I recently posted about how to use much less foil when baking potatoes, and being an indifferent cook and lazy housekeeper, I find myself cooking with foil a great deal.
There are distinct advantages to cooking with foil:
- protects cookware and oven
- makes cookware or oven easy to clean or reduces the need for cleaning
- allows easy wrapping of leftovers for freezing or cooling and storing for later use
- substantially reduces cleanup after cooking
- ensures consistent, even and fairly foolproof cooking
If I’m not actually roasting foods wrapped in foil, I’m always lining my cookware with foil before baking or roasting when feasible or even possible.
When cooking or broiling foods, I line a cookie sheet with foil, making sure it overlaps the edges of the pan to reduce drips leaking under the foil and burning on while cooking. For meats, I then place cooling racks on the foil on a cookie sheet to keep the meat raised from the bottom of the pan. This prevents the meat from cooking in it’s own fats and juices – almost like a makeshift grill.
When making casseroles, meat loaves, etc., I also line the pans with foil, ensuring the side edges are higher than the top of the casserole. Also, if I’m planning on storing or freezing leftovers, I’ll use about 3″ more than double the length of the casserole dish in foil. For cooking, I fold the extra foil closer to the pan. Once everyone has had their fill and I’m ready to clear, I will lift the foil out of the casserole dish as long as it is firm and holds its shape. If the bottom foil in the pan has been damaged while serving, I place a new length of foil beside the pan and lift onto the new foil. I then unroll the excess foil and fold both sheets of foil up and over, securely wrapping it for freezing or storing.
My favorite and most used method of baking or roasting for meals is to use foil pouches. This entire steak dinner was done without the use of pots and pans – and I had very little cleanup!
Materials used include zip lock bags, foil, and a cookie sheet.
Here is the procedure I used:
Using the appropriate size of zip lock bags, insert the peeled, cut and prepped food in separate bags.
For the potatoes, I also add about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (regular canola or vegetable oil are fine) and 1-2 tablespoons in total of the desired spices (see right). Gently massage the potatoes in the securely zipped bag until they are uniformly covered. In this case I used a total of 2 tablespoons of Italian spice blend and paprika in equal parts. These are especially good left over for frying with some onions for another meal.
The carrots are a special treat and I learned this recipe from a dear old friend just after Mark and I were first married. I haven’t been in touch with her for several years, but I still think of her every time I make these carrots.
For the carrots, I add 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch each of salt and pepper instead of the spices and massage in the zip lock bag to coat. These are the best and easiest glazed carrots ever. Sometimes I will add fresh herbs if I have them.
Once the potatoes and carrots are prepped and spiced, lay out two sheets of foil together on the counter. The sheets should be more than twice the length of the food, with 2″ clearance on the sides, so the food will be completely covered for cooking. The two sheets make the bottom of the pouch more secure. Be sure to lightly grease the foil with shortening to avoid sticking and burning. Pour the potatoes onto it’s double layer of foil, leaving about half the length to fold over and cover.
Once covered, fold over about 1/ 2″ at the edges of all foil layers together, then fold the same 1/2″ over once more to secure juices in the pouch.
The pouches can be placed on the BBQ with the steak or placed on a cookie sheet and baked in the oven for at least an hour at 375 degrees until completely cooked.
This was the best and easiest dinner!
BONUS! Carry a good supply of foil (and zip lock bags) and camping becomes much less work intensive!
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