Here are just a few tips for successful foil-
• Always use a light layer of olive oil or cooking
spray before placing your ingredients on the foil.
• Use heavy-duty foil—even double up if you’re
cooking something on the heavier side. The last
thing you want is your packet breaking apart.
• To make a packet, pull out an extra-long
length of foil and fold it in half so you have a double
layer. Place your ingredients in the center, then pull
over one side, folding the edges to seal. Next, fold
the remaining two edges. Don’t seal the packet too
tightly; leave a “bubble” of space since there needs
to be room for the steam to expand (use caution
when opening the packet).
• Prepare your ingredients in such a way that
everything cooks at the same pace. For example,
mushrooms might remain whole, while denser
ingredients like carrots and potatoes should be
chopped to enable similar cooking times. Also, cut
raw meat into bite-size pieces so you don’t have to
worry about cutting it once the packets are done
cooking, suggests Lindsay Livingston, a registered
dietitian and the author behind the blog TheLean
GreenBean.com. “I start with a similar time I would
cook in an oven, subtract a few minutes and use a
meat thermometer to check for doneness,” she says.
This style of cooking really is as simple and
delicious as it sounds. Fill a large foil packet with
chopped zucchini, corn and chopped red onions,
along with smoked kielbasa links (whole or
chunked) for a filling and mouthwatering meal,
perfect for the campfire or the oven.
Make a delicious “shrimp boil” by sprinkling
large peeled and deveined shrimp with Cajun
seasoning. Add fresh corn and chunked red
potatoes and olive oil, and you’ll think you’ve
been transported to the South.
Whatever your palate desires, you can satisfy it
with a good foil-packet meal, any time of the year.
Laura Bode is a freelance writer in Camas, Washington.
2 pounds ground
turkey or beef
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup finely
1 teaspoon ground cumin
16 ounces canned
1 jalapeño, seeded (or keep
seeds for more heat),
membranes removed and
finely chopped (optional)
Foil-Packet Sweet Potato Tacos
⅓ cup water
2 cups chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans beans
(black, pinto and/or white),
rinsed and drained
4 medium sweet potatoes,
peeled and chopped into
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded cheese, sour
cream, avocado or
guacamole, salsa, olives
and/or cilantro, for garnish
Tortilla chips and/or tortillas
Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium
heat, cook the ground meat, salt, pepper and onion, breaking the meat into
small pieces, until the meat is cooked through. Drain any excess grease.
Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, tomato sauce and jalapeño (if using).
Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the water,
spinach and beans, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Lightly grease the center of 6 to 8 foil pieces, each about 12 inches long.
Place about 1 cup of sweet potato chunks in the center of each piece of foil,
arranging them into somewhat of a single layer; sprinkle with salt and pepper (don’t skip this step). Add a heaping ½ cup or so of the meat mixture on
top. Bring the long sides of the foil together over the filling and fold tightly
down. Fold and crimp each edge until tightly sealed to form a little packet.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of foil and ingredients.
Place the foil packets in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet
and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Carefully open
the foil packets and serve with toppings and garnishes of your choice.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Recipe courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Café, melskitchencafe.com
Costco offers fresh, frozen and
organic produce, heavy-duty foil and
more at the warehouse, online at
Costco.com and through CostcoGrocery delivery (also on Costco.com).