Thursday, October 11, 2012

Foil Dinners

I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)  by Louis Prima & Phil Harris
Girlfriends.  Gal Pals.  Outside of my wonderful family, they are my richest blessings.  I have been a lucky woman indeed!  No matter where we've lived, I've been able to find friends who serve as good examples in all things - thriftiness, home enrichment, creativity, personal growth, charity, community involvement - they "show" me the way I should - and want - to be.  Our time in Washington is no exception.  I am fortunate to call some amazing women "friend."  And today's post is about them.  While sitting around the fire on the beach, I asked which song about friends and friendship I should use for the post.  They suggested James Taylor's "You've Got A Friend" - which, I agree, would be a good one.  But, as I've thought about it since, I've realized that maybe they don't realize just how much I idolize each of them - and how I want to be just like them.

Recently, my friend, Lara, took our little group of friends to her beach house on the Oregon coast.   We've gone to the coast with her before.  We plan crafts, trips to nearby Cannon Beach to visit the cute boutique shops, and we enjoy wonderful food!  But this time I asked if they wouldn't mind helping me with a post for this blog while on our little getaway.  They're all good sports and said "Yes!"  Lara, the queen of great ideas, is the one that came up with the wonderful idea of having a meal on the beach!  

We were all excited about the idea of foil dinners.  We could assemble them at the house and tote them down to the beach along with the fixings for the fire.  Each person talked about what they'd like to include and we had a pretty good idea where we were heading.  On the way to the beach is a Trader Joe's where we stopped and each grabbed a basket and went a little crazy!  Not just for food for the foil dinners, but, you see - these ladies are ladies of extraordinary taste in snacks.  I never eat as well as when I'm in their company!

On the day of the beach dinner, we set about chopping the ingredients for our packets.  We had all sorts of vegetables - onions, zucchini, corn on the cob, red potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, brussel sprouts, carrots - you can have whatever you like!  For some protein we had kielbasa, bay scallops, and shrimp - but you can have chicken or beef or pork.  Actually, I usually use ground beef - it cooks quickly and I don't have to worry about prepping it.

The only thing you need to consider when putting together your foil dinner packets is determining which ingredient will cook the fastest and gauge everything else from there.  Shrimp and scallops cook very quickly - potatoes do not.  So to make my potatoes cook faster I need to cut them into smaller pieces.  You want everything in the packet to get done at the same time.  The things that have a longer cooking time need to be in smaller pieces than those things that cook quickly.  Get it?

We lined the counter at Lara's beach house with bowls brimming with cut up veggies and the kielbasa, scallops, and shrimp.  We formed an assembly line and took a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil that was about 18-24" long, shiny side up (to be on the inside when folded) and started heaping our selections.
You should end up with about 3 - 4 cups of veggies and protein, combined.  Season with salt and pepper and any herbs you'd like, then drizzle with about a tablespoon of  olive oil and dot with about 2 tablespoons of butter.
Carefully pull the sides up and fold down, making 1" folds.  Then repeat with the ends, crimping them up to make a tight seal.
You want to be sure that you don't puncture the packets or else the juices will escape into the fire and your ingredients could end up scorching.

After our packets were assembled and labeled, we put them into our chair back packs, grabbed the totes of wood and kindling and snacks, and walked the past the few houses to the beach!
Sue, Lara, and Ciel
Aren't those chair/backpacks the best?!

We have to breach the sand dunes before we reach the beach.  That's a chore even without a load.  It was a workout!

The tide is out and there's plenty of room for our dinner party!

Lara set right to building the fire.  
It seemed like a fire was up and going in no time at all!
Good job, Lara!

The moon was full and it promised to be an amazing evening!
While waiting for the fire to die down and give us the embers we needed to cook our foil packets, we enjoyed some laughs and delectable edibles.  Remember how I told you these ladies know how to choose snacks?  They started pulling things out of their sacks 
and our pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres ended up being thick slices of pugliese bread with cheese and tomato bruschetta!  Oh my!
Eventually we had enough coals and we tucked our packets on in.
About 15 - 20 minutes later we took a peek and they were done - perfectly!
This was mine - and, may I tell you - It was beyond delicious!!!  

As everyone enjoyed their dinner, you could hear the "Mmmm's" all around the campfire!  
Lara - the hostess with the mostest!

We all agreed that our favorite part were - the brussel sprouts!  We'd cut them into 1/4" slices and they just seemed to make the most of their time inside the foil and were flavorful and cooked perfectly.  Who'da thunk?

Fog rolled in casting an eerie scene around us - the sand almost looking like snowbanks.
As other groups walked by in the distance, their shadows made them look like hooded spectres as they trudged through the deep sand.  Spooky!

We closed down the beach that night.  With the help of that moon, though, we made our way safely back to the beach house and our cozy beds.

These ladies are three of the reasons I love Washington so much!  
They are each extremely talented and capable - and, between us all, I don't think there's anything we couldn't do.  

Now, to make foil dinners you don't need to go to the beach - or go camping.  You don't even have to leave the house!  They're a great idea for a dinner party, letting everyone create their own and then putting them into a 350 degree oven to bake.  Your kids will LOVE this idea, I promise!

Foil Dinners
Various cut up vegetables
Pieces of protein, such as:
Beef, ground or cubes
Bacon, Yum!
Olive Oil

Each foil dinner should have 3 - 4 cups of ingredients wrapped up in a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil about 18 - 24" long.  Fold up ends to seal so juices don't leak, making your dinner dry and prone to scorching.  Bake in a 350 degree oven or nestle the packets into coals in a fire.  Or you can even place them inside of a Dutch oven.  Check after 15 minutes - or when you start smelling the enticing aroma!


  1. I love this post...just as I love you three also!! The pictures turned out terrific!! Sue P

  2. Thanks, Sue! We are a lucky group of ladies, for sure!

  3. What a great reminder of how wonderful our weekend at the beach truly was....friends, fires and food just go together and warm us up from the inside out. Thank you!!!


    1. So true, Ciel! Glad you enjoyed the post!

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