Foil Pack: Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice

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EASY FOIL PACKET Creamy salsa verde chicken with rice and veggies all cooked at once in a foil packet! No need to pre-cook the rice or chicken. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble and is bursting with delicious Mexican flavor! Also, make these packets into TACOS for another quick and easy dinner. Recipe from: chelseasmessyapron.com

Creamy salsa verde chicken with rice and veggies all cooked at once in a foil packet! No need to pre-cook the rice or chicken. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble and is bursting with delicious Mexican flavor.

Creamy salsa verde chicken with rice and veggies all cooked at once in a foil packet! No need to pre-cook the rice or chicken. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble and is bursting with delicious Mexican flavor. Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com

 

How crazy fun is this dinner?! Chicken, rice, veggies all done in one delicious foil packet. BAM. Dinner’s ready and you spent like a minute preparing it?

Majorly crushing on tin foil dinners these days. And I hope you love them too because I already have two other tin foil dinners all ready to post! We may or may not have had tin foil dinners for lunch and dinner every single day this week and last. Although, in all honesty, not every meal has been served in foil…I’ve gotten a little creative in re-purposing the dishes into something else. Like making the fillings of these packets into TACOS. Talk about so delicious and SO easy. (More details on that in the next section of text).

Creamy salsa verde chicken with rice and veggies all cooked at once in a foil packet! No need to pre-cook the rice or chicken. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble and is bursting with delicious Mexican flavor. Recipe from: chelseasmessyapron.com

I’ve wanted to test all different sizes of chicken and to make sure these cook well in the oven. I’ve tried 4, 5, 6, and 7 ounce pieces of chicken (I highly recommend getting a food scale if you don’t already have one! It’s a lifesaver for baking AND cooking.) The best size for these packets is a 7-ounce piece. 6 ounces work too but is done in 5-10 minutes less time. For the 4 and 5 ounce pieces I found the chicken to be a little dry by the time the rice is all done. All the testing aside, it’s impossible for me to give an exact cooking time as the size of your chicken (if you don’t have a scale) and the heat of your oven will vary so much from person to person and even from my oven. My best recommendation is to make sure that your chicken is pounded to 1/2 inch thick and exactly 7 ounces. But be prepared to be flexible on timing as it could be anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on the heat of your oven and size of your chicken. In my oven with a 7 ounce chicken it was completely cooked through at about 37 minutes. To be safe, check your chicken with a thermometer at about 35 minutes (it is done when it registers 165 degrees F) And if you have a smaller piece, start checking at 25 minutes.

I know it’s hard to tell from pictures, but to give you a general idea I weighed the chicken breast in the below GIF and it was exactly 7 ounces and pounded to 1/2 inch thickness.

Also since we’ve made these so many times, I’ve gotten a little creative and made tacos out of them. I’ve just taken out all the fillings (rice, black beans, corn), tossed it all together and put that filling on a taco shell. Then slice or shred the chicken, put on top, add plenty of shredded pepper-jack cheese and enjoy with some sour cream. It seriously makes for delicious and super quick tacos!

EASY FOIL PACKET Creamy salsa verde chicken with rice and veggies all cooked at once in a foil packet! No need to pre-cook the rice or chicken. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble and is bursting with delicious Mexican flavor. Recipe from: chelseasmessyapron.com

Since we’ve been making foil dinners like crazy here are a few tips I’ve learned along the experimental journey:

