Campfire Chicken Packets with Zucchini, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Despite my affinity for warm beds, showers, and non-athletic footwear, I am actually quite fond of camping. I have mentioned my camping skills briefly before, and I am proud to report that they are only getting better. This is actually my third camping trip with Logan, and I really feel like I’ve figured things out.
First of all, I’ve gotten a handle on the packing situation. It took me a while, but I have finally embraced my woodsy wardrobe and overall camping appearance. Gone are the days of packing dry clean only ensembles and 30 toiletries in my backpack. I am now a woman of denim, flannel, and Stridex wipes! I only need one pair of shoes, and I no longer worry about my unwashed hair, since I have come to see it as “wild” and “bohemian.” I am the definition of low-maintenance. (Plus, my baby dreads will undoubtedly help me blend in at the THREE Widespread Panic shows Logan plans on dragging me to this weekend. Details to follow soon.)
Logan and I have also streamlined our camp set-up, each of us taking on the tasks that play to our individual strengths. Logan unloads the car, sets up the tent, and builds a fire, while I prepare a delicious feast and have cocktails. It’s an incredibly efficient system.
Honestly, I’m quite proud of my camping cuisine. My camp meals have gotten significantly more creative and impressive over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to pulling off several campfire masterpieces this week. I still get upset and slightly nauseous thinking about some of the dehydrated food that Logan and I consumed on our first camping adventure, but that was to be expected, as camping involved a rather painful learning curve for me. However, since bonding with the Jetboil (the most badass camp stove ever) that Logan bought for us on that first trip, my wilderness cooking game has improved by leaps and bounds.
I was able to make all manner of fancy meals once I got comfortable with the Jetboil, which I came to love more than any “appliance” I have ever owned. Last year’s fajitas were a personal favorite, but there were also some pretty epic scrambles, stir-fries, and stews prepared on that little stove. So, when Logan suggested we go camping again this summer, I was thrilled at the thought of being reunited with the Jetboil.
In a cruel twist of fate, the Jetboil seems to have disappeared. I kept expecting to unearth it somewhere in my hoards while packing for our move last week, but it never materialized. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. Logan tried to comfort me with the fact that his brother gave him a new camp stove for Christmas, so “we don’t even need the Jetboil.” This did not make me feel better, and I am concerned about Logan’s lack of sentimentality regarding the Jetboil. I’m sure I will come to like the new camp stove, but it won’t be the same. You never forget your first.
While I will have to become friendly with the new stove at some point, I have managed to come up with some fancy meals that don’t require a stove at all. I spent a lot of time brainstorming last week and tested a few recipes, but Campfire Chicken Packets with Zucchini, Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes were the clear winner.
These packets are filled with light and fresh ingredients that practically scream summer. Juicy cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, and onions are an ideal base for tender chicken breast and salty sausage. Tossed with a garlicky lemon-olive oil dressing, these Campfire Chicken Packets are bursting with flavor, and because you are essentially steaming all of the ingredients, the chicken and vegetables are deliciously tender. Top each packet with a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan and fresh basil and you’ve got a seriously classy campfire creation on your hands.
The best part about Campfire Chicken Packets is that they are a breeze to assemble and even easier to clean up. Simply put the ingredients for each packet in the center of a piece of tinfoil, fold it up like a present and toss it in the coals of your campfire for 20 minutes. When your packets are ready, simply remove them from the fire, and eat them straight from the foil. (Eating straight from the foil is rustic and makes me feel “down to earth,” which I like.)
If the thought of camping creeps you out, and you never ever expect to find yourself in the vicinity of a campfire, you can obviously make Campfire Chicken Packets at home. Just throw these bad boys on a covered grill or pop them in a 400-degree oven, and sit down to a delicious, fuss-free feast in 30 minutes. Based on their minimal prep time and cleanup, these packets are an awesome anytime meal.
The colors and flavors of Campfire Chicken Packets are shockingly impressive despite their humble tinfoil roots, so you could definitely get away with feeding them to guests. They’re a great option for your next backyard barbecue/grillfest, and eating them straight out of the foil is fun and kitschy. If you’re going for a more refined indoor feel, I recommend removing the chicken and vegetables from the foil and serving them over some quinoa, rice, or even pasta to soak up all the packet juices. (“Packet juice” sounds gross but is actually delicious.) Get involved, people. Tinfoil is so hot right now.
Campfire Chicken Packets with Zucchini, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes: (Makes 4 packets)
*4 pieces of heavy-duty tinfoil, 12-inches each (If you don’t have heavy duty, double up your regular tinfoil.)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (optional- I’m into spicy, but it’s up to you)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 ounces dry sausage of your choice (chorizo, Abruzzese sausage, summer sausage, etc.), diced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 ear of corn, kernels removed from the cob
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preparing your Campfire Chicken Packets:
-In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chili flakes (if using). Set aside while you prepare the chicken and vegetables.
-Place the vegetables, chicken and sausage in a large bowl or Ziploc bag, and add the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. (You can also do this in advance and let your chicken and vegetables marinate in your fridge/cooler for up to 24 hours.)
-Divide the mixture evenly, placing the ingredients in the center of each of the four pieces of tinfoil.
-Place your campfire chicken packets, seal side up, in the coals of a campfire or on a covered grill for about 20 minutes (depending on how hot your fire is) or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. If you are making these indoors at home (still awesome), you can bake your packets in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
-When your packets are cooked, carefully open them (there will be steam, people), and sprinkle each packet with Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil. Classy campfire food at its finest! You’re so outdoorsy.
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