie off my pans when I could have been chilling on the couch instead… and sometimes I got smart and used foil… which sometimes meant I was peeling stuck on veggies off foil…

Until about two weeks ago when I remembered the box of parchment sheets in my kitchen drawer, left over from last Christmas’ bourbon sea-salt caramels.

The first thing I thought was how awesome a layer of that caramel, topped with a layer of crushed pretzel snaps, and then a layer of melted dark chocolate and more sea salt, would be.  (You can bet you’ll see that as a “fun indulgence” post around holiday time this year!  I’m just going to wait until my boyfriend can come home for a visit to enjoy them with me!)

The SECOND thing I thought, however, was way more practical… and almost as magic.

Ditching the foil for parchment was a win in two ways.  First, NOTHING sticks to it; even slightly burnt sweet potato pops right off.  Second… the paper seems to soak up a little excess moisture – or maybe it’s that it doesn’t reflect heat the way the foil does – letting whatever is roasting on it get a lovely crispness that seems superior to anything I’ve attained with other methods.

It works beautifully for sweet potato (which can otherwise be a baking-sheet disaster!), bacon, and even chicken breast.  I haven’t tried it on mixed roasted veggies yet, but I have high hopes for how it will treat brussels sprouts and roasted onions and garlic – which often have been victims of sticky-foil-disease in the past.

You’ll find parchment paper in your grocery store either in the baking section, or right next to the foil, cling wrap, and wax paper.  My store only had the pre cut sheets, which aren’t as great for fitting large sheet pans, but as a trade off are quicker and easier to whip out than the roll-style.  Try it – I promise you won’t be dissappointed!

That's right - works great for bacon!  How can you not like it?
That’s right – works great for bacon! How can you not like it?

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