Fall TV Season Inspires New Take On Old TV Dinners - NBC Chicago

Fall TV Season Inspires New Take On Old TV Dinners

Wayne creates a “TV Night” spread with red hot popcorn, chicken and vegetables in foil packets with baked apples and ice cream sandwiches



    Fall TV Season Inspires New Take On Old TV Dinners
    Wayne Johnson
    Wayne's Weekend: A modern take on old TV Dinners - chicken and vegetables in individual foil packets

    The fall TV season is the perfect time to have a TV night at home with family and friends.  But, rather than having a bowl of popcorn and pizza, I thought I give TV night a twist, with red hot popcorn, my new take on old TV dinners and some homemade ice cream sandwiches. 

    My memory of TV dinners was always foil trays filled with meat, vegetables and a little dessert treat.  So, I combined the meat and vegetables into individual serving foil packets and made a little dessert packet “side care” of apples and cinnamon.  Pluse, if the apples aren't enough, I’ve added ice cream sandwiches using one of my cookie recipes, vanilla ice cream and mini chocolate chips.  This should make TV night just a little more tasty and entertaining.

    Chicken TV Dinner with Cinnamon Apples


    1 tsp Lemon Pepper
    1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
    1/2 tsp Paprika
    1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
    1/2 tsp Salt
    4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves, about 2lb total
    1 sm Red Pepper, julienned
    1 sm Yellow Pepper, julienned
    1 sm Onion, roughly chopped
    1 Carrot, sliced
    4 oz Mushrooms, sliced
    1 Squash, sliced
    1 Jalapeño (optional), seeded and chopped
    2 tbl Butter
    Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
    Cooking Spray
    2 lg Apples, cored peeled and roughly chopped
    juice of 1/2 Lemon
    2 tsp Sugar
    1 tsp Cinnamon
    2 tbl Butter


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix the first five dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  Trim any excess fat off of chicken breasts.  Rinse and pat dry.

    For each piece of chicken, lay a 12” square piece of aluminum on a work surface and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Place a chicken breast in the center and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the dry herb mix.  Top breast with 1/4 of the red pepper, yellow pepper, onion, carrot, mushrooms, squash and jalapeño.  Place 1/2 tablespoon of button on top and pull up two sides to form a tent over the ingredients.  Seal those two sides and then crimp the opposing sides and fold them up to form a sealed packet.  Place all packets on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the packets rest for 10 minutes before serving.  This is an important step as the chicken will continue to cook.  The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees F.  Serve with baked apples (recipe follows).

    Place apples in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and toss again to coat. 

    For each serving place about a 12” square piece of aluminum on a work surface.  Place the cooking spray can in the center and pull up the sides around the can to form a tall container.  Remove the can and spoon in 1/4 of the apple mixture.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter on top and seal the aluminum to enclose the apples.  Bake along with the chicken packets, placing them in the oven 10 minutes after the chicken has been begun baking.  Remove from the oven at the same time as the chicken packets.

    Red Hot Popcorn
    couresy of Ann Cook


    3 bags Natural Microwave Popcorn, 3.5oz size, popped with all the "old maids" picked out
    1 1/2 sticks Butter or Margarine
    1/2 cu Karo Syrup
    9.5 oz bag Red Hots


    Melt butter, karo and red hots on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile put popped popcorn into a large greased roasting pan (I use one of those disposable turkey pans). Pour syrup over the popcorn and stir. Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees. Stir every 15 minutes. When done, pour onto wax paper to cool. Break into pieces and store in a sealed container or bag.

    Ice Cream Sandwiches


    Your Favorite Cookie Recipe (like chocolate chip, tiger, cowboy or oatmeal scotchies – here’s a link to some of mine).
    Vanilla Ice Cream
    Miniature Chocolate Chips


    Prepare cookies.  Once cooled, place two cookies for each sandwich you’d like to make in the freezer for 1 hour.  Place miniature chocolate chips in the freezer as well.  Place a sheet of wax paper on a flat dish or small baking pan that will fit in your freezer.  Using a circular cookie cutter that is about the same size as the cookies (you can even use something like a tuna can with the top and bottom removed), pack about a 1” layer of slightly softened ice cream into the cutter.   Remove the cutter and repeat for as many sandwiches that you want to make.  Place the ice cream “disks” in the freezer until hard frozen.

    To assemble, pour the mini chips on wax paper.  Sandwich an ice cream disk between two cookies and roll the sides in the mini chips (or press the mini chips into the ice with your hands).  Return sandwiches to freezer until ready to serve.  If you plan on store them longer than a day, wrap each in plastic wrap.

    If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on facebook.