Take it Easy on Labor Day - Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 1800's and became an official federal holiday in 1894. It was intended to celebrate the incomparable contribution that American laborers have made to this country. It is also, in many minds, the mark of the end of summer.
The whole point of labor day is to not labor, so don't spend your whole day cooking for friends and family. There are easy menus that will deliver maximum impact and will allow you to enjoy the day along with everyone else.
One way to do this is with aluminum foil. Create food packets, toss them on the grill, steam and enjoy. You are able to get your main course and sides cooked in one fell swoop, with minimum prep and exertion. And clean up is a breeze. Get your guests in on the fun and allow them to create their own packets and save yourself even more work.
Making the packet is super easy; lay a large sheet of heavy-duty foil on a flat surface. Put your ingredients in the middle of the foil. Bring the short sides of the foil together and fold twice to seal; then fold in the sides, leaving room for steam to escape.
Here are some fabulous foil ideas:
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut four 18x12-inch sheets heavy duty foil and spray with cooking spray. In medium microwavable bowl, toss potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoned salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and the oil to coat. Microwave on High 4 minutes or just until potatoes are fork-tender.
Place 1 beef patty and 1/4 cup of the green beans on each sheet of foil; sprinkle patties with remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Top each evenly with potatoes. Wrap each packet securely using double-fold seals, allowing room for heat expansion.
When grill is heated, place packets on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill over medium coals; cover grill. Cook 30 to 40 minutes, turning packets over once halfway through cooking, until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160ºF and potatoes are tender. Be careful when opening packets, steam will escape.
Southwest Pork Chop Foil Packs
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 (18x12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. Spray with cooking spray.
Mix black beans, frozen corn, salsa verde, chili powder and cumin together in small bowl. Sprinkle pork chops with salt; place 1 on center of each sheet of foil. Spoon about 3/4 cup bean mixture around and on top of each pork chop. Top each pork chop with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Bring up 2 sides foil so edges meet. Seal edges, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.
Place packs on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 minutes. Rotate packs 1/2 turn; cook 5 to 8 minutes longer or until pork is no longer pink and meat thermometer inserted in center reads at least 145°F. Remove packs from grill. Carefully open packets, allowing steam to escape. Garnish with lime slices.
Lemon Chicken and Zucchini Foil Packs
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 18x12-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil. Spray with cooking spray. Cut zucchini into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Mix zucchini, thyme leaves, lemon peel and salt together in a small bowl. Place chicken breast on center of each sheet of foil; season with lemon pepper. Spoon zucchini mixture evenly around each chicken breast. Top each chicken breast with 2 lemon slices and 1 T. butter. Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet; seal the edges, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.
Place foil packs on grill over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Rotate the packs 1/2 turn; cook 10 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear (at least 165°F). Remove packs from grill. Carefully fold back foil, and garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.
For more fabulous foil packet recipes go to pillsbury.com.
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