Who knew cooking dinner could be easy, healthy, and require almost no clean up? It’s all possible with parchment paper packet cooking, a wonderful, revolutionary method that decreases the amount of fat needed for cooking and locks in flavor and nutrients.
Best of all, with parchment paper cooking, there is no mess to clean up– no pots and pans to scrub. The food cooks in a parchment paper packet in the oven, making this perfect for busy moms, people with small kitchens, and anyone tired of doing a sink full of dishes after dinner.
Parchment paper is recyclable and compostable. Cooking with parchment also means you can cook your entire meal in one oven without turning any burners or using lots of hot water to scrub pots and pans.
You can buy parchment paper in your grocery store next to the foil and plastic wrap, or online from sellers like Amazon. Wilton and Reynolds both make parchment. The secret of parchment paper is that it is coated with silicone, which keeps moisture and flavors in, and keeps food from sticking.
You layer your food onto the paper (no pots, pans, or big mixing bowls needed), fold it and bake. It’s that simple!
Parchment paper packets are a snap to cook with. Cut off an 18-20 inch piece of parchment and place your food in the center. Leave at least 4 inches on the sides. Now, grab the long ends of the paper and have them meet in the air in the middle, then just fold them down until you get to the food. You’ll end up with a long package. Now all you have to do is simply twist each end. (You can see illustrations at: http://nopotcooking.com/index.php/technique/). Place the packets on a baking sheet or toaster oven tray for easy in moving them around.
This is one of the most popular recipes from my blog, which kids and parents seem to love equally.
Each packet serves 1
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cooked broccoli (frozen is fine)
1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pinch of onion powder
Pinch of dry mustard
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken on the parchment and season with salt and pepper. Top with the broccoli. Mix cheeses, onion powder, dry mustard and parsley and more salt and pepper in a small bowl, then spread over the broccoli (it’s fine if some drips off). Fold the parchment according to instructions and bake for 20-25 minutes until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 (poke an instant read thermometer through the paper to check). Allow the package to rest about 5 minutes, then serve.
My kids call this “Carrot Confetti” and that is definitely what this colorful dish is like.
Each packet serves 4
10 oz shredded or matchstick carrots
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degress. You can shred carrots yourself (in a food processor) or buy a bag of matchsticks/shredded carrots. Place the carrots in the center of your parchment paper. Drizzle with the honey. Sprinkle the dill over them. Dot with the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold up your packet and for 40 minutes. You could also make this as individual packets of 4 and it will cook in 20 minutes.
Each packet serves 1
S’mores without a campfire? Oh, yes! Buy pre-made, packaged crepes at your grocery store for this simple dessert that will earn raves. It’s simple enough that older kids can make it themselves in a toaster oven.
½ of a 1.55-ounce milk chocolate candy bar, broken into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup mini marshmallows
¼ of a graham cracker sheet, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the crepe on the parchment. Line up the chocolate on one end of the crepe. Add the marshmallows and crumbled graham cracker on top and around the chocolate.
Roll up the crepe, starting at the edge with the chocolate. Place seam-side down on the parchment.
Fold the parchment and bake for 5 minutes until the chocolate and marshmallows are melted.
Brette Sember is the author of The Parchment Paper Cookbook (published by Adams Media). She blogs about parchment paper cooking at www.NoPotCooking.com.