Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Can we have this again tomorrow night?"

That's what I kept hearing last night as my family inhaled their dinner. I didn't imagine that my latest dinner creation would receive such great reviews. It was easy to make and I was surprised at how good it was too. I'll definitely be making it again!

I had bought some boneless, skinless chicken that I wanted to use right away. I poked around on the Internet for recipes but didn't find anything that really caught my eye. I did, however, find some inspiration. It was for foil meals. You the meals we used to make while camping and cook over the coals of the campfire? But, these had a twist that took them from good to great. Dressing! Why hadn't I ever thought of that?!

As usual, I didn't follow a recipe, I did my own thing. It didn't resemble the inspiration recipe at all. That's ok. It turned out great. Here's what I did...

Boneless/skinless chicken (I used a tray of it from Trader Joe's....healthy, happy, hormone free chicken)
1 bag of tiny fingerling potatoes (from Trader Joe's)
1 package of fresh green beans (yup...also from there)
Green Onions/Scallions
Olive oil
1 lemon (I used a Meyer lemon from the tree in my backyard)
Dijon mustard
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Measure out and cut two sheets of foil for each meal (I made three meals). I like to double up the foil to avoid holes and leaks. I think mine were probably about 15" long. Lay them out in double layers and bend the sides up from the middle a bit so the liquids won't run out as you prepare the food. Drizzle a little olive oil in the center of each one. Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces (I cut each piece into about 5 slices) and lay them in the center of each foil. I used kitchen scissors and did it as I went so I didn't have any extra dishes to clean up. Divide the little potatoes up and place them over the chicken. Trim and slice the green beans into smaller pieces (I sliced the beans into threes) and layer them over the potatoes. Chop green onions/shallots and sprinkle them over the tops of each meal.

In a bowl or measuring cup make a dressing with the zest and juice of one whole lemon, olive oil (I didn't measure...but don't can do it), about 1/2 teaspoon (more or less to your taste) Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of garlic powder. Whisk to incorporate and drizzle some over the ingredients in each of the packets.

Pull the foil up lengthwise over the food and fold over twice to seal and fold up the ends. You can mark initials in the foil for each person, if you'd like. Place the packets on a cookie sheet, with space between them, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet and open one packet to check for doneness. Carefully unfold the top enough to poke potatoes with a fork for softness and check the chicken. I found that two teaspoons, one in each hand, work well for opening a packet. They don't tear the foil and it keeps hands far enough away to prevent burns. Watch out for hot steam as you open the packet! If necessary, return them to the oven for additional baking. Ours were done perfectly in 25 minutes. I refolded the test packet and let them all sit for a few minutes to allow the juices to set into the meat and veggies. I served them up casual style by placing each packet on a plate and opening the top. The ingredients could be removed and arranged on plates for a more elegant presentation.

The addition of the dressing made these foil meals so delicious! The lemon and Dijon made it tangy and flavorful! The juices at the bottom are great for dipping the potatoes and chicken. This is a healthy meal with lots of possibilities. There are so many things that could be added or changed....mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, garlic cloves, beets, chilies, or greens. The protein could be changed up with meatballs, fish or tofu. The dressing flavor could be changed up too. It could be made with an Italian twist of olive oil, garlic, Italian herbs and some wine. Or, it could be Mexican with the addition of green chilies or chili powder, cumin and cilantro or use salsa as the dressing. It's a great dinner option when you don't know what to cook but have some great ingredients in the fridge. It's also easy clean up! The prep time was super quick and the baking time was perfect for knitting time!

I think we'll definitely be having these again and again! Let me know if you try it and what you do to change it up and make it unique. Enjoy! :-D


Roxie said...

brilliant! And it sounds delicious as well. You have a great cooking imagination.

Erin @Days to Remember said...

Yummy! I love foil meals, and I don't know why I never thought to try one when I wasn't camping. :)

Benita said...

I have all those ingredients at home - Guess what I'm going to cook for tonight.