  • NUMBER 1 TIP: Make sure the chicken pieces are trimmed and pounded to even thickness. 1/2 inch and 7 ounces is the best for these.
  • ✔ Make sure the foil is completely 100% sealed off. This will not only keep juices from seeping out (juices that you need for things to cook evenly) and making a mess all over your pan, but it also keeps the chicken ultra moist. Without a tight seal your chicken will likely taste dry. Seal these tightly!
  • ✔ When baking, place an extra piece of foil over a pan and put these on top of that pan. The pan just ensures that you won’t get any mess in your oven *just in case* something does seep out. The foil on top of that pan? It is just to ensure there is no extra mess on your pan. We don’t want to do dishes with foil dinners am I right?!
  • ✔  Before putting ANYTHING in the foil, grease the foil super, super well with nonstick spray. You do not want the rice to stick to the bottom!
  • ✔ After pulling these out of the oven make sure to give all the ingredients a good mix to get those delicious juices that have seeped below. You’ll also notice the cream cheese hasn’t quite melted so just spread that around with your fork and it will meld nicely with the chicken.
  • ✔ Use heavy duty foil.
  • ✔ Adjust your oven rack to the middle of your oven.
  • ✔ TOPPINGS: these are key! This meal is pretty good as is, but it is spectacular with the “toppings.” The most important topping that is totally not optional is the cheese! Tons of melty pepper-jack cheese over this dish is insanely delicious. The other toppings are optional and since this is supposed to be an easy foil dinner, don’t worry too much about them. That said, they do give the dish some extra “wow factor” and don’t take too long. Our favorite additions: cilantro, fresh lime, sliced avocado, and sour cream. YUM.  Also some extra salsa verde if you are really feeling that!
    EASY FOIL PACKET Creamy salsa verde chicken with rice and veggies all cooked at once in a foil packet! No need to pre-cook the rice or chicken. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble and is bursting with delicious Mexican flavor! Also, make these packets into TACOS for another quick and easy dinner. Recipe from: chelseasmessyapron.com

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Foil Pack: Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice

5 from 21 votes
Print Recipe

Foil Pack: Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice

5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 large foil packs; this recipe easily doubles or triples
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Instant white rice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 2 (7 ounces each) large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika optional
  • 1 ounce full fat cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup roasted corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup pepperjack cheese
  • Optional: roasted green chiles lime, cilantro, sour cream, red bell pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Generously grease with cooking spray 2 large sheets of heavy duty tin foil.
  • Weigh your chicken to get (2) 7-ounce pieces. Pound or slice the pieces to 1/2 inch thickness.
  • Toss together the instant rice and water and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • In a bowl, toss together all of the seasonings: cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Dredge each chicken breast evenly in the seasonings (both sides).
  • Divide the rice and water mixture evenly among the 2 foil packets.
  • Place the seasoned chicken on top.
  • Slice the cream cheese into 4 equal pieces and place 2 pieces on top of each chicken breast.
  • Pour 3 tablespoons of salsa verde on top of each chicken breast.
  • Put 1/4 cup corn and 1/4 cup black beans next to each chicken breast. If desired add a few pieces of thinly sliced red pepper to each packet.
  • Seal the packet allowing for expansion and make sure it is 100% sealed.
  • Bake for 30-50 minutes** or until the chicken is completely cooked through (registers 165 degrees F)
  • Mix everything around in your foil pack and top each with pepperjack cheese.
  • Add other optional toppings as desired.
  • TO GRILL: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and allow to heat for 10-15 minutes. Place completely sealed foil packets on grill for 25-35 minutes (or until chicken registers 165 degrees F) flipping once in between at about 10-15 minutes

Video

Recipe Notes

**The size of your chicken and the heat of your oven makes it impossible for me to give you an exact time it should be done in. Be prepared to be flexible on timing as it could be anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on the heat of your oven and size of your chicken. My best recommendation is to make sure that your chicken is pounded to 1/2 inch thick and exactly 7 ounces. In my oven with a 7 ounce chicken breast it was completely cooked through at 37 minutes

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More foil pack recipes:

Sausage and Veggie Foil Packs

Foil Pack Sausage Jambalaya

Foil Pack Garlic Parmesan Lemon Salmon

 

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98 Comments

  1. These look delicious! Have you tried on the grill? I’m thinking this would be fantastic for family dinner at our lake cottage!

    1. Love these foil packs I cook mine in the oven, but I double layer the foil and you do all kinds of different veggies, I like corn on the cob, squash, zucchini, quartered red potatoes. You add shrimp later about 15 minutes before this gets ready to come out of the oven. I have chicken spice that’s a generic I found at a food land, i put in a baggie and shake it up with chicken. I have also done boneless pork chops with red potatoes, onion slices, squash, asparagus, I just mixed up a variety of spices in my cabinet put on top and they melted in our mouths they were so good. My hubby doesn’t normally like veggies unless it’s beans and cornbread, we’re from the south. But he lives these.

      1. I realize this comment is old but if using TJ rice did you put it in frozen or cooked and did you add liquid to the foil pack? I can’t get them rice water ratio right inside the packs and would love to use TJ rice. TIA!!

    1. Regular rice does not cook in the right amount of time as everything else. If you’d like you can cook the rice separately

  2. Making these tonight! I already messed up several steps (forgot to grease the foil and put the cheese on before baking – oops!)

