HAPPY LABOR DAY!
Once again, the last long weekend of summer has arrived. Here in Canada, families with school age children, take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Others enjoy the company of family and friends at barbecues, picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. Canadian football fans may spend a large portion of their weekend watching the Labor Day Classic matches live on television. Whatever your choice of relaxation is, you know good food will be a part of the holiday.
If you’re barbecuing, some hobo packs might just be perfect. Each packet can be prepared individually or collectively so even the pickiest eater can be accommodated. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with outdoor cooking, you can always cook indoors in your oven & there’s minimal clean-up afterward either way.
Essentially a ‘hobo’ pack is a bundle of cut-up ingredients wrapped up in foil and cooked over the coals of a campfire.
Although, foil pack meals seem like the new summer go-to dinner, creative cooks were making these long before they became trendy. Depending on your eating habits, taste preferences and ingredients on hand, you can make any combination of flavors.
During the depression, many people were homeless and lived in encampments. They were known as Hobos. Whatever food they could find, whether it was wild caught, wild grown, in the trash, or given from a neighbor, they would cook all the food over the fire. Because they were hungry, they would use even the peelings of vegetables that others would throw away. Being resourceful was their survival. I am sure that is where we get the term ‘Hobo Dinner’, because it is comprised of simple ingredients that are cooked together.
Whether you call them meals in foil, zip packs, hobo bundles, or some other name, meals in foil are easy and unmessy, camp-style cooking in your own backyard (or kitchen).
Baked Shrimp & Broccoli 'Hobo' Packs
Cut 2 sheets of 14 by 12-inch (35 x 30 cm) heavy-duty aluminum foil then lay each piece separately on the countertop. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the spice mix: Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, & smoked paprika & powdered vegetable or chicken stock.
In a shallow plate, add shrimp; sprinkle with the spice mix, coating on all sides. Divide shrimp onto the aluminum foil near the center then place broccoli florets to one side of the shrimp.
Add garlic over broccoli & shrimp, then sprinkle with lemon juice, red crushed chili pepper flakes (if using) and finish with salt and pepper. Divide butter pieces evenly among the shrimp foil packets, layering them over the shrimp & broccoli.
Add a tablespoon of vegetable stock in each foil packet & wrap packets in; crimp edges together then wrap ends up. Don’t wrap too tight – keep a little extra space inside for heat to circulate.
Transfer to a baking sheet & bake shrimp foil packets in the oven, sealed side upward until shrimps have cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Carefully unwrap the baked shrimp & broccoli foil packets then garnish with fresh parsley and a slice of lemon.
- Brion & I found some roasted cherry tomatoes were especially good with this meal. After drizzling the tomatoes with Golden Italian Dressing, I roasted them on their own in the same oven as the hobo packs were baking.