Thursday, September 27, 2012

Game Day Packet Meals

I am not particularly a sports person but here we are here in full swing of football season. For most people in the South, that means lots of parties, tailgating, and of course a good old fashioned cookout. I tend to partake more in the cooking side of these events than the watching side mostly because I have absolutely no idea whats going on that every one is yelling about. Not good for your nerves.

What is good though is that I have become particularly deft at the art of a packet meal. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, the theory is simple: put food in tin foil and bake, grill or campfire it until cooked. Open and eat. Bam.

Those of you who have done the packet meals, know how easy and delicious they always turn out and when you are cooking for a group of people and you don't want to go the hamburger route, you can't beat the simplicity.

You will need some pretty hefty nonstick foil for all of these recipes to make sure you don't lose food to the floor or the grill. All of these recipes are divided per packet. So you will put one of each into each packet before cooking. If you are making more than one packet (which I assume you are) be sure to gather enough ingredients for all of them before you get started.

The first one is a very basic packet meal. You can add or subtract any of the ingredients to make it your own. It works just as well with a pork chop or ground beef patty as it does chicken. You can even play with spices and flavors until you find one that suits your tastes the best.
The Basic
1 chicken breast
1/2 can of white potatoes
1/2 can of carrots
2oz canned sliced mushrooms
1/2 can stewed tomatoes (drained)
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh rosemary sprig
Dash of paprika

Fold it into a packet with the chicken on the bottom and put on a hot grill, turning every once in awhile for about 30-45 minutes.
The next one is a richer meal. Its bold and beefy and super good on a cool fall night. You can sub the wine for beer and the beef for chicken but the wine/ beef combo is really good.
Burgundy Beef Packet
Thinly sliced beef (pound out a steak or cut it into fajita style strips)
A generous splash of red wine
Pat of butter
A few pearl onions
Some sliced portabella mushrooms
Few slices of sweet potato or julienned carrots

Folded into a packet, cook it on a lower temperature for about half an hour for best taste. If you try to cook it too fast, your veggies won't get done. This is great served with some noodles or rice as well.
Of course no packet meal compilation would be complete with out a fish alternative and this one is guaranteed to knock your socks off.

Packet Tilapia
Tilapia fillet
Thinly sliced lemon
Snow peas or chopped broccoli florets (spinach is also good!)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil or white wine

Be sure to put the lemon on the bottom of the packet an then put the rest in on top. Wrap it all up and cook for about 20 minutes, turning at least once to make sure the fish doesn't dry out.
Of course then there is the pork version. This one is spicy and messy and oh-my-goodness amazing. Its great serves with a little Mexican rice or corn and black bean salsa.
Mexican Pork Packets

4 boneless pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup medium chunky salsa
1 can (15 1/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

Wrap it up and grill it for about half an hour (seeing a pattern here?)
  Of course what better way to top off a delicious packet meal than with an even better packet dessert? You can make desserts just as easily as you made the meals and best of all, it cooks while you eat and then is hot and ready when you're done!
Apple Pie Dumplings (makes 4)
1/2 stick softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
4 cored apples
2 refrigerated pie dough rounds

Mix the butter, sugar, and apple pie spice together and stuff the cored apples with equal amounts of the mixture. Wrap each in 1/2 disk refrigerated pie dough and seal in individual packets. Grill over medium heat, turning a few times, for about 30 minutes.
This one though, this one is my all time favorite packet food. It was a girl scout favorite when I was young and I can vividly remember burning myself on the tastiness from a very young age. I'm going to leave you with this one since you need to be headed to the grocery store for supplies. Right? OK, well after this one this one you will.

Peach Delight
1 can of halved peaches
Mini marshmallows
brown sugar

Stuff the pit area of the halved peaches with mini marshmallows and brown sugar. Top with pecans and wrap up in foil. You can wrap them individaully or in groups of two or three. Place on the grill for about 5 minutes or so until the marshmellows have melted and you have a gooey, sweet ball of awesome to eat with your fork.

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