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Food Bytes PG Cookbook The Food Chain
Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Foil packet neatly cooks complete dinner

Thursday, February 25, 1999

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A meal in a foil envelope is hard to beat for convenience and ease of cleanup, especially for solo diners who have more excuses than the rest of us to minimize kitchen time.

Katherine Nugent of Oakland sent us her tried-and-true recipe for a juicy chicken and vegetable and potato dinner all cooked up in a disposable square of aluminum foil. No baking pans, no cooking pots with baked-on potato starch.

Nugent, who cooks from scratch just about every night, says she found this recipe in a product advertisement and has modified it to suit her tastes, substituting zucchini for the original sliced carrots. The combination was flavorful (the Parmesan and garlic salt are all you really need) and the chicken was fork tender.

The only hitch is the timing, which depends on the size of the chicken breast half. The first time we tested this recipe it took us 40 minutes to cook the chicken thoroughly, but then it was a tad on the plump size.

If time is of the essence, you can speed up the process by using chicken tenders or slicing the chicken breast into strips.

Another big plus about this recipe is the time you save at the cleanup end, and the fact that you have free time to set the table, read your mail or a magazine while it cooks. This is a complete meal that's hard to beat. All you need add is dessert.

Quick and Easy Chicken Dinner

This recipe feeds one person, but it can be doubled or tripled as needed. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the chicken breast. To speed things up, chicken tenders may be substituted. Or the chicken breast can be cut in strips.

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup sliced small zucchini
2 small red potatoes, cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine cheese and garlic salt. Rub chicken on both sides with olive oil, then press chicken into cheese mixture to cover both sides. Place chicken on 12-inch square (double thickness) aluminum foil. Place zucchini and potatoes on either side of the chicken. (Do not overcrowd.) Drizzle remaining oil over chicken. Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning.

Seal foil tightly, slide it onto a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Open packet carefully (watch out for the steam) and bake 5 minutes longer.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer(not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@Post-Gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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