Tonight I made a quick and easy meal that is both nutritious and tasty! I got the idea from the Campfire Grill Mealsthat Cracker Barrel is offering now at their restaurants (through July 5th, I believe). Here's my recipe, using ingredients that I had on hand:
6 tsp. grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp onion powder
1-2 tsp olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2 clove garlic, sliced
3-4 small red potatoes, quartered & parboiled
3 medium carrots, each cut into thirds & parboiled
1/2 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash
salt and pepper
Combine cheese and onion powder. Rub chicken on both sides with olive oil, then press chicken into cheese/onion mix to cover both sides. Place chicken on a 12-in square of aluminum foil (double thickness) sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place sliced cloves of garlic around each piece of chicken, along with potatoes, carrots, zucchini and squash. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over chicken and veggies. Season each packet with salt & pepper, or your favorite seasonings.
Seal foil packets tightly and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes in 400deg oven or on your backyard grill. Open packets carefully (to let steam out) and bake for 5 minutes longer.
**Note: I parboiled the carrots and potatoes ahead of time to ensure they would be cooked thoroughly with the rest of the meal.
I also made this for the three of us tonight, so you can always increase the ingredients to accommodate your family size. I thought this would also be great with fresh mushrooms and sliced onions included, or any other veggie combinations. I just used what I had on hand and it turned out great! Everyone loved it - and the chicken was very tender and flavorful!
Here's the foil packet chicken dinner prior to putting it in the oven.
After it is cooked!
The best part of this meal is that clean up is minimal! Everything is wrapped in foil, so there are no baking dishes to wash (just wipe clean the baking sheet I put the foil packets on).
This is a great meal to eat while camping because everything is contained in the foil packet making it's own "dish" to eat from and just toss the foil when done!
Remember how I mentioned that I parboiled the carrots and potatoes ahead of time so they would be cooked complete with the rest of the meal (parboiling is partially cooking - or blanching - in boiling water, but removed before cooking is complete)? So that nothing is wasted, I reuse the water that these vegetables are boiled in, making my own homemade vegetable broth (to be used later in soups, casseroles, etc). I usually add a few seasonings to the water when boiling the veggies (in the same way you would when boiling chicken). This gives it a tasty blend of flavors along with the vegetables. After I remove the vegetables and the broth has cooled, I drain the broth through a sieve and then pour it into an ice cube tray:
After the broth is set and frozen, I pop the cubes out into a freezer bag that is labeled with the contents and date and return the bag to the freezer.
Now when I need a cup of vegetable broth (or chicken broth - I do the same thing when I boil a chicken) I can just grab a few cubes of broth to add to my recipes. One cube equals about 1/4 cup of broth.
Imagine how much healthier this is (no MSG, extra sodium, or other additives that are in the store bought canned broth) and so much more cost effective, too!