Foil packets can be made as simple or as gourmet as you'd like to make them. They're not just for camping! All you do is use aluminum foil and pile your chicken, vegetables, and potatoes/rice OR just potatoes/rice and vegetables for a vegetarian option. The chicken and potatoes/rice and vegetables all cook together by steaming. It's really a healthy way to eat dinner. (I've never made them with uncooked rice--only cooked rice. But, I have made them with uncooked potatoes and raw chicken--worked great.)
Making foil packets is one of the BEST and EASIEST ways to entertain and a fantastic way to use what you have in the fridge for dinner. It's a do-it-yourself kind of meal. For enertaining: set up a bar-type area with all the ingredients and everyone assembles their own meal. Just have a marker handy so everyone can add their names or initials to each packet for easy identification when the packets come out of the oven.
During the summer, you can place your packets on the grill so you don't heat up your house....in the winter, you can throw them in the oven. Foil pockets minimal clean-up--it's wonderful not to have to do dishes! And you can try a new version each time you make this meal!
There are no off-limits ingredients--it's just whatever you like or have in the fridge. Below are some ideas for ingredients to use--it's just a start. You can make Asian, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Greek, or Barbeque versions depening on sauces, cheeses or ingredients you use.
For the fastest version, use cooked potatoes and chicken. For a slower version, you can use all raw chicken and uncooked potatoes. Either way, keep the vegetables raw because they will cook fast.
ANY of these ingredients listed below can be used to make foil pack chicken (be sure to cut up your ingredients)--you pick & choose:
- Cream of mushroom soup (for a creamy sauce)-but I'm sure cream cheese or sour cream would work too-you can skip any sauce though
- Mushrooms (sauteed or fresh)
- Onions or green onions
- Red bell peppers
- Cooked rice
- Green beans
- Zucchini or squash
- Brocoli and/or cauliflower
- Cheese--any kind or several different kinds (Parmesan, cheddar, feta, goat, mexican blend, etc.)
- Celery or carrots
- Pine nuts
- Tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Hot sauce
- Seasonings of your choice (taco, italian, steak, etc.)
- Soy sauce
- Lemon juice
- White wine
- Red wine vinegar
- Barbeque sauce
To prevent sticking, spray each piece of foil with Pam or some type of cooking spray. Then layer all your desired ingredients and close up each foil packet leaving just a little bit of space for steam (basically, don't wrap it extremely tight).
Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes if your chicken is raw. If it is not, your packet may be ready in 20 minutes. If they are on the grill with high heat, they will probably be ready in about 25 minutes--and even less so if your potatoes and chicken are cooked or you are making a purely vegetarian version.
If I use raw chicken, I will often open the packet and broil for another 5-10 minutes to get a crispy top--keep your eye on it to prevent burning.
When they are done, everyone can either eat the meal out of the packets or spill the contents onto a plate. BE CAREFUL OPENING THE PACKETS!!!! Steam will escape and it can be easy to get burned.
Good luck & just to assure you, everyone loves these and it's really hard to screw this up :)