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meat and fish | super speedy chicken parcels

Serves 2

I was nervous about cooking for my partner when we first met years ago. Ridiculous isn't it?! You've been cooking for years and suddenly you turn into a gibbering wreck! It's like meeting in-laws for the first time. You are perfectly capable of making intelligent conversation and suddenly you can't string a sentence together. Anyway, a friend of mine introduced me to these. Wanting to impress, I had been looking at all sorts of complicated and unnecessary dishes to cook! But this was impressive to me then - and better still, spectacularly easy! So, I have used it ever since. Not only are these supremely healthy, but you can make a parcel for each person and add different things, so that they can all go in the oven together. Marvellous!

Wheat free, dairy free, nut free version...

Ingredients...

Method...

  1. Heat the oven to 170ºC. Use one chicken breast and 1 tbsp of oil per person.
  2. Get a piece of foil long enough to make a parcel around one chicken breast and whatever vegetables you want to put with it. Tip: If using cheaper foil, you may need to layer one piece on top of another, just in case it splits when taking it out.
  3. Place the chicken breast on the foil and the vegetables and/or herbs on top.
  4. Drizzle with the oil.
  5. Scrunch the foil together to make an airtight (as you possibly can) parcel.
  6. Place on a baking tray in the oven - this is a very good idea, since trying to juggle a bendy hot foil parcel as you get it out of the oven can have disastrous results - I promise!
  7. Cook for 40-45 minutes or whatever time the weight of chicken suggests.
  8. Take the contents out and arrange on a plate.

Maybe serve with...

This is great served on a bed of rice, or with some new potatoes. If you want to make it more complicated, you can start adding pesto on top of the chicken, or making a herb stuffing and putting it underneath the bacon slice etc. It's also great with any number of vegetables from green beans to sautéed cabbages and baby sweetcorn.

For those able to eat dairy ...

Put the vegetables on the bottom of the foil, then the chicken breast on top. Bake for 30 minutes, then open the foil parcel, top the chicken with cheese and bake for a further 15 minutes or so - or until the cheese has melted.

For those able to eat fish...

You can use cod, halibut, salmon, monkfish, haddock, or plaice instead of the chicken. Alter the cooking times according to which fish you are using.

For those who can eat wheat...

Bake some bread in the bottom of the oven towards the end of the cooking time. Lots of breads only take 8-10 minutes to heat these days - from garlic baguettes to more specialist breads. Alternatively, you can make your own. In which case you are a better woman/man than I - you could build a house with my bread - it is not my forte!

If you have chicken leftover, see Mediterranean skewers, chicken and tarragon provençal, grapefruit chicken and fajita feast. Or just use leftover cooked chicken in a salad and serve with tomato salsa, creamy dip or flake it through a salad and add new potatoes and chopped mango with a basic dressing.


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