Are you wishing for summer again? for an outdoor camping trip with mountains or the ocean close by, a dancing campfire, and the tempting smell of your dinner cooking over the coals?
Or do you just wish you could get out of the kitchen at dinner time and let the last-minute details take care of themselves while you have freedom to enjoy nature?
Be it winter, summer, indoors or outside, foil dinners are always timely and delicious. “Foil dinners?” you ask. “What are they?”
Well, it’s an idea borrowed from Scouts, campers, and others who cook in the outdoors. Regardless of where the idea came from, it’s one that can easily be adapted to preparing indoors and the results are yummy!
Many different types of dinners can be cooked in foil, to suit individual tastes. Dad’s portion can be bigger than little sister’s, and individual preferences can be indulged as you leave in or take out onions or make other adjustments in each foil-packaged portion; all you need is a felt-tipped marking pen to personalize each dinner as you wrap it in foil. And meals can be prepared ahead of time and the foil packages stored in the refrigerator until time to cook them.
To cook in foil, cut or tear foil (medium or heavy-duty weight) into pieces about 12 inches square. Place the food in the center of the square; then fold the foil package with a “drugstore fold”: Bring two sides of the foil to the center and roll them together to the center of the package; then roll the ends of the other sides together and fold under the package, to seal it tightly.
The recipes given below are for four servings; these may be adjusted for more hearty appetites or larger groups. To make the meal complete, all you need to add for each foil-cooked main course is a salad and perhaps some fruit for dessert, and you have a filling as well as tasty and nutritious meal. For those who really hanker for outdoor cooking, you might toast marshmallows over a top burner of your range, using forks to hold them (but don’t get burned). A popular campfire dessert is “S’mores,” made with two roasted marshmallows and two squares of a milk chocolate bar put between two graham crackers, sandwich style.
For each serving, place a 1/4-pound hamburger patty on the center of a square of foil. On the patty arrange thinly sliced raw potatoes, carrots, onions, and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables over the meat evenly and then wrap the foil. Bake in a 350° F. oven about 45 minutes. Serve hot with catsup or chili sauce.
Toss together one medium head of cabbage, coarsely chopped; 2 cups shredded carrots; and 1/4 cup dry onion soup mix. Divide into four portions, and place each portion on the center of a square of foil. Dot with butter, and top each serving with a slice of corned beef (canned or freshly cooked). Close foil and seal well. Bake at 350° F. about 30 minutes.
For each serving, put half a 10-ounce package of frozen green vegetable (beans, broccoli, etc.) on square of foil. Top with half a 7-ounce can of tuna, broken into chunks. Sprinkle with lemon juice and add 2 tablespoons tartar sauce and chopped onion to taste. Fold and seal foil; bake at 375° F. about 30 minutes.
For each serving, place 2 pieces of frying chicken on square of foil. Season with salt, pepper, and monosodium glutamate. Add cooked sweet potato halves and a slice of pineapple. Fold and seal foil, and bake at 350° F. for one hour. (Other vegetables, such as onion slices, carrot slices, or green beans, may also be used.)
For each serving, place about 3/4 cup sauerkraut in center of foil. Split wieners (2 per serving) and insert thin wedges of cheese in splits. Place wieners on top of sauerkraut, and add a generous spoonful of potato salad. Seal foil, and cook 30 minutes at 350° F.
Scoop out hard rolls (one or more per serving, as desired). Fill rolls with following mixture (makes four servings—adjust as needed): 1 can ground canned luncheon meat, corned beef, or minced ham; 1/2 to 1 cup ground cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup ground sweet pickles, and a chopped hard-cooked egg. Moisten mixture with a little salad dressing or undiluted cream of chicken soup; add salt and pepper to taste. Wrap each roll individually in foil, and bake 20 to 30 minutes in 350° F. oven.