Okay, people…Here’s a little informal survey for you:
If you live in a big city, raise your hand. If you rarely leave the Big City, stand up and raise your hand higher. If you sometimes feel like you just want to get away from the people, the cars, the noise, the craziness, jump up and down and wave your hands wildly. Now stop, take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine blue sky, tall trees, a crackling fire, fresh, pine-scented air, and pretty much SILENCE…nobody and nothing to pressure or bother you. Just you in nature. 360 degrees of nature.
Our family absolutely LOVES to escape the city. We’re fortunate to live at the base of some pretty amazing mountains, so once a week or more, we head for the hills. In less than a half hour’s drive from home, we can be hiking, biking or picnicking in the pines and aspens. One of our favorite spots is up Millcreek Canyon, a beautiful, small windy canyon just 15 minutes away. Cell phones don’t work there, and the noise and bustle of the city completely fade away in minutes.
Of course, when we plan a getaway, even a quick evening one, we’re all about the food. Going up the canyon? What’re we bringing to EAT? Life in our world revolves around food. And it’s gotta be GOOD food, even when we’re camping or hiking. And so, Sarah and I decided to reinvent the humble foil dinner. If you haven’t ever tasted one, you’re in for a treat. If you have, maybe these ideas will open your eyes to a whole new world of fire-roasted foods! Throw out the idea of dry hamburger meat and undercooked carrots and potatoes. Just choose your favorite flavors, chop them up and throw them on the fire. In fifteen minutes, you’ve got yourself a little taste of heaven.
And so, here it is…..drumroll…..TIN FOIL DINNER WEEK! Three different twists on the classic. And the cool thing about these is that you can eat them anywhere! Can’t get away to the mountains this weekend? Slap these babies on the grill for a few minutes. No grill in your city apartment? Crank up the oven for a bit and watch them sizzle. You can turn on the Nature channel and pretend you’re out there in it. Use your imagination. The sky’s the limit…and speaking of sky…look up at it! Isn’t it gorgeous?! Nature. Foil dinners. Life’s pretty good right about now!
- Cooked chicken
- Rice noodles
- Edamame or snow peas
- Bean sprouts
- Green onions
- Red/yellow peppers
- Red Cabbage
- Water chestnuts
- Mandarin oranges
- Fresh pineapple
- Crushed peanuts
- Soy sauce
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- Juice from one lime
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Water to thin sauce (add until desired consistency is reached)
- Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Soak rice noodles in water for about 10 minutes.
- Chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
- Add all peanut sauce ingredients to jar with a lid and shake vigorously until combined. Add water to achieve desired consistency.
- Put all ingredients on the table, hand each person two layers of foil, about 9x13 pan sized. Let them create their own dinners, piling the ingredients they want into the center of the foil. Make sure to add some peanut sauce, so the liquid can help steam everything.
- Fold the foil over the food, making sure to layer so nothing can fall out.
- Place the dinners over hot coals, a hot grill or in 350-degree oven.
- Cook approximately 15 minutes, or until veggies are cooked through and steamy hot.
*Notice we didn't include amounts. You can be creative, depending on how many people you are serving and how many ingredients you have. The peanut sauce recipe makes about one cup, which will feed 4-6 people.
*Make sure to add liquids or fats to foil dinners, so they don't burn or stick to the foil sides.
*Use tongs to take dinners from coals, grill or oven. They will be very hot, so be careful!
*You can eat them right out of the foil. Putting a plate underneath makes this a little easier.