    I’m still optimistic.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Sorry Mary I’ve never tried a tin foil dinner in the crockpot so I really have no idea how long to recommend it be cooked and how well it would work out. Wish I could be of more help!

      1. Hey I seen a recipe where you can make this up in the foil, put them in a slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours on low. Haven’t tried but I’m gonna. Let me know if anyone has tried this. Thanks

  3. 5 stars
    Hi, Chelsea! I made these for dinner last week and it was one of our favorite meals I’ve made! One question. I had a hard time keeping the juices and everything in while sealing the packets. Do I pour the excess water from the rice in? They seemed a little runny but great overall when they were done. Just wondering if you have a tip for sealing without the water going everywhere!

    1. Hi Andrea! I am so thrilled to hear that! It’s been one of our favorites as of late too 🙂 You do pour the excess water from the rice in but there shouldn’t be too much extra left. For keeping it all in, a few tips: get a super large piece of foil and try folding up all four sides of the foil before adding anything in. Create almost like a bowl with the foil and that should help in keeping everything together 🙂

  4. This was my very first time preparing a foil packet dinner…and it most definitely will not be my last! I was a bit distracted during the prep and am pretty sure I left out the chili powder, but even still, it was absolutely delicious!! Thanks for a great recipe and for the extra tips, which I found very helpful!!! ?

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight! It was delicious but I get zero points for presentation after dumping everything out of the foil packs and onto a plate ? My chicken was bigger and 40 minutes was perfect! Yum! PS I used frozen sweet corn instead because that’s what was in my fridge.

  6. 5 stars
    We had a dinner party last night st a friends house and it was my turn to cook. I prepped 4 of these babies, brought them over and popped them in their oven. DELISH. Turned out fantastic! Everyone loved it. So easy and mess free.

  7. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for supper. Family really liked it. Will definitely make again. I used a covered stoneware baking dish instead of foil & cooked rice separately.

  8. 5 stars
    Made this recipe and it is delicious. Cut back on the rub for the chicken but that was my choice. Added a little seasonings/my choices to black beans. Everything tasted delicious, quick, no big clean up. Great recipe! Thanks, Chelsea.

  9. 5 stars
    This was delicious. Can I get the nutrition facts. I didn’t see them on the post. Unless I am missing something 🙂

    1. Hi Jenn! Unfortunately I don’t have nutrition facts on all of my recipes (yet!) so I’d recommend using My Fitness Pal in the meantime! 🙂

  10. Can these be made ahead and frozen then defrost to cook. I hope so. I have this vision of my freezer packed with these. Love this idea.

    1. I wish I could tell you definitively but I’ve never tried freezing these before cooking them. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work though. Let me know if you give it a try 🙂

  11. My mother used to make a dish very similar to this: suggestions: she brushed the chicken w/ a flavor called “Kitchen–something”–it was brown & gave a nice finish to the (white!) chicken. Also, the first layer was a thick slice of onion. Then the rice was added, etc. I will try yours, as you’ve added more than my mom did. Thanks!!
    Barb Caton

  12. I am planning to cook this tonight, but am missing how the corn is roasted. Do you buy it roasted, does it roast in the foil? What am I missing?

  13. Do you use frozen corn or canned corn? Do you roast it yourself or is there a pre-roasted kind I don’t know about! 🙂 🙂

  14. And are the beans canned? Sorry for all the questions!! Thank you it looks so good I can’t wait to try it!

  15. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! Wife made it for dinner about a month ago, and I haven’t stopped thinking about those rice and beans since. She used the tomatillo salsa verde from Trader Joe’s and it’s straight up killer! Thanks!!

    1. I’d say it’s mild. It definitely depends on the brands you use though on the salsa verde. If you are worried you can reduce the chili powder or always add it after. Hope it’s a hit!

  16. 5 stars
    made this before work….turned out great. Instead of black beans i used pinto cause my partner does not like black beans…had some fresh ears of corn on hand so i fire roasted them before adding them…also added a few cloves of garlic and slices of onions along with the bell pepper….will defientenly make again…half with the cream cheese and half without (not a big fan of CC, but always willing to try something different)

  17. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! The only change I made to the recipe was adding chopped red bell pepper in with the corn. At 37 minutes the chicken was perfect! I wish everyrecipe was as specific as this one as to the weight of the chicken breast, they vary so much. Thank you!!

