Sunday, August 17, 2014

Foil Pack Meals (Part 2)

Ladies (and gentlemen), start your grill! And impress your dinner guests with Grilled Parm-Ranch Chicken.
I was excited when I read the ingredients for this recipe because it called for carrots and fresh green beans. Lucky for me (and family) it was time to pick the carrots, and green AND purple beans from our backyard garden.

My ingredients are pictured above, but I'd recommend you use an Italian herb blend and fresh garlic, (in lieu of the garlic salt I had on hand). If you don't love garlic, skip it. The ranch and Parmesan offer up a lot of great flavor. Mixing those up with your veggies make for a colorful medley.

I like to cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes to minimize cooking time and to make them a nice bite-size for kids. And if beans aren't your thing, I think broccoli would be a nice stand-in.

You can create your foil packs as a made to order individual meal (1 chicken breast per pack with their preferred veggies), or if you intend to dish up a plate you can do 2 (average to small size) chicken breasts per foil pack, then transfer to a dish once off the grill.

When you wrap the foil around your ingredients, be sure to allow space in the pack for heat circulation and expansion.

Grill for 20 minutes, rotating each pack 1/2 way through. It's recommended that the poultry's internal temperature reaches at least 170 degrees.

Our family thought this meal was a nice change of pace, and pretty to boot!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Foil Pack Meals (Part 1)

Who doesn't love a foil pack on the grill? I remember the first time I had one, it was "Hobo Potatoes" that my friend had made. Oh the cheesy potato goodness. I was impressed by how easy and delicious it was. And that was just a side dish. To make a whole meal, or at least main course, in a piece of tinfoil is just like one of those "one pot meals"!

Two foil pack recipes that caught my eye on Pinterest were the Hearty Beef Stew, and the Grilled Parmesan Ranch Chicken.
I started with the Beef Stew recipe and ended up having it again a week later because it really hit the spot for my family at dinner time. Grilling has been ideal with the amazingly beautiful weather we've had here in Minneapolis the past couple weeks!

The recipe called for brown gravy but I went my own way with this one. The recipe was really just inspiration for me this time. I didn't want a salty gravy gooey foil pack, but did want the hearty meaty I still used steak, potatoes and carrots, but left out the gravy and onions. Here are my ingredients:

I didn't pay that price. I bought the steak on sale with a coupon!
Super simple ingredients right? I prefer using fresh garlic and garden veggies, but ours had not yet been harvested when I made this meal.

So, I stoked up the charcoal grill and cooked up 2 foil packs for 20 minutes. The recipe says 14-16 minutes but you just never know with a grill. I checked the foil packs at the 15 minute mark but the potatoes were still a little firm.

Cooking these in 2 separate packs is especially nice if you have picky eaters and/or if you have to cut food up for kids. For 1 of the packs I cut the meat into smaller pieces. You could also put more/less spices and/or veggies in 1.


If you prefer to use the oven, you could bake the foil pack on a cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes.

The steak was tender, juicy and flavorful, and the potatoes and carrots were the perfect texture. I served it up with a spinach salad and some sweet peppers with ranch (my kids love them).

In my next post I'll share the Grilled Parmesan Ranch Chicken foil pack recipe. It's a bit more involved, but worth it!