At yesterday’s weigh-in (I am happy to report that although I am not at 199–yet–I did have a total loss this month of 10.5 pounds) meeting, we talked again about cooking with parchment paper. I had told the group about it early in the month and it has been SO wonderful to hear how many people have tried it over the past few weeks. It’s such a great way to cook meat and veggies, and delicious too! We were having tilapia for dinner last night so I had my husband take pictures of the prep work, step by step, so you too could get on the parchment band wagon! We have used this method of cooking with salmon, chicken, and tilapia so far. When using it with chicken I recommend pounding the chicken breast down with a meat hammer to tenderize it, and to get an even thickness throughout the whole breast. (1/4 inch-1/2 inch is good) This will make cooking time much quicker AND your chicken much more moist.
Gather all of your ingredients. The most basic way to make your lean meats with parchment is to use a tsp of olive oil, a slice of lemon, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mrs Dash seasonings work well too, particularly the garlic and herb flavor.) Capers are also a “standard” around here, I just happened to be out yesterday when I took this picture!
Cut a piece of parchment paper that is about 24-36 inches long, depending on how big your meat is. (Once you see how we fold the parchment this will make much more sense, and it will be easy for you to estimate what works for you.)
Once you have your piece of parchment cut, place your fish or chicken in the middle of it and drizzle with one tsp of olive oil. Last week I was out of olive oil, so a great substitution for us was Paul Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. That dressing is probably, hands down, the favorite at this house!)
Sprinkle your seasonings, and top with a slice of lemon. This is also a good point to mention that vegetables can be wrapped up right in the same packet if you wish. Green beans work very well like this.
Now it is time to wrap it all up! Take the end pieces, and have them meet in the middle–over top of your meat.
Roll/fold the parchment paper down until all the excess paper is within the fold.
It will look like this when you are finished.
Fold the ends up under the meat to “seal” the packet.
Place your little packet of goodness on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-45 minutes. Times will vary based on what you are cooking and its thickness (fish I start checking at the 20 minute mark). I ALWAYS use a meat thermometer to tell if something is done which is why I hardly can ever tell anyone how long something takes!
Based on the google searches I have done for tilapia and chicken, I cook the tilapia until it reaches 145 degrees, and my chicken until it reaches 165. I get moist and juicy meat every time!
I hope this encourages those of you who have been thinking about trying this method to try it out this week, and if you have never heard of it–well I hope it encourages you too!
From beginning to end, this is my favorite way to cook. I love anything that can be assembled in the morning (just put the packets in the fridge on a cookie sheet) and anything that can cleaned up in minutes. As long as the olive oil doesn’t dribble all over, clean up is as easy as throwing the parchment away!
A few members at my weight watchers meeting said that they have found parchment bags at the local supermarket. I have yet to try these, but can imagine it makes the process even easier. I am going to be experimenting with different flavors and oils over the next couple of weeks so that I can make available to you an easy reference guide of combinations. Would love to hear how your dinner turns out when you try this–be sure to leave a comment!