Foil meals
Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune/TNS

My niece Marcella and I have spent many hours in the kitchen experimenting with recipe ideas. I haven’t been to visit her in Arkansas in quite a while, but we still “talk” recipes.

After her husband, Roger, retired, he started cooking, and I know they are really enjoying this special time together. I can just imagine their creative minds working on all kinds of recipes, including the following “bundle lunches.”

Both Marcella and I enjoy looking through old recipe boxes. She was excited when I told her that I have four recipe boxes packed full of old recipes that she hasn’t seen.

She and Roger are coming for a visit in a few weeks, so we will probably be burning the midnight oil hoping to find interesting recipes for them to test and for me to share in this column.

The following recipe for steak bundles sounds like a “man’s favorite.” You seldom see a man turn down steak and potatoes. The onions and bell peppers add another layer of flavor.

It is surprising to see the following recipe for cabbage and sausage bundles instructs cooks to put a cube of ice in each serving. According to Marcella, the ice provides just the perfect amount of liquid needed for this tasty lunch treat.

When asked about the origin of these recipes, Marcella said she thought she had heard about some of the foil-wrapped bundles on Facebook, but she usually likes to add her own touch.

STEAK AND POTATOES FOIL BUNDLES

  • 2 to 2½ pounds top sirloin steak, fat trimmed and cut in 2½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound baby yellow potatoes, washed, quartered or cut in half (Yukon gold would be my choice)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper

Spray four 12x12-inch sheets of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix well. Divide into four servings and put each serving on a sheet of foil. Seal tightly. Place on grill or in a 425-degree oven and cook 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are tender.

CABBAGE AND SAUSAGE FOIL BUNDLES

  • ½ head cabbage, cut in ½-inch wedges
  • About 20 small potatoes, washed and quartered
  • Small onion, sliced
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons garlic butter (commercially made or make your own)
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Cavender’s Greek seasoning, if desired
  • 1 pound Polish sausage, cut in 1-inch slices

Spray four 18x12-inch sheets of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Divide cabbage, potatoes and onions equally on each sheet of foil. Top each serving with 1 to 2 tablespoons garlic butter. Add 1 ice cube to each serving and sprinkle with salt and pepper (and Cavender’s, if using). Add sausage and seal the bundles tightly. Grill or cook in a 425-degree oven for about 35 minutes.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at prudencehilburn@aol.com.