Chicken Dinner in Foil makes use of an old camping trick that works equally as well in your home kitchen. Cooking meals in foil packets is nothing new to campers. This particular version is one of the most flavorful you will ever taste, although there is nothing exotic about it. Measurements, ingredients, and serving sizes are all easily adaptable, and it is easy enough for even the most basic cook.
Chicken Dinner in Foil Recipe
Non-stick aluminum foil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed clean or peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, unthawed
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1-1/2 to 2 cups fine-shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions (scallions)
1/4 cup bacon bits
Preheat oven to 400 F. Tear off 6 sheets of non-stick foil, approximately 15- x 12-inches.
Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise so they are about 1/2-inch thick. Season on both sides with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, sage, paprika, and black pepper. Set aside.
Slice potatoes into rounds about 1/4-inch thick (see Notes). A mandoline slicer works perfectly for this chore, and it goes fast. Have the remaining ingredients opened and ready to go.
Set up a production line by spreading out each square of foil next to each other. Spray the centers of the squares with butter-flavored oil. Place potato slices in the center, with each slice overlapping halfway, to the length of the chicken breasts. This will be your base to build upon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the seasoned chicken breast halves on top of the potatoes and follow with the broccoli. Spoon the cream of mushroom soup evenly over the broccoli. Top broccoli with Cheddar cheese, green onions, and bacon bits.
Fold up the foil sides and fold the edges down to make individual sealed packets, leaving about 1 inch of air-space at the top. Place the packets on a heavy rimmed baking tray (jelly roll pan).
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the chicken breasts. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve the packets on a plate and let guests open them at the table. Alternatively, you can remove the foil and slide the stacks onto a plate to serve.
A side salad and artisan bread make perfect accompaniments.
Yield 6 servings
• It is important that the potatoes be sliced evenly and thin. Otherwise, they will not cook through.
• Cream of celery, chicken, or cheese soups may be substituted for the cream of mushroom soup, as well as low-fat and low-sodium varieties. Spoon the soup on straight from the can.
• You may substitute skinless, boneless chicken thighs for the chicken breasts. Increase the baking time to 45 to 50 minutes.
• Frozen mixed vegetables of your choice may be substituted for the broccoli.
• Prepared stuffing may be substituted for the potatoes.
• I do not recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces for this recipe. Although I normally prefer skin-on, bone-in chicken for flavor and moisture retention, this method and cooking time will not be long enough to render the fat and cook the chicken completely. If you increase the cooking time, the vegetables will lose texture integrity and become mushy.
• As you can tell from reading the method, this recipe is easily multiplied. The ingredient amounts are easily adjustable to suit your own tastes.
• The foil packets work just as well in a covered grill.
• Be careful of steam when you open the packets. If you use commercial chicken, you will notice it releases a lot of water. This is because commercial chicken is enhanced. You may wish to open one end of the packet and drain any excess liquid before serving.