  18. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh! These are so good! I scaled down the seasoning for my kids and they turned out delicious. My kids said I was the best cook ever! Have made these a few times and they never disappoint!

    1. I’m so glad to hear this! It’s the best when something is kid approved! Thanks Susie! 🙂

  19. 5 stars
    This is absolutely amazing! Made these the first time Thursday night, had to have them again last night ?. Our family loves the Chipotle chicken bowls. After spending a fortune at Chipotle I started making ours at home several years ago. I always grill the chicken and veggies for it but have never prepared it all together in a foil packet. It’s the only way I’m fixing them from now on!! Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you!

  20. 5 stars
    I am so glad I found your blog! I made this dish last night for dinner, and it was amazing! I made my husband’s with the regular rice that is listed, and mine with cauliflower rice. Both turned out great! Thank you!

    1. Ahh i’m so glad to hear you guys enjoyed this! And I definitely need to try it with the cauliflower rice!!:)

  21. Can you use instant brown rice instead of white ? If you use califlower rice do you soak it in the water too? What if it’s frozen? Making these tonight!
    Thank you

  22. 5 stars
    I don’t but instant rice, but really wanted to try this, so I followed the package directions to make 2 cups of regular white rice and only cooked it for 15 minutes. I divided it and the water that remained in the pot between the packets and proceeded as directed. I worked perfectly!

  23. 5 stars
    I have made thos two times amd the last tqo weeks and everyome has loved including my kids. Only question is can tou twll me how many calories are on it? Or ahould I just add up everything.?

  24. Can these be prepped ahead of time, like say for a camping trip? I was thinking of making them on Fri and would store in the cooler, cooking for dinner Sat evening.

    1. Yes for sure! As long as they are kept in the cooler they should be great to grill up when you’re ready! Hope you enjoy and have so much fun on your camping trip! 🙂

  25. 5 stars
    I have made these several times and they are very tasty. The only thing that I add is green chilies to give it a little more heat. Fabulous recipe!

  26. 5 stars
    I have made these once before and they were absolutely amazing. However, with the size of my family foil pack dinners are just not a convenient option for me. It’s so time consuming. I’m also not sure we’d love them as much in your taco idea as we do this version. Have you tried doing a version that was like a bake for multiple people at one time? Do think this would even be possible?

    1. So happy you’ve enjoyed the recipe! I totally get what you’re thinking, and I’m sure a bake of this recipe would be delicious. I can’t give exact recommendations without personally testing, but I would think if you complied it all together in a 9 x 13 pan and baked until chicken was cooked through it would be great!

  27. Don’t have instant rice, if I make the rice separate, will the foil packet still turn out the same, without the added moisture from the water and rice?

    1. I haven’t made it without the rice and water, so I’m not entirely sure, but I think it should be okay without it!

  28. Is the 1 ounce of full fat cream cheese absolutely necessary in this recipe? I always use plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of cream cheese in recipes, but I am thinking that would not work in this recipe. So, I am wondering if I could leave the cream cheese ingredient out and still have the recipe turn out good. Thank you.

    1. You can leave it out, but it will taste different for sure! I don’t think the Greek yogurt would work either. You could use Neufchâtel cheese instead

      1. Do you think it would work to instead add an additional tablespoon of salsa verde to each chicken and a half teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to each chicken?

        1. Leaving out the cheese won’t make the dish not work, it just won’t have the same flavor and creaminess. If you leave it out, you don’t need to change anything else unless you’d like to.

  29. Is the 1 ounce of full fat cream cheese necessary in this recipe? I always use plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of cream cheese in recipes, but I am thinking that would not work in this recipe. So, I am wondering if I could leave the cream cheese ingredient out and still have the recipe turn out good. Thank you.

  30. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for dinner. Used salsa I had on hand. Frozen corn. Costco chicken tenderloins (frozen, but I thawed them in the fridge first). Cooked regular rice in the microwave (about 1 cup of rice and 1 1/4 cups water for about 7 mins) and then added it. Topped with avocado and LOVED IT!!! Delicious and easy. Thank you!!

    1. I am so happy to hear this! Way to work with what you had! Sounds delicious, thanks for your comment! 🙂

  31. 5 stars
    This is an amazing and simple dinner. I made this two weeks ago and it back on my list for Sunday. The flavors are so good and the chicken is tender. Absolute best!

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