As we'd been discussing using foil packets for camping and cook-out meals, I thought I'd share what we did over Labor Day weekend.
I knew this had to be cheap (meaning I didn't want to run out to the store to buy any "special" ingredients). And I knew it had to be easy, as I had a meeting later in the evening, and I didn't want to be exhausted when I walked into the meeting.
To satisfy the cheap aspect, I used all garden vegetables -- potatoes, shallots, green peppers, tomatoes, green beans and summer squash, plus used (but clean) aluminum foil sheets. And I used 1 pound of ground beef, bought on sale at Cash & Carry a couple of weeks ago, for $1.88/lb.
To be easy, I began the "preparations" early in the day. When you're using garden vegetables, "preparation" includes digging, picking and washing those vegetables. If you've only ever used supermarket produce, you may not be aware of just how dirty vegetables can be, fresh from the garden. Garden potatoes can be filthy! Anyways, I dug potatoes and picked the rest of the vegetables just after noon. Cleaning them was done in spurts between loads of laundry. I also seasoned the ground beef (with onion powder, garlic granules, salt and ground chipotle pepper), at this time, formed into patties and kept in the fridge for the rest of the afternoon.
Outside, a fire was built in the fire ring, making the logs as level as possible to provide a surface for the foil packets. At first, we just placed the packets onto the burning logs. Two of the packets began to develop holes. So, we placed the BBQ grill over part of the logs, and moved the packets to the grill. (The torn packets were placed on a small baking pan, to prevent veggies from falling out and into the fire.)
Quite delicious! And very little clean-up for me.
A couple of tips--
- if using a fire ring, a BBQ grill placed on top of the logs works well, with or without a baking pan
- heavy-duty foil fared better than lighter-weight foil. The 2 packets which tore were from well-worn thin foil
- we loaded the chopped potatoes onto the bottom, for best cooking close to the heat, then the rest of the veggies, and finally the meat patties, to drip their savory juices onto the vegetables.