Here is a fast main course that is fun for young chefs. All it takes is some parchment paper, protein and savory vegetables.
First, chose your protein. You’ll want to use a thin piece of meat, as this recipe is meant to cook quickly. Chicken or fish works well, particularly sole, flounder, or tilapia. If you chose chicken, pound the chicken breast to roughly half an inch thick, or buy sliced raw white meat. Then, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Now the fun part! Take a rectangular piece of parchment paper, fold it in half, and cut it into a big heart shape. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use tin foil (don’t use wax paper, as it cannot be used in a hot oven). If you use tin foil, leave a little room for the steam.
Open the heart shaped paper, and place the meat or fish (no more than 4 oz) in the middle. Next, wash your aromatic vegetables – leeks, peppers, mushrooms, onions, whatever you enjoy – and slice them very thin. Scatter them around the meat, making sure they have some moisture. If your veggies don’t look moist enough, add a tablespoon of cream, chicken stock or a few very thin slices of lemon or orange.
Each heart pouch will serve one person, so each one can be personalized! This is a great way to be super creative with flavor combinations. Have everyone make their pouch to suit their tastes. The mushroom lover, the mustard lover, and the lemon lover can each craft their own.
Fold the outer edge of the pouch carefully, so that a tight seal is formed. Place the pouches on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The heart will puff up!
You can serve these as is, and let each person tear open their own pouch. They go great with a green salad and a whole grain, such as brown rice or quinoa. The fancy French name for this is Poulet (or fish) en Papillote! Bon appetit!
Robin is a certified professional chef and 2011 graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Prior to that, she enjoyed a career as mom, director of adult education for her town and director of religious education for her church. She can make puff pastry, classic French food, Italian peasant food, ice cream and really good PB&J. A devout believer in lifelong learning, she loves to try new foods, recipes and techniques, and invite her friends and family to come over for a bite.