Sunday, July 7, 2013

Camping Special: Tin Foil Dinners

I always find cooking while camping to be a fun and unique challenge. I've always camped in a tent, and though I usually have access to a grill, and occasionally an electric griddle we can plug into an extension cord and set up on a picnic table, making something like a trusty casserole is out. Hot dogs and hamburgers are obvious dinner choices, as are steaks and grilled chicken. Here's one that's easy, tasty, and a little bit different.

First, you need two sheets of tin foil, one to contain the food, and a second as insurance in case the first one tears or develops holes. My boyfriend Greg and I made tin foil packets of only vegetables because we were also grilling steaks as our main course. The others in the group, who initially invited us to join in and help them use up their copious amounts of chunked and sliced carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery, also put in ground hamburger. Some added butter, salt, pepper, or other seasonings. It's like making a personal pan pizza, add the toppings of your choice. 

One recipe I found online suggested adding cream of mushroom soup, and another used tomato sauce. I would eat both of those things. You cold, of course, use ground turkey burger instead of beef, or chicken strips, drumsticks, or a round steak. As for vegetables, corn, beans, peas, or zucchini could be added. (I think zucchini would go especially well with tomato sauce.) Pretty much anything, and all can be easily packed into a cooler, or picked up fresh once you arrive. The all-vegetarian dinner packet was very fine, in my opinion, and if used as the main course, could easily be doctored up with tempeh or seitan, or any number of things.

Next, you wrap up your meal into a tight packet, rolling in the ends securely. Do two layers just to make sure your food doesn't escape to a quick death in the fire. This is something you can easily grill at home on your deck or patio, too, if you don't have a campfire handy, or even in your kitchen's oven, though that isn't as fun. Allow at least 45 minutes for the meat to cook thoroughly, flipping the packet over halfway through to ensure a more evenly cooked meal. It will be very hot when you take it out, so be careful and give it time to cool down before enjoying.

Last, the clean up is simple: toss the tin foil into the campfire. Or trash if you lack fire.

Another night, Greg and I wrapped fresh corn on the cob in tin foil and cooked that on the grill for a few minutes. It was delicious with just a hint of smokey flavor. It's a real shame our apartment complex doesn't allow us to have grills. I guess I'll just have to be lame and use the oven in the future.

...Or, I wonder if a George Foreman grill would work. But that's an entry for another time.

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