Tuesday, August 3, 2010

All Wrapped Up in a Nice Little Package

Parchment paper is a handy dandy little cooking tool. It keeps things nice and tidy (not as many dishes to clean up), and it creates some juicy, tender meat and flavorful vegetables.

My sister already posted some chicken packet recipes, but here are a few recipes I found.

The first is a South Beach recipe that I discovered thanks to my in-laws' love of all things South Beach. It is flavored with orange and tarragon. This recipe represents the first time I actually tasted tarragon...and I love it!

The second is a Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe that incorporates some pretty strong flavors (jalapeno, cilantro, and ginger) to create a very flavorful, but not overpowering chicken. I found the jalapeno and ginger too strong to eat, myself. But my husband loved it. I would, personally, have increased the mango quite a bit. It was really tasty, but I felt that there wasn't nearly enough of it.

If you want a light dinner, the packets alone are enough for dinner. However, if you want to flesh it out a little more, some rice pilaf and a little side salad would be just the right touch.

I hope you like them!

Chicken en Papillote


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 scallions, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced diagonally
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2" pieces
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (see notes below)


Heat oven to 400 degrees (425 degrees if you use foil instead of parchment paper). Cut four 2-foot lengths of parchment paper or foil. Fold each in half to make a 1 foot square. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place a breast slightly below the middle of each square of paper.

In a small bowl, combine the scallions, carrot, zucchini, tarragon, and orange zest. Spoon 1/4 of the vegetable mixture over each chicken breast.

Fold the parchment or foil over the chicken and crimp the edges together tightly. Bake for 20 minutes on a baking sheet.

To serve, cut an X in the top of each packet with scissors and tear to open.

Serves 4

Nutrition information: 144 calories, 27 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fats, 86 mg sodium, 65 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber.

Source: South Beach Diet cookbook

Notes: First of all, I doubled the recipe. I increased the vegetables quite a bit. I used 3 regular sized zucchini, and about 8 regular sized carrots. I cut both the carrots and zucchini into matchstick shapes by cutting them lengthwise in half, and lengthwise into sticks. I added salt and pepper to taste to the vegetable mixture rather than salting and peppering the chicken. I felt that 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest wasn't quite enough, so I added the zest of one large orange (it was either a heaping 1/2 teaspoon or a full teaspoon of orange zest). I also added the juice of the zested orange. Also, I didn't follow the instructions above for how to fold the parchment paper or foil. I used the twist method found in the recipe below.

Chicken with Mango and Ginger


1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4 inch wedges (see notes)
8 chicken cutlets (about 1 3/4 pounds total) or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 piece fresh ginger (1 inch), peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium jalapeno, thinly sliced
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Lime wedges, for serving


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place mango wedges in center of four 18-inch-long pieces of parchment. Top with chicken, ginger, cilantro, and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle each with 2 teaspoons oil. Fold parchment into a "twist" or "envelope" shape (page 85).

Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until packets are puffed up and chicken is cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition information: 297 calories, 11.5 g fat, 37.1 g protein, 9.7 g carb, 1.1 g fiber.

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food.

Notes: Again, I would double or even triple the amount of mango used for this recipe. It wouldn't make the chicken too sweet. The other ingredients are flavorful enough to keep that from happening. It would just create a more abundant side-dish of mango. Yum!