Southwestern Chicken & Rice Foil Packets

Southwestern Chicken & Rice Foil Packets

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I came across this recipe after searching for meals that contained rice and beans; both ingredients my young kids are guaranteed to eat. I’m knee-deep in the stages of my toddler being a finicky eater. I always struggle to find a balance between feeding my toddler what I’ve prepared for dinner and what I know he’ll eat. I don’t have time to make him a separate meal (and I’m just not that nice), and I want my kids to try new, diverse flavors that just don’t happen with PB&Js. Cue Southwestern Chicken & Rice Foil Packets! I’ve heard of foil meals being called “Hobo dinners” and I’ve been told they’re great for camping, but I hadn’t actually tried one before.

This meal was not only easy to prepare, the clean up was very minimal. Plus, I loved that it didn’t require me to actually do anything during the cooking process. I was free to fold laundry and watch a little backyard baseball that was taking place. The original recipe comes from gimmedelicious.com, where there is a whole collection of foil packet recipes I’ve yet to explore fully. I’ve made a few adjustments to the ingredients, just to make shopping easier and to try to eliminate having 1/2 can of black beans or 1/4 of an onion leftover. I used a store-bought packet of taco seasoning although I’d love to find a homemade combination that I like…. I’ll have to keep searching. We were happy with the flavors, everything cooked perfectly, and the rice, beans, and chicken were all eagerly eaten by my picky toddler. That qualifies it as a “make again meal” in our house. What, if any, foil packet recipes have you tried and loved?

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Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with 4 sheets of foil (about 6-8 inches) and set aside.

Combine the brown rice, water, and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning in a medium bowl and soak for 5 minutes. Divide rice (and its water) into the 4 sheets of foil.

Pound chicken with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin until they are even (the original recipe calls for 3- 4oz chicken breasts. I did my grocery shopping online for this meal so I just asked for 1lb of chicken breasts to keep my order simple. I ended up with two, larger breasts. I put them in a ziplock bag and leveled them with my rolling pin. This made the chicken breasts pretty big, so I cut them in half, roughly 4oz each, and was able to get 4 portions instead of the original recipe’s 3).

Seasoning each chicken breast generously with the remaining taco seasoning (I didn’t have a ton of seasoning left from the packet I used, but there was plenty of flavor even without a ton of seasoning rubbed on each chicken breast). Place the chicken on top of the rice. Top each chicken breast with a few tablespoons of salsa and sprinkle of cheese. I used mild cheddar on three of the packets and when that ran out, used mozzarella on the 4th. Both combinations were delicious. Add the veggies and beans on the sides of the chicken. Drizzle each packet with olive oil and fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely. Seal the packets closed.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165F. Remove from oven and carefully open up the foil packets. Put the packets under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice on each packet, garnish with cilantro and sour cream if desired and serve immediately.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1 1/2 cups quick brown rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 packet taco seasoning

1/3 cup salsa

3/4 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese

1 small yellow onion, sliced into thin strips (around 1 cup)

1 small bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (around 1 cup)

1 can black beans, drained

olive oil

1 lime cut into wedges (optional)

cilantro (optional)

sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with 4 sheets of foil (about 6-8 inches) and set aside.
  2. Combine the brown rice, water, and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning in a medium bowl and soak for 5 minutes. Divide rice (and its water) into the 4 sheets of foil.
  3. Pound chicken with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin until they are even. Seasoning each chicken breast generously with the remaining taco seasoning. Place the chicken on top of the rice. Top each chicken breast with a few tablespoons of salsa and sprinkle of cheese. Add the veggies and beans on the sides of the chicken. Drizzle each packet with olive oil and fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely. Seal the packets closed.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165F. Remove from oven and carefully open up the foil packets. Put the packets under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice on each packet, garnish with cilantro and sour cream if desired and serve immediately.

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