Tag Archives: Chicken

Zesty Italian Chicken & Veggie Pouch

6 Jul

After a few weeks of trying to get by solely on peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and grilled cheese as my entire diet outside of when I’m at work, I was seriously dying for a home-cooked meal.  Being housed in a dorm for the summer, however, has it’s limitations.  The building fortunately has a “kitchenette” with an oven and stove, but unfortunately, I have no pots and pans to cook in!  Actually, up until last week, I only has a much-overused panini press to cook my meals on, and I swear if I had to eat another sandwich last week, I would have screamed!

This is when I decided that it was time to get creative.  It was actually those ladies in the Reynolds Wrap commercials that came to my rescue! I didn’t need pots and pans to cook a delicious meal, if I just got a roll of heavy duty foil!  So after some careful planning, I went to the store to get some ingredients that I could use up in the next few days and make multiple different meals from, all in an aluminum foil pouch!

Since I’m probably missing out on all sorts of vitamins and minerals with this “living on grilled cheese” diet of mine for the last few weeks, I was actually craving vegetables.  Seriously. I just wanted something healthy.  For this no pots and pans meal, I used only three main ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 package of Bird’s Eye Steamfresh veggies (Baby Potato variety – but pick what you like)
  • 1 packet of Grill Mates Zesty Italian marinade

The trick to living in a dorm this summer, other than not having proper cooking tools, is that I also do not have a microwave, or a freezer, which means I can’t enjoy favorite simple “meals” that I usually do at home/school, like the Bird’s Eye veggie steamers.These are seriously great things on their own and with a microwave, but I had to improvise.  Instead of following the package directions, I just cut open the bag & sprinkled just a little mix of the dry marinade inside, then closed the bag and shook it to coat my veggies.

I put the seasoned veggies and trimmed/seasoned chicken (plus a little salt & pepper for flavor) onto a piece of aluminum foil and folded into a pouch.  You can find the instructions for how to fold the foil, here.  Just make sure you use a piece of foil that is big enough to allow for a little air pocket around your food.  This helps with heat circulation.

I cooked my chicken pouch in the oven for approximately 35 minutes at 450 degrees F.  This oven is kind of temperamental, so you may want to check on your chicken a little early if you decide to do this recipe at home.  The Reynolds Wrap website recommends about 20 minutes at the same temperature for a similar recipe.

Finally, I was able to enjoy a simple meal that tasted home-cooked, even while living in a dorm!  Another huge bonus was using things that were relatively cheap to begin with & could be used over.  A pack of chicken breasts was around $5.30 for 3 chicken breasts, which I was able to use later in the week, the Zesty seasoning packet was about $1.00, but I have more than half of that left to use another time, and the Steamfresh Veggies were only around $2.00.  Being able to cook a delicious, and healthy meal for one person can sometimes be challenging, but if you get creative, you might be able to find new ways to use common products. And, if you cook in aluminum foil, “clean up is a breeze.”

The Reynolds Wrap website has some great recipe ideas for food that can be cooked in this style! Definitely be sure to check it out!

WE ARE… thankful for cheesy Reynolds Wrap advertising for easy cooking ideas!


Cheesy Broccoli-Chicken Bake

3 Oct

Last night my roommate and I put together this casserole recipe from a combination of two other recipes, one can be found online, here, at AllRecipes.com, the other is from my Better Homes and Garden: 9X13, The Pan That Can cookbook.

Combining the recipes, mostly took the recipe for Creamy Chicken-Broccoli Bake from the 9X13 cookbook, and the cheesiness from the AllRecipes.com post with added potatoes.

What You’ll Need: Nonstick cooking spray, 1.5 lb boneless chicken breasts (or chicken tenderloin), 1 small onion (white or green), 3 medium Idaho potatoes, 1 10 3/4 oz can of condensed cream of broccoli soup, 1 8oz carton of sour cream, 1/3 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 16oz package frozen chopped broccoli (thawed & drained), 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, 10 oz shredded Colby & Monterey jack cheese, 2 tablespoons butter (melted), oregano (optional)

Start off by thawing the broccoli, then set aside. Next, I poked holes in all my potatoes with a knife and steamed in Zip-loc baggies in the microwave (like making a quick baked potato) for 4 minutes.  They should end up nearly, but not entirely cooked.  Dice your chicken into 1-inch cubes and saute in skillet with oregano until no longer pink.  Dice onions and add to the chicken for a few minutes.  Then put the chicken and onions into a large bowl.  Peel and dice the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the chicken/onion mixture Add the broccoli, soup, sour cream, dry mustard, pepper, chicken broth & cheese to the bowl with the chicken, potatoes and onions, then stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour into a 9X13 baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.   Add bread crumbs to the melted butter and spread across the top of the broccoli-chicken mixture.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes, uncover and allow to bake for another 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

This filling casserole dish can be eaten on its own, or is delicious served with garlic toast (which is what we did).

My Tips:

  • Get the potatoes and chicken done first!
  • You can peel & boil the potatoes instead of baking if desired
  • We’re going to try using cream of chicken instead of cream of broccoli next time

WE ARE… enjoying a lazy Sunday.

10 Minute White Pizza w/Spinach, Chicken & Roma Tomatoes!

5 Sep

Hey everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your long weekend!  For today’s LION BITE we’re cooking up a pizza that takes less than 10 minutes from prep to clean-up! Super easy, super quick, & super delicious!

