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Foil Packet Cooking

March 22nd, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Because we don't have an oven or stove top where we are currently living and I don't want to have to constantly be running up to the kitchen in the main house every time I want to cook, I've been trying to make do as much as possible with the microwave and the slow cooker.

One of the benefits of crock pot cooking is of course that you can buy cheaper, tougher cuts of meat and cook them into succulent tenderness. Because our food budget is our biggest expense after our credit card payment, it is the place we are trying to cut back on the most to save money. We are limited in this by my son's food, food dye, additive, and preservative allergies and have to buy a lot of pure, unprocessed foods. This means no casual dumping of cream of something soup or most spice packets in the pot with the meat to make it all easier. Everything has to be from scratch or carefully perused for ingredients that could harm him.

So the last couple of days I have been doing some research into foil packet cooking and/or cooking in layers in the crock pot. There are a ton of foil packet recipes out there, most geared towards either cooking in the coals of a camp fire or on a barbecue grill, some towards cooking in the oven, and a very, very few towards cooking in the slow cooker.

I'm going to attempt to adapt these to use in the slow cooker. I can't imagine anything that could be easier than wrapping up packets of vegetables with some butter or olive oil and seasonings and dumping them in on top of the meat in the crockpot to slowly steam. My only problem is knowing how long to cook the veggies for. I know that root veggies will cook just as long as the meat but I'm more concerned with how things like zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, and yellow summer squash would come out, if they'd end up complete piles of mush if I let them cook for the same amount of time as the meat. After all, I want to save money here, not waste it by making veggies inedible.

So I'm going to be doing a bit of experimenting over the next few weeks to see if I can't come up with something successful, where I maybe put the meat in for ten hours, but three hours from the end of the cooking time I add in the packet of veg. Or maybe just try cooking some different veg in the crock pot and checking it every so often.

Last night at midnight I put a beef chuck roast in the bottom of the crock pot, seasoned it with herbs and then put in enough pierced and foil wrapped potatoes to fill the rest of the pot. I set it for ten hours on low and at ten in the morning it switched over to the warming feature it has, and at noon they were all perfectly cooked. So in practice I can definitely cook meat and potatoes together without ending up with mushy juice covered potatoes. Now, I just need to figure out where I'm going from here. I'll be making my baked potato soup in the slow cooker with the leftover baked potatoes tomorrow. I think I'll attempt fajitas later this week. Sliced and seasoned meat in the bottom and one packet of sliced bell peppers and one packet of sliced onions and see how it works.


4 Responses to “Foil Packet Cooking”

  1. LittleGopher Says:

    I'm a big fan of using the crock pot, and will be following your vegie experiments with interest!

    If you're willing, I'd love your baked potato soup recipe - as long as I was baking some potatoes up the other night, I baked up the rest of the bag (you know how that goes!)

    Good luck on your journey!!

  2. baselle Says:

    I might go for a shorter time with the foil packets. The crockpot is a burly cousin of the steamer. The veg steamer that I have - even with the tough broccoli stems its 20 minutes, tops, or mush.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    Littlegopher--I use this recipe:
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Potato-Soup-I/Detail.aspx only I use butter instead of margarine, cut the bacon in half, and use skim milk instead of whole. I also use only 6 ounces of cheese but make it extra sharp white cheddar. This is not a particularly frugal recipe, though, so I don't make it too often.

    Baselle--Thanks. I'll try putting them in a lot closer to the end of cooking time then and see how it goes.

  4. LittleGopher Says:

    Sounds delicious - thank you!!

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