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Healthy and fun: campfire cooking the MyPlate Way

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:03 a.m. CDT

It’s Memorial Day weekend — time for sunshine, swimming, grilling and camping. It’s important at mealtime that you consume a variety of foods from all the food groups. Using the MyPlate method makes sure that one-fourth of your plate is a lean protein, one-fourth is a grain and at least half your plate is made up of vegetables and fruit.

Using foil packets to grill or heat on a campfire is an easy way to ensure you and your family are eating a balanced meal and the clean-up is a snap. There is no need for plates; all you need is foil and a fork.

Your family can personalize their foil packs by choosing their own ingredients. Combine ground beef, rice, beans, peppers and cheese for a Southwestern meal, or tilapia and summertime vegetables for a light meal. Make a side by combining potatoes, vegetables and seasonings.

Don’t forget dessert; a sweet combination of diced pound cake, fruit, brown sugar and cinnamon is sure to please everyone. Make your foil packs ahead of time, throw them in the cooler and they will be ready to throw on the coals at meal time. Here are some foil pack cooking tips:

Use heavy-duty foil. You don’t want the foil to rip and have ashes get in and your dinner leak out. If you use regular foil, double up on the sheets. If your food is heavy and/or you plan to eat directly from the pack, it’s a good idea to double up even on the heavy-duty sheets.

Spray the side of the foil on which you’re going to place the food with cooking spray before you add your ingredients and seal it up.

When placing your ingredients on the sheet of foil, place the meat on the bottom as it takes the longest to cook.

Cook your foil packet on the fire’s coals, not in the fire itself. Ideally, you want to place the packet on a bed of coals about two inches thick.

Hard, raw vegetables like carrots and potatoes require a longer cooking time.

When cooking meat, include high-moisture veggies like tomatoes and onions. This will keep the meat from drying out.

Cooking times will depend on how hot the fire is and the kind of food in the packet. Flip the packets over a few times during cooking, and open and check on how the food is progressing from time to time.

When it’s finished cooking, open your foil packet carefully, as it’s full of hot steam!

BBQ Chicken and Cheddar Foil Packs

Makes 4 servings Cook time: 37 minutes

4 tablespoons barbeque sauce, divided

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound)

2 small unpeeled red potatoes, thinly sliced

1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 green onion, finely chopped, divided

Salt & black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cups shredded 2% cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a foil sheet, approximately on a work surface. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon about 1-½ tbsp. barbecue sauce in the center of the foil sheet. Place one chicken breast half over barbecue sauce, and spread another 1-½ tbsp. of sauce over chicken. Top with a quarter of the potato, bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper.

Fold foil in half to cover contents; make narrow folds along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients to assemble 3 more packets. Place packets on grill or over campfire for 30-35 minutes.

Open foil packets with scissors and carefully pull back edges (contents may be very hot). Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the top of each chicken breast half and return to grill or campfire, unsealed, for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Nutritional Facts

Calories: 290, Total Fat: 4.5 g, Saturated Fat: 2.5 g, Cholesterol: 75 mg, Sodium: 630 mgCalcium: 20% Daily ValueProtein: 38 g, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g

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