Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pesto Chicken Packets

This summer the boy and I went camping with a friend from college and his friends. These have to have been some of the nicest, most patient people. You see, and this is embarrassing, I hadn't been camping since girl scouts. Clearly I had no clue what to expect or what to do, but these wonderful people helped me survive, and even enjoy, my first camping trip as a person over the age of 10.
Don't worry, I'm not here just to tell you about my trip, but also the food. I knew going into it that there would be roasted marshmallows and s'mores. And there were indeed marshmallows and s'mores galore. Loved it!
So perhaps those marshmallows were a tad too toasty, but you get the point.

The way we did food is we had a different couple make dinner for everyone each night. After a REALLLLLY long drive, the boy and I were welcomed to camp by bratwurst and steaks. The next night was our turn to cook. By "our turn" I mean "my turn"- but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I had made a Caesar-pesto pasta salad and snickerdoodles before we left home, so I only needed to make the main meal on site. To go with the pasta salad (which I will post next time I make it), I made Pesto Chicken Packets from Rachael Ray. Chicken, zucchini (and in my version squash), tomatoes, green onion and pesto baked or grilled in individual serving aluminum foil packets.I apologize, as good as these were, I just could not for the life of me get a good picture. The lighting as well as my hunger did not support a great photo shoot! You will just have to trust me that everyone liked it, or check out the professional picture on Rachael Ray's website.
***UPDATE: I have since made these for a friend and was able to get slightly better pictures. The aluminum foil is still not a great photography medium, but at least this time I had light and more time. See the pictures below. ALSO I have added comments to the recipe where I adjusted stuff***Pesto Chicken Packets
4 servings
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (TIP- do not use; the pesto will give off a fair amount of oil during cooking)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pesto (don't use nearly this much)
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash thinly sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped (or about a pint of grape tomatoes halved)
  • 8 scallions, trimmed (and cut into 1/2- 1" sections)


  1. Preheat a grill to medium or oven to 450. Cut four 12-inch-long sheets of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle 1 teaspoon (or no) olive oil into the center of each sheet.

  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 piece of chicken in the center of each sheet and spread (from 2 teaspoons to) 1 tablespoon pesto on top.

  3. Mound one-quarter of the zucchini, tomatoes and scallions over each chicken breast. Dollop 2 tablespoons (no more than 1tsp) pesto over each mound. Fold the foil over the chicken and vegetables; pinch the edges to seal.

  4. Cover and grill over indirect heat or bake the packets for 25 minutes. Remove from the grill or oven and open carefully.

  5. Serve with rice or pasta to absorb the extra juices. (also GREAT with garlic bread-put the tomato bits on the garlic bread and it is DELICIOUS)

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