Cooking ruts suck, right? Unfortunately, I find myself in cooking ruts more often than I would like to admit. I fall into routines for making the same dinners every week, and to be honest, I’m over it. I want to introduce new and delicious meals into my arsenal, and spice things up in the kitchen, and at the dinner table.
I’m tired of spaghetti with meat sauce, tacos, fish with rice, and enchiladas. I’m SICK of breakfast for dinner more than you know, and right now, I can’t think of a single other thing I’ve made in recent history. A RUT.
So when I saw my friend Stacey’s Snapchat story the other day featuring this GORGEOUS foil pack meal with chicken and rice and other stuff, and I had to know… What IS that? The snap story featured images of really delicious looking Mexican-inspired chicken dinner, kids and husband asking for more, and the best part? Nearly any cleanup.
Whoa, it looked AMAZING… That very next day, I went to the store, and got the ingredients for both meals, as well as for typical stuff and I was actually excited to get in the kitchen and cook my family some new-new for dinner.
As we were getting closer to dinner time, I literally sat there staring at the clock, anxiously awaiting the time I have been dreading, the time to get into the kitchen and make dinner.
FINALLY, it was time to get cooking, and as I got going, I knew that this meal was going to be a hit, even based on the seasoning mix alone, consisting of cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chili powder, smelled INSANE. Like, mouthwateringly delicious. OoooWEE!
Now, I need to warn you, my photos aren’t that great. I didn’t anticipate loving this dinner as much as I did, and I didn’t’ anticipate my family loving it as much as THEY did. And therefore, I didn’t anticipate writing anything about this meal for SD&S, but here we are, and here these photos are too… ANYWAY!
Following the directions, I soaked my instant rice, pounded my chicken breasts, dredged them in seasoning, and started to assemble my foil packets. Water-soaked rice, topped with seasoned chicken, corn on one side, black beans on the other, a couple of strips of bell peppers, some cream cheese pats on each breast of chicken, then finally topped with some tangy salsa verde.
After sealing each of the 3 individual greased foil packets up super tight, and placing them on a baking sheet, they were ready for the oven. Forty-five minutes and 400 degrees later, soup’s on! We had dinner.
OH MY GOSH. Upon opening the first packet, the aromas escaped with the steam, and it was amazing. I couldn’t wait to stir everything up and dig on in. And that’s just what we all did.
Moving the chicken aside, I stirred the veggies in with the beans, rice, and cooking juices, and then replaced the chicken, and smoothed the melted cream cheese and salsa verde over the meat, added the cheese and other toppings like cilantro and avocado, and boom, ready for chow.
Delicious. Amazing. Scrumptious. Mouth-watering. Both Michael and Major agreed, and Major seriously couldn’t stop talking about it while he was eating. This meal was insane! Everything was cooked perfectly, even the rice was tender and the chicken was juicy. The whole thing was bursting with Mexican flavor, and I couldn’t have asked for more.
I ESPECIALLY couldn’t ask for more when it really and truly was the EASIEST clean up ever. I’m talking it took just a couple of minutes to get everything thrown out and put away. So not only did it take only just about 10 minutes to assemble everything, but it took less time to get everything put away when all was said and done.
Now this is what I call a true WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER. Thank you Stacey for sharing your golden nugget of a recipe, and thank you to Chelsea’s Messy Apron for putting this out there to the world to enjoy. I’m grateful, because between the two of you, I got out of my dinner-time rut.
What’s your favorite dinner recipe? What helped YOU get out of YOUR rut?
- 1.5 cup Instant white rice
- 1 and 2/3 cups water
- 3 (7 ounces each) large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 a palm-full each of cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper, chili powder, and smoked paprika
- 1 and 1/2 ounce full fat cream cheese
- 9 tablespoons salsa verde, or more. I used more.
- 1 can of corn
- 1 can of black beans
- 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- Optional: roasted green chiles lime, cilantro, sour cream, thin sliced bell pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Generously spray with cooking spray 3 large sheets of heavy duty tin foil.
- Pound or slice the pieces of chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.
- Toss together the instant rice and water and let stand for 5-7 minutes.
- In a pie-pan or bowl, toss together all of the seasonings: cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Dredge each chicken breast evenly in the seasonings on both sides.
- Divide the rice and water mixture evenly among the 3 foil packets.
- Place the seasoned chicken on top.
- Slice the cream cheese into 6 equal pieces and place 2 pieces on top of each chicken breast.
- Pour the salsa verde on top of each chicken breast, about 3 tbsp each, but more if you'd like. I did more.
- Evenly split the corn and black beans next to each chicken breast, and if desired add a few pieces of thinly sliced red pepper to each packet.
- Seal the packet allowing for expansion and make sure it is 100% sealed.
- Bake for 30-50 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through (registers 165 degrees F)
- Mix everything around in your foil pack and top each with pepper jack cheese.
- Add other optional toppings as desired. I would recommend canned, roasted green hatch chilis, a squeeze of fresh lime, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocado, and some more thin sliced bell pepper
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