Have you ever cooked food in a packet of aluminum foil? Believe it or not, I had never heard of this until after I had children. I love foil packets, especially in the summer, because the preparation is quick and easy, I can start with fresh ingredients, and clean up is a snap. Foil packets are very versatile because they can be cooked in an oven, on the grill, or on hot coals on a campfire.
To make a foil packet, rip off a large piece of heavy-duty foil big enough to wrap your food and fold down the edges. If you want the food to be more browned, fold the foil flat over your food and flip the packet every 10 minutes while cooking. If you want to steam your food, tent the foil to give enough space above the food for steam to circulate. I recommend using a coating of non-stick cooking spray on the inside of the foil packet before you put food on it.
I typically use foil packets to roast vegetables. When my husband is grilling meat on the back porch, I typically prepare the side dishes in the foil packets.
- Chop your favorite vegetable (asparagus, zucchini, sweet potatoes, broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower, or potatoes) into any size you wish and smash a few cloves of garlic.
- Place veggies in a large plastic bag, add ½ tablespoon of olive oil and shake until coated.
- Place greased veggies toward one side of the foil packet, top with salt and pepper, and wrap it up by pulling the other side of the foil over the veggies.
- Cook on the grill or in a 375 degree oven and flip every 10 minutes until the veggies are cooked (time can range between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on how large you cut the vegetables).
- You can also roast corn on the cob in a foil packet after you remove the outer leaves and the silks and season with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Pecorino Romano cheese, and crushed garlic.
Roasted Whole Buffalo Cauliflower (Ellen’s original recipe):
- Whole raw cauliflower, core removed
- 5 ounces of fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup of buffalo sauce (or more to taste)
- ¼ cup of low-fat blue cheese
Blend yogurt, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese in the blender. Rub the mixture all over the cauliflower. Wrap in a longer piece of foil so you can make a tent shape on top to allow steam to circulate. I used 2 pieces of foil which worked well. Either bake in oven or place on a grill (indirect heat) at 375 degrees for one hour (this was the time for a small cauliflower). Then, uncover and bake or grill for an extra 15 minutes. This causes the cauliflower to steam nicely and not get charred on the top.
Another way people prepare foil packets is to cook meat and/or fish in individualized packets. This works great because each packet can be customized to suit each person’s taste. I love cooking fish in foil packets. Meat, I prefer to cook directly on the grill.
Salmon in Foil Packets
- 1 pound of raw salmon (or other fish)
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
In bowl, mix dill, chives, lemon, tomato, garlic, and Dijon mustard. Place salmon in foil packet and cover in the sauce. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place foil packet on the grill (indirect heat) or bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Cooking times may vary based on the thickness of the fish.
Breakfasts can also be cooked using foil packets. Here is one idea:
- Put ½ cup of fully cooked shredded potatoes on greased foil packet with edges folded up to prevent leaking.
- Add 2 tablespoons of your favorite omelet veggies (chopped)
- Add 2 tablespoons of shredded low-fat cheese (cheddar, feta, blue are all great choices)
- Add 2 ounces of fully cooked lean breakfast sausage chopped
- Pour 1 lightly beaten egg over the mixture
- Cover loosely with foil (like a tent)
- You can either bake foil packet in a 350 degree oven, place on indirect heat on the grill, or place on the hot coals of a campfire for about 15-20 minutes or until the eggs have set.
- If you are camping, you can mix all of your favorite breakfast ingredients in zippered sandwich bag and freeze prior to packing in your cooler.
Let’s not forget about dessert. Here are a couple of sweet ideas:
- Take 2 chocolate flavored graham crackers and put a marshmallow between.
- Wrap in foil packet, place on grill, fire, or in oven for about 5 minutes – flipping once in between.
Healthy Fruit Crumble
- Chop fruit (you can use bananas, peaches, pears, apples, or pineapples.)
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and granola.
- Wrap in foil packet and cook for 10 minutes.
Photo credits: Ellen Stefanie
Photos may not be used without permission.
Originally published on 7/17/14