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Grilling foil packets make for easy cleanup

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

I think I would enjoy cooking more if I never had to clean up afterward – a nice segue into foil packet grilling. When I was young, my mother would prepare food in foil packets when we were camping. What a great idea! The food inside of the packet stays moist when cooked, and the cleanup is as easy as packing the foil in a ball and shooting it into the recycling bin.

I should also mention that foil grilling is healthy, especially when using lean protein sources and plenty of vegetables.

Before sharing some recipes, I should explain how to make a foil packet for the grill. Begin by purchasing heavy-duty foil, not the wimpy stuff, as you don’t want to lose your dinner to the coals. Arrange your food on the foil with nonstick spray to prevent sticking, then top with spices, dressing, etc. Bringing the two long sides together, fold foil over the food, then fold and crimp the remaining sides. Allow a little space in your foil packet as this lets your food cook nicely through steaming. Place foil packet on indirect heat. Get creative with your choice of ingredients, but the food items in the packet should require the same cooking time. For example, a thickly cut carrot will need more time than a slice of zucchini. Enjoy foil grilling, and as my kids would say, the cleanup is “easy-peasy-lemon-squeezie!”

Grilled Cheesy Vegetable Packs

3 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 small beets, scrubbed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ pound baby carrots

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup light Italian dressing

½ cup 2 percent shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 lime, cut into quarters

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Toss vegetables with dressing. Spoon vegetables evenly on center of 4 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bring up both sides, double fold top and ends to seal packet; leaving room for heat circulation inside.

Place packets on grate of grill, cover and grill 20 minutes. Remove packets from grill. Open carefully, add 2 tablespoons of cheese to each packet and reseal. Just before serving, open packets and sprinkle each packet with 2 teaspoons cilantro and squeeze juice of lime quarter.

Makes 4 servings; 1 cup each. Per serving: 190 calories, 6 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 5 g fiber, 730 mg sodium, 15 percent calcium.

Barbecued Chicken Packet

1 small boneless skinless chicken breast 

1 pineapple ring and 1 green pepper ring

1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

Heat grill to medium heat. Place chicken in center of foil and top with remaining ingredients. Make a sealed foil packet. Grill 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Makes one serving. Per serving: 170 calories, 3 g fat, 280 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 25 g protein.

Fruity Fish Foil Packs

2 (6-ounce) fish fillets such as tilapia or cod

½ cup pineapple or mango salsa

¼ cup sliced red onion

Preheat grill to medium heat. Place fish fillets side by side in center of foil sprayed with nonstick spray. Top fish evenly with salsa and onion. Fold and create a well-sealed packet. Grill approximately 15 minutes until fish is cooked through. Use extra salsa if desired. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 204 calories, 3 g fat, 358 mg sodium, 10.5 g carbohydrate, .5 g fiber, 34 g protein.

–Recipe from “Hungry Girl”

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