I am constantly thinking about ways to make dinner easy. I mean……..constantly. I see a recipe and I’m like “OOO how can recreate this to reduce the prep time to 3 seconds?” or “OOO how can I make this ridiculously easy, but chemical shit storm of a dish PHFF balanced?” The latter is definitely where my head was at with this one. I was perusing the almighty Pinterest for dinner ideas and I came across a ‘chicken bacon ranch foil pack’ and I thought MMMM YEP. But then I opened it up, and found the recipe used store-bought, fake bacon bits, American cheese and store bought ranch dressing. But why??? How hard is it to cut up some real bacon?? How hard is it to buy REAL cheese? They are LITERALLY right next to each other. *rolls eyes* Anyways. I had a plan.
Transforming the EASIEST recipes from fake food into real food.
In addition to wanting to turn this particular recipe, which will remain unnamed, into real food and PHFF balanced, I wanted this to be something you could just open and eat right then and there. This would make it easy to double the recipe and take it along to work all week and just heat it up in the microwave. So, foil was out of the question a) because no one wants to eat off metal b) because don’t put foil in the microwave ever (lol I’ve never done this, I swear, and I definitely haven’t done it in the last year) and c) because we’re gonna get some cheese meltage. Cheese paper >>>> cheese foil. If you grew up eating McDonald’s you know what’s up here. If not, don’t worry about it. Read on.
Who doesn’t love a chicken/bacon/ranch moment?
This is so easy, SO DELICIOUS, and takes minutes to put together. Do yourself a favor and don’t skip the extra 2 minute step of heating up a pan and searing the chicken. I tried the recipe both ways and the chicken turned out 23429847 Xs juicier when I seared it. Always always always sear chicken breast before cooking it and it won’t suck.
Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Packets
Author: Megan Kober, RDN, LD
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
This comfort food classic has been turned into a PHFF balanced meal that can be prepared in minutes and eaten all week.
8 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (~20 oz chicken)
3 c chopped broccoli into small, 1/2” pieces
1/2 c Herby Yogurt Ranch Dip (or a GOOD quality ranch dressing – check the label for weird ingredients)
4 pieces of bacon, finely chopped
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
Preheat oven to 400F.
Tear off 4 12-inch pieces of parchment paper. Divide broccoli evenly amongst the parchment paper. Place right in the middle of the sheet.
Heat a pan on high heat. Get it hot.
Season chicken tenders with salt, onion powder and garlic powder on both sides.
Sear chicken for 25 seconds on each side. Place 2 chicken tenders on each parchment paper, on top of the broccoli.
Layer ranch dip, bacon and cheddar on top of the chicken.
Fold up the sides and to create a ‘teepee’ over the chicken. Fold the down a couple of times. Then, fold the 2 ends under a couple of times. Don’t stress about this – you’re just creating a little house for your chicken to live in.
Bake chicken packets for 20 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear. And be careful when opening – they’re hot.
Transfer to a plate, or just eat it straight out of the packet.
Serving size: 1 packet
If you don’t have parchment paper, foil works just as well.
You can also use small chicken breasts instead of 2 chicken tenders. If you are using a large chicken breast, I recommend slicing it in half.
After cooking, these will last for about a week in the fridge, so don’t be afraid to make a ton and eat them all week.