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Healthy Packet Recipes

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Healthy Packet Recipes & Foil Packet Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners (via EatingWell.com)

Cooking seafood, chicken and vegetables “en papillote” or in parchment-paper packets and foil packets is an easy way to ensure tender and juicy results. Steaming fish en papillote, as well as steaming chicken and steaming vegetables in packets, traps in flavor, whether you cook the paper packets in the oven or grill foil packets.  Here are some easy packet recipes with a fuss-free technique to ensure a healthy dinner packed with tender meat, healthy vegetables and flavorful juices.

Salmon & Escarole Packets with Lemon-Tarragon Butter

4 servings

Ingredients

·       2 lemons

·       2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried

·       2 cloves garlic, minced

·       6 cups chopped escarole, romaine lettuce or spinach

·       2 tablespoons butter

·       1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

·       ¾ teaspoon salt, divided

·       ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

·       1-1¼ pounds skinned salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific (see Note), cut into 4 portions

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F (or see Grill Variation, below).
To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment or foil folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart.
Combine butter with the juice of 1 lemon in a small pan; melt over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in tarragon and garlic. Reserve 2 tablespoons for the fish. Combine the rest of the sauce in a large bowl with escarole (or lettuce or spinach), scallions, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
Place one-fourth of the greens mixture (about 1¼ cups) on one side of each open heart fairly close to the crease and leaving at least a 1-inch border around the edges for folding. Place 1 piece of fish on top of each portion of greens. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Brush the reserved sauce on the fish. Slice the remaining lemon and top the fish with the lemon slices.
Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly). Bake until the fish is just cooked through and the greens are wilted, about 15 minutes. (Carefully open one package to check for doneness—be cautious of the steam.) Let the packets rest unopened for 5 minutes before serving.
Grill Variation: Cooking in packets is great for the grill, but it's not safe to put parchment paper over an open flame, so use foil. To prepare packets for grilling, start with eight 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of foil. Layer two sheets for each of four packets (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning). Arrange the ingredients on one half of each double layer. Fold the foil over the ingredients and tightly seal the packets by crimping and folding the edges together. Grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the packets to another spot on the grill about halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Chicken with Whole-Grain Mustard & Zucchini in Packets

4 servings

Ingredients

·       4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1¼-1½ pounds), trimmed and tenders removed

·       2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

·       2 small zucchini, thinly sliced

 

·       2 sweet banana peppers, or cubanelle peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

·       2 shallots, thinly sliced

1½ cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

1.      Preheat oven to 400°F (or see Grill Variation, below).

2.      To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment or foil folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart.

3.      Place a chicken breast on one side of each open heart fairly close to the crease and leaving at least a 1-inch border around the edges for folding and spread with mustard.

4.      Toss zucchini, peppers, shallots, tomatoes, oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place about 1¼ cups of the vegetable mixture on top of each piece of chicken.

5.      Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly). Bake until the vegetables are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, about 25 minutes. (Carefully open one package to check for doneness—be cautious of the steam.) Let the packets rest unopened for 5 minutes before serving.

6.      Grill Variation: Cooking in packets is great for the grill, but it's not safe to put parchment paper over an open flame, so use foil. To prepare packets for grilling, start with eight 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of foil. Layer two sheets for each of four packets (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning). Arrange the ingredients on one half of each double layer. Fold the foil over the ingredients and tightly seal the packets by crimping and folding the edges together. Grill over medium heat for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the packets to another spot on the grill about halfway through to ensure even cooking.

 

Packet-Roasted Balsamic Green Beans & Peppers

4 servings

Ingredients

·       2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

·       2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

·       2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

·       2 cloves garlic, minced

·       ½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces green and/or yellow beans
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, (see Tip)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preparation

1.      Preheat oven to 400°F (or see Grill Variation, below).

2.      To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment or foil folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart.

3.      Mix oil, mustard, syrup, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Add beans and peppers; toss.

4.      Place one-fourth of the vegetable mixture (about 1 cup) on one side of each open heart fairly close to the crease and leaving at least a 1-inch border around the edges for folding. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

5.      Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly). Bake until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Let packets rest unopened for 5 minutes. Drizzle the vegetables with vinegar just before serving.

6.      Grill Variation: Cooking in packets is great for the grill, but it's not safe to put parchment paper over an open flame, so use foil. To prepare packets for grilling, start with eight 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of foil. Layer two sheets for each of four packets (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning). Arrange the ingredients on one half of each double layer. Fold the foil over the ingredients and tightly seal the packets by crimping and folding the edges together. Grill over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the packets to another spot on the grill about halfway through to ensure even cooking.

 

Adobo Pork & Potato Packets

4 servings

Ingredients

·       3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

·       2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar

·       2 teaspoons paprika

·       2 teaspoons chopped garlic

·       ½ teaspoon salt, divided

1 small sweet potato, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 medium yellow-fleshed potato, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 bone-in pork loin chops, (1½-1¾ pounds), trimmed of fat

 

Preparation

1.      Preheat grill to high.

2.      Combine oil, vinegar, paprika, garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt in a blender; process until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Place sweet potato, potato and onion in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons of the sauce; toss well to coat. Rub both sides of pork chops with the remaining sauce.

3.      To make a packet, lay two 24-inch sheets of foil on top of each other (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning); generously coat the top piece with cooking spray. Spread half the potato mixture in the center of the foil in a thin layer. Bring the short ends of foil together, fold over and pinch to seal. Pinch the seams together along the sides to seal the packet. Make a second packet in the same fashion with the remaining potato mixture.

Place the packets on the hottest part of the grill and the pork chops in the front or back. Cook the pork for 3 to 4 minutes per side and the packets for 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and let rest while the packets finish cooking. Open the packets (be careful of steam) and serve the pork chops with the vegetables.