Monday, August 19, 2013

My favorite easy, quick clean-up meal: Foil Dinners

What's the easiest meal for anyone to fix at home?

One ready for the oven with no clean up of course!

What does this usually require? Usually it means you're fixing a freezer meal and one already prepped in some sort of disposable pan or cooking device that can simply be pitched after the fact avoiding the chore of cleaning the kitchen when you really want to just veg out after finishing your dinner. 

However, this also usually requires a sacrifice in the nutrition and health of your meal.

Prepping freezer meals in advance from scratch is a great idea, but I have a favorite solution that can be done the day of--but at any time of day--and the only tools you will have to clean from prep will be your cutting board, a chopping knife and potentially a bowl and fork.

When I make foil dinners, it's usually on an occasion when I know my evening will be busy so I don't want to have to mess with prepping a meal and, even better, I don't want to deal with making a mess that requires cleaning that evening or the next morning.

Ingredients I typically use:
-Ground Meat
**I add other ingredients as we have them. Last week I also included green beans and cabbage. Other herbs or seasonings would be fine too.

Here is the process:
1. Tear a piece of foil approximately 18-24" long. (This is dependent on how much you plan to pack into your foil dinner.) Tear foil for each person you plan to feed.
2. Chop you potatoes and carrots (and other veggies) into bite size pieces. I usually quarter my onion and keep the chunks together. Lay your veggies on each foil piece, dispersed evenly. Chop or press garlic over and add to veggies also.
3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over veggies (and any other seasonings of choice.)
4. If using meat, mix ground meat with salt and pepper and any other seasoning of your choice. Make into a patty and lay on top of your veggies.
5. Add butter to top of your "pile" of veggies and meat. Half to 1 tablespoon pieces should be placed throughout the top. Judge the amount to use based on the amount of vegetables you are using on each foil dinner. 
6. Wrap the foil tightly around your meal. Afterwards, use a second piece of foil to warp a second layer around each meal. This will not only help hold the heat in for cooking, but it will also help keep the butter in with your meal as it melts.
7. Your wrapped meals can but kept in the fridge until you are ready to throw them in the oven. I cook them around 375-425 for an hour and a half to two hours. 

It's nice to prep this meal in the morning or early afternoon or have it ready on a weekend when I know I may get caught up in a project and not want to have to quite in order to start on dinner. For eating, you simply open up the foil and eat off of a bowl or plate. The foil can be disposed of and, aside from your plate and fork you have nothing to clean in the kitchen!

Yes, this meal still takes more effort that a trip for fast fast food or a frozen meal from the grocery, but it's a great way to serve up fresh produce or veggies from your own garden and keep it extra healthy.

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