This has been a year of discovery in healthful eating and this was a surprise to me since I once thought only fancy restaurants could pull this off:
Cooking en papillote (in paper) is an easy, economical, healthy, fast, delicious, no-mess way to fix a great meal. You can even customize a packet for every individual diner. Don't care for onions? Leave them out but give me extra mushrooms… see what I mean? You could even put initials on each packet to make sure you get the right one. Kids will love it.
Simple ingredients are transformed when they mingle with each other in the interior steam. Little or no oil is required but just one pat of butter can perform miracles. Chose your ingredients carefully so they will have similar cooking times. For instance, a chicken tender or filet of flounder pairs well with julienned carrots or zuchini. Thinly sliced shallots, mushrooms, even potatoes work well. Baby veggies such as baby bok choy or broccolini are nice. Frozen ingredients like mixed vegetables can be used but thaw and drain them first. A little thinly sliced lemon or just the juice itself, wine or a tiny bit of broth adds moisture to drier ingredients. Garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and herbs lift the dish to high art.
You can use parchment or simple foil to make the individual packet. The traditional heart shaped packet is the standard but tightly folding the edges on a square folded triangularly works well too. Leave a little air space for the steam to form inside. Bake on a cookie sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven. In about 20 minutes or so, the parchment packet will puff up and brown slightly. Then just transfer the packet to a plate and open it with kitchen shears to slide the steamy contents out on your plate.
Who needs microwaved GM frozen meals.
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