What You’ll Need: Lavah bread, Italian cheese blend (I used Sargento’s Six Cheese Italian), baby spinach, 1 roma tomato (per two pizzas), precooked diced chicken breasts (I used Oscar Myer), 1 tbsp olive oil, salt & pepper, basil (optional)

So the reason this is such a quick dish is obviously the use of many ready-to-use ingredients, but trust me, this doesn’t cut down on flavor at all!  I started out by preheating my oven to 400 degrees F. Then I seeded & diced my Roma tomato. This is pretty much the only work involved in the dish at all!

Brush the center of your lavah bread with the olive oil, covering the the entire center, up until where you want your crust to end.  Next, top with lots of yummy cheese!  You could also use mozzarella cheese here, if that’s what you’ve got on hand.  The Italian blend has more flavors & really compliments the spinach & tomatoes though!

After you add the cheese, tear up the baby spinach into smaller pieces and put that & your diced tomatoes on the pizza. Toss your diced chicken in a bowl with a tiny squirt of olive oil, salt & pepper and add it to your pizza as well.  You can also add the basil if you have/like it.  I used it, because let’s face it, next to garlic, basil is one of my favorite ingredients!

Then just slid the pizza in the oven, placing directly onto the top rack for 3-5 minutes or until the crust browns & the cheese is melted. Be sure to keep your eye on this because it will be done quick!!!

Mmm! My mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza!  It really does take less than 10 minutes to make & it was so yummy I had to make two!

My Tips:

  • This a great way to use leftover chicken breast from the night before if you want to instead of buying pre-diced chicken.
  • Clean-up your cutting board & such while the pizza is in the oven (you want to be completely done & ready to enjoy this delicious meal in 10 minutes!
  • You can fold this pizza up really easy (think Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme) and take it with you.  I did that with my second one!


Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry & a Special Summer Treat!

25 Jul

Hey everyone!  This week I’ve got an easy meal for you all that is made all the time in my apartment: STIR-FRY!!!! My one roommate loves it and I swear she makes it once a week (okay, I’m exaggerating a tiny bit but still she makes it A LOT).

My friend from high school, Amber, came to visit me this weekend & we wanted to make a dinner at home since we went out for lunch.  We practically stuffed ourselves yesterday between steaks at Outback, a cupcake adventure at Sugar On Top (located in State College behind Rita’s Water Ice), dinner & our special summery dessert!

Since we had steaks for lunch, we opted to go with a chicken stir fry.  So we headed over to Giant to buy our ingredients for what had to be an overstuffed stir fry.  We both picked out ingredients we liked & threw it all together.  Seriously, we didn’t even use everything and it hardly fit into the pan!

Our Ingredients

Our Shopping List: Chicken tenderloins (easy to cut/cook), teriyaki sauce, water chestnuts, fresh mushrooms, an onion, a green bell pepper, baby corn (Amber was so excited about this one haha), carrots, & broccoli.  We also got stuff to make a special yummy dessert!

Be creative with your stir fry. Use what you like, there’s not really a need to follow any set recipe.  Another thing that’s nice about stir fry is that if someone doesn’t like something in it, it is really easy to eat around. For example, I love bell peppers in stir-fry, but Amber really doesn’t like them, so I she just pushed them to the side of the plate.

Back at my apartment, we started chopping up ingredients, myself working on the stir fry & Amber the dessert.

Vegetables w/Teriyaki Sauce added

Once everything was rinsed & chopped up, I put all of the vegetables (minus the mushrooms — which I added later to keep from getting mushy) into a large skillet with just a little bit (hardly any) water, covered & allowed to cook.  While the vegetables were cooking, I tossed the already diced (into bite-sized pieces) of chicken into a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Once the vegetables (mushrooms added in) & chicken had cooked through, I added a little bit of teriyaki sauce (We used La Choy Teriyaki in the purple bottle.  I also recommend Kikkoman Teryaki — it’s also in a purple bottle) into each pan, mixed it in & let it simmer.  Keep an eye on the chicken pan especially so that the sauce doesn’t burn to the pan!

Once the sauce was good and sticky on the chicken we were ready to mix it w/the vegetables & enjoy our delicious stir-fry dinner!

I bet some of you are wondering if I forgot about the dessert.  No worries, I didn’t.  I couldn’t if I tried because it was delicious & simple and I’m eating a leftover bowl of it right now for a snack!

BERRY BLAST Fruit Salad (named lovingly by Amber 🙂 )

Refreshing Berry Salad

Inspired by some delicious looking strawberries, Amber came up with the idea of a fruit salad for dessert.  So we picked out various berries & found a precut mixture of strawberries & sliced kiwis.  The strawberry/kiwi cup was so convenient & a lot easier than cutting up the strawberries ourselves.  Plus we also got to have kiwis which we would have never thought to buy if we hadn’t seen this pre-sliced cup! Amber cleaned the berries/fruit & tossed in a bowl with some sugar, the salad was sweet, but healthy & satisfying!

My Tips:
  • Instead of chicken, try sliced steaks (or tofu for you vegetarians!) in your stir-fry.
  • Mix up the vegetables. Try different colors of bell peppers in your stir fry for more color!
  • To make the stir-fry go further if you are feeding lots of people, make some white rice & serve mixed with the stir-fry. We almost always do this when we make stir-fry because my roommates and I eat rice a lot. (Think having to buy a 5 lb box from Sam’s Club.)
  • For the fruit salad –> use any variety of fruits that you like! Summer is a great time to enjoy fruits since they are so fresh!
  • Recruit a friend to help you cook. It’s fun to have someone else helping with dinner 🙂
WE ARE…going to have leftover stir-fry for dinner tonight!!!