Busy Lifestyle Cooking Hacks
When I originally came up with this recipe, my schedule was a little different then it is now. I was working full-time, then coming home to prepare healthy meals, and take care of my father, who was terminally ill. We all followed different diets, with my mother doing low-carb. me on 21 Day Fix, and trying to keep my dad's weight up while his fat intake stayed low. Needless to say, it was be a challenge. Now, I'm having physical health issues of my own, and standing up to prepare an elaborate meal is a struggle and a half.
Any meal that allows me to cook what appears to be a gourmet meal without too much effort and no messy clean up is a home run in my book. I've seen meals cooked in foil packets all over the internet, and I had to jump on the bandwagon. I'm sooooooooo glad that I did, because this knocked it out of the park!
While the chicken was pre-cooked a bit in the microwave, and the potatoes were parboiled, it saved an enormous amount of cook time in the long run. The foil packets are loosely sealed, allowing the juices from the chicken to help steam the rest of the ingredients. I chose green beans with a half serving each of potatoes and corn. I'll discuss some other options you can use below. I'm already planning my next foil packet dinner, since it was so easy and delicious. Stay tuned!
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 4 servings
· 8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
· 2 potatoes, peeled
· 2 ears corn
· 4 cups green beans
· 2 teaspoons bbq spice
· 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
· 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1. Peel the potatoes. Cut them into large chunks.
2. Place the potatoes into a small pot with water and a dash of salt. Heat on medium flame until the water is boiling. After 5 minutes, remove it from heat.
3. Place the chicken into a medium sized microwaveable container. Sprinkle with the bbq spice. Microwave on high for 6 1/2 minutes.
4. Preheat your grill to medium heat. If you're using your oven, preheat to 350 degrees.
5. Place 2 chicken thighs with 1 cup of vegetables, 1/4 of a potato, and half an ear of corn onto a large piece of foil. Sprinkle a tiny bit of the pink Himalayan salt onto the veggies, potatoes, and corn.
6. Fold the sides of the foil together on top, scrunching the sides up to keep the juice in the packet. You'll need a little room on top, so make sure your packets aren't sealed super tightly on top. This pocket of air allows the corn, potatoes, and green beans to steam while the chicken cooks.
7. Place packets onto the grill (or in the oven) and cook for 20 minutes. Unwrap and sprinkle the paprika onto the potatoes. Serve!
While I love using fresh vegetables whenever I can, I'm not against using frozen vegetables. I had to run to Trader Joe's yesterday, and they had some absolutely gorgeous frozen green beans in the store. I didn't even bother to defrost them before putting them into the packets, The steam helps to defrost and cook the veggies.
I had originally planned this meal with potatoes, green beans, and chicken. The local corn looked so good, I had to add some (perks of living on Long Island). So instead of a full portion of potatoes and one of corn, I chose to use half a portion of each. This helped me to avoid the difficult decision of choosing between one or the other.
21 Day Fix Container Counts
If you follow the recipe as written, the container counts are as follows:
· 1 red container
· 1 green container
· 1 yellow container
· 1 tsp (since chicken thighs are higher in fat than breasts)
If you make any changes to the recipe, be sure to adjust the container counts.
The beauty of a recipe like this is the wide range of changes you can make. There's protein, carbs, vegetables, and spices to play around with. Here's some ideas I came up with.
· Protein: I chose chicken thighs because I've always been a huge fan of dark meat. My local supermarket had a huge sale on boneless, skinless chicken thighs which made this a no-brainer. I'm sure you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts as well, but you may have to lessen the amount of time on the grill so they don't get dried out.
· Carbs: I am an old-school girl who loves a good meat and potatoes dish. But as I said earlier, Long Island is known for having local corn. You could choose one or the other, or do as I did and use half a serving of each. Another great option could be sweet potatoes, which would pair perfectly with the hint of sweetness in the bbq spice. If you're following a low-carb diet, you can leave this out altogether, and just add more veggies.
· Vegetables: This area has endless possibilities. I used frozen green beans, but would also use broccoli or cauliflower florets, asparagus spears, or any kind of squash in a heartbeat. You could throw some brussels sprouts in, I've heard that they taste great when grilled. I wouldn't know personally since they're one of the few vegetables I won't eat. Portobello mushrooms could be another great addition, especially if you're using chicken breast since they're higher in water content.
· Spices: We've had a bottle of Pereg mixed spices for BBQ in the cabinet for a while now. It's got a nice blend of garlic, cumin, salt, paprika, and allspice. It lent a savory flavor to the chicken with just a tiny hint of sweetness. If you don't have this, you could make your own seasoning for the chicken. I'm partial to pre-mixed spices, like Goya Adobo, but if you don't have any on hand, you could use garlic with just a little bit of cumin, salt, paprika, and a tiny sprinkle of allspice so it doesn't overpower the dish. If there's a different spice that you prefer, use it!
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