Kara Kimbrough

Published 4:04 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

By Kara Kimbrough
Ordinarily, I will entertain an alternate train of thought…but on this topic, I stand first. One of – if
not THE – worst parts of cooking is dealing with the pile of dirty pots and pans that multiply
during and after the cooking process. Inevitably, the sink is piled high with large objects to wash,
no matter how simple the meal. Here’s a simple solution: tear off some aluminum foil, pile
ingredients on top and place in the oven or on the grill. Voila! No dishes to wash!
You’ve heard of “one pan” meals? How about “no pan” dinners, courtesy of foil that can be
wrapped up and thrown in the trash once cooking is done. Another benefit of no pan dinners-
they can be prepared the night before, refrigerated and baked or grilled 30-40 minutes before
dinner is served.
Here are recipes for three of my favorite no pan dinners. All you have to do is roll out the foil,
pile on your favorite ingredients, bake and enjoy a "dish-free" evening.
Beef and Potatoes Dinner
1-pound lean ground beef
1 package dry onion soup mix
4 small potatoes peeled and sliced
2 cups carrots chopped
1 large or 2 small onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream of mushroom soup
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ground beef and dry soup mix in a bowl. Form into four
patties and set aside. In a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients except mushroom soup.
Toss until well mixed.
Spray 4 large pieces of foil with non-stick spray. Place ¼ of the vegetable mixture in the center
of the foil. Top with one beef patty. Add two tablespoons of condensed mushroom soup on top
of each patty. Repeat the same layers on 3 additional foil sheets.

Wrap foil around ingredients, leaving space at the top for heat to circulate. Double fold the
edges and crimp to seal. Also double fold and crimp ends. Place beef side up on a large baking
sheet and bake 35-45 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
Note: These foil packs can also be grilled at medium heat for about 45 minutes or until potatoes
are tender and ground beef reaches 160 degrees.
5-6 fish filets (tilapia or redfish or your favorite fish)
1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
1 large baking potato, sliced thin
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup lemon
Tony Chacherie’s seasoning
Mix oil and lemon juice together in a shaker. Take a large sheet of foil, spray lightly with cooking
spray and place 2-3 place filets on foil, directly in center. Sprinkle with seasoning, then top with
a layer of potatoes and then onions; pour a portion of oil/lemon mixture over layers. Repeat
same thing with additional foil sheets. Wrap foil around ingredients, leaving space at the top of
food for heat to circulate. Double fold the edges and crimp to seal. Double fold and crimp ends
as well. Place packets on large baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until
Makes 2-3 servings; double recipe as needed.
Winner Chicken Dinner
1 pound chicken tenderloins or sliced chicken breasts
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound gold potatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
Salt and pepper, as needed

Measure 4 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil to about 18 inches. Spray with nonstick cooking
spray. Layer chicken and veggies in a mound into the center of each sheet of foil, dividing
ingredients evenly between all 4 sheets. Top with cubes of butter (1 tablespoon for each sheet
of foil) and fresh herbs. Season heavily with salt and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each
Fold edges of foil over and crimp top edges and sides tightly to seal. If cooking on grill or fire,
consider double wrapping to prevent tears in foil.
To cook in oven:
Preheat oven to 400°F and cook for 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and veggies are
Carefully open up foil packets as the steam inside is very hot. You can eat straight out of the foil
or dump contents onto a plate.
To cook on grill:
Preheat grill to medium heat, about 400° and cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until
meat is cooked through and veggies are soft.
Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer and travel agent from Mississippi. Email her at

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