Monday, October 13, 2014

Foil Dinners

Foil dinners are a traditional campfire meal that can be made in advance and then cooked in the hot coals of a fire.  My mom used to prepare my dad and I these little packets of goodness to take when we went camping, and I remember loving them.  They are easy, simple, cheap, and fun to make.  They are also very tasty.

Cooking foil dinners, and making vegan s'mores for dessert is one of my kids' favorite activities. This past week we did this, and I want to share my recipe with you, along with a few pictures.

The recipe I'm sharing with you is very basic, and the bare minimum of ingredients for a good foil dinner (in my opinion).  I usually add other things into it, depending on what I have on hand, how creative I'm feeling, or what is in season.  For instance, this week, I used a purple onion my mother-in-law gave me from her garden, and added a medium tomato, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, and 1/4 cup of marinara sauce that I had on hand, into each packet.  I also used Kielbasa style sausage, which was great.  The tomato turned out great and added some moisture which will helped cook the other vegetables.  The marinara sauce made the packets very flavorful and saucy, but not so much that it was soupy.  My son and I also love mushrooms (but I left these out of my daughter's).

You can add peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, etc. along with a variety of different seasonings if you like.  It is fun to play around and see what turns out well for you.  Just be careful not to get too much in each packet, or you may have trouble sealing it up to cook.  Start out with this basic recipe and go from there.

Ingredients (for 1 packet):
2 large sheets of foil
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups potato, cut into small cubes or slices (~1 medium potato)
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup onion, diced (~1/4 of an onion)
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/16 teaspoon garlic salt (a pinch)
A small sprinkle of pepper
~3.5 oz vegan sausage, sliced up (I like Tofurky brand.  Use one sausage per packet)
(Whatever other seasonings or ingredients you feel like adding)

1.  Build a fire - you'll need some hot coals to cook these packets on.  I've heard you can also cook these in the oven or over a grill, but I imagine there is no better tasting packet than one cooked on a real fire.
2.  Take two large pieces of foil and stack them, one on top of the other.  You want 2 pieces so that there is less risk of the packet ripping and ruining your dinner in the fire.  If you have heavy-duty foil, you could maybe use one piece.
3.  Drizzle the olive oil onto the middle of the foil.  This helps prevent the food from sticking, and adds some moisture as well.
4.  Place the potatoes, carrots, onion, (and any other veggies) into the center of the foil.
5.  Spinkle the seasoned salt, garlic salt, (and any other seasonings) and pepper over the top of the veggies.
6.  Place the vegan sausage over the top of the veggies.  (Add any sauce such as marina over the top of this if you want)
7.  Seal up the packet.  I bring together two sides, and roll them tightly together, then roll up each of the remaining two sides to seal.  There is a great tutorial on this page about sealing up foil dinners.
8.  Place the foil dinner directly on the hot coals of your fire, and cook for ~30-45 minutes.  Minimum time will cook the potatoes and the food will be hot, and a longer time will brown the food and make some of it crispy/brown on the edges (which I like).
9.  Remove the foil packets from the hot coals by grabbing the top with an oven mit.  Let them sit for about 5 minutes.  This allows them to cool a bit so the steam won't burn you when opening.
10.  Open up the top, and eat right from the foil, or dump onto a plate or bowl if you prefer.

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