This weeks easy, healthy, & Cheap family dinners | Foil Packet dinners
One of my favorite time periods of my life was when my parents siblings and I would spend all of our weekends, Spring through Fall, at the campground. Hot days in the sun at the lake, warm fall afternoons climbing trees and reading books, cool evenings catching turtles and frogs, and the chilly nights roasting marshmallows and playing "dark tag"... those where the days. To this day the smell of bonfire, deep woods, or lake water takes me back to when life was so much simpler. Oh, if we could just go back. Back then, foil campfire dinners where one of my favorites. Mom would chop up all sorts of veggies and top it with fish, sausage, chicken, steak, or shrimp. Dad would grill the sealed foil packets until everything was steamed to perfection in all that melted butter and spices, and all of us kids would fight over every last zucchini bite. Life was good.
The goal for these meals (aside from reminiscing my childhood) is to provide quick yet healthy meals for the busy family that may not all have the same schedule. Meals like this are delicious and so so easy to prepare. The should be prepped ahead of time and individually portioned for convenience. Then, simply thrown in the oven for a quick dinner as you need one. You are welcome- I am trying to just make everyone's lives as easy as possible.
These little meals, are awesome. I have 1 week worth of recipes below and each one serves 4. You can pick out your favorite and customize to your liking. OR you can Meal prep all 7 of these bad boys on Sunday & just label with a sharpie and store in the fridge. And trust me, the "label with a sharpie" comment is in bold for a reason. To go ahead and answer your question- I just label mine with what the meal is, what temp to preheat the oven to, and the range of how long to bake it for. (I added the label to the bottom of each recipe to help out.) There is a huge variety in protein, vegetables, and flavors to choose from below, so you can decide what you and your family like best. These are all customization and make life so much easier. You're welcome.
(p.s. Its so funny when you have 7 days and 28 little foil packets worth of meals in your fridge... kinda looks like you robbed a Chipotle at gunpoint lol) Y'all enjoy!
No. 1 Seafood
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Yield: 4
20 littleneck clams (approx 2 lbs)
24 mussles, beards removed (approx 1 lb)
32 uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (approx 2 lbs)
8 large sea scallops
20 "tiny" mixed potatoes ("baby" or "one bite" potatoes- approx 1 lb)
2 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed, cleaned, cut into fourths
20 cherry tomatoes
2 jalapenos, thin sliced and seeds removed (optional)
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
8 tablespoons butter, divided into one tbs sections.
1/2 cup pinot grigio (or more for drinking lol)
3 tbs old bay seasoning
1 tbs spicy creole seasoning
½ cup cilantro, chopped, plus more to serve
2 large lemons, juiced and zested, plus 1 cut into wedges, to serve
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Crusty bread, to serve
Preheat the grill on medium or preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut 4 18×12″ sheets of heavy-duty foil. mix white wine with minced garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, old bay and creole seasoning.
Divide the ingredients into each foil packet: clams (5), shrimp (6), scallops (2), corn (2 quarters), cherry tomatoes (5), jalapeno (1/2), and baby potatoes (5) (quartered if large) among the sheets of foil, piling onto the center of the foil with the scallops and shrimp towards the top. create a "bowl" with each foil packet so liquid wont leak out. Divide the white wine mixture into the 4 packets. Sprinkle each with cilantro, salt, and pepper. Top each with 2 tablespoon of butter, divided.
Seal the packets. Roll or fold the foil down together to seal, leaving a bit of space for the heat and steam to collect and circulate. Then roll up the remaining sides. Your packets should be completely sealed so juices and steam stay in. Place the packets on the grill or in the oven. Grill, or bake, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until your clams have opened, shrimp is pink, scallops are white, and potatos are fork tender. If using the oven, cook in the oven for the same duration. Shake contents of each package and Turn once halfway through. Serve with extra cilantro, lemon wedges, and grilled or toasted bread for dipping.
No. 2 Chicken
LEMON CILANTRO CHICKEN
YIELD: 4 | PREP TIME: 10 MIN | COOK TIME: 20 -25 MIN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 8 small boneless skinless thighs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves minced garlic
1 cup Chopped fresh cilantro
2 lemons, juice and zest, plus 1 sliced for serving
3 tablespoons butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs red chili flakes (optional)
4 zucchini, sliced
1 pound (450g) grape tomatoes, halved
1 lb baby bella mushrooms, halved
1 large bundle of asparagus spears (1 pound)
Pre-heat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Lay four 12×12 inch (30×30 cm) squares of foil out on a flat surface. Trim the flat end of the asparagus at 1-2 inches from the end and discard. Cut the remaining spears in half and divided them between the foil packs. Place zucchini slices in the middle of each piece of foil. Season with salt and pepper, then top with each chicken fillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. top chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, cilantro, lemon juice + zest, red chili flakes, and melted butter. Divide the sauce over each chicken pack and sprinkle with left over crushed chili pepper and chopped cilantro. Fold the foil over the chicken and vegetables to close off the pack, pinch the ends together so the pack stays closed. Transfer the packs to a baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender. Serve immediately and open carefully.
Note: If chicken breasts are too thick, just cut lengthwise to make fillets, they will cook faster
No. 3 Beef
Butter Garlic Herb Steak
Yield 4 | Prep time 15 mins | Cook time 15 mins | Total time 30 mins
1 pound baby red potatoes, cut into quarters
2 carrots, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 green bell pepper, cubed
½ red onion, cut into cubes
1 lb baby bella mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1½ pound top sirloin steak, cut into one inch cubes
Garlic Herb Butter:
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, fine chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, fine chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
DIRECTIONS: Preheat grill to medium or oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl add the red potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and red onion. Add salt and pepper and toss with olive oil. Place four 18x12-inch pieces of heavy aluminum foil on counter. Evenly place vegetable mixture on each piece of foil. Top vegetables with steak. To make the garlic herb butter: In a small bowl add the butter, parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Divide evenly and place on top of the steak. Double fold top and ends of each piece of foil, leaving space for steam to gather. Place packets on the grill and cover. Grill or bake 10- 20 minutes or until steak is cooked as desired and potatos are tender. Carefully open packets and serve.
Notes *I didn't sear the beef before hand and cooked this meal on the grill in tin foil. I do however flip the packets over onto the flame at the very end to give the beef and veggies a slight char.
No. 4 Red Fish
yield: 4 | prep time: 10 min | cook time: 20 min | total time: 30 min
2/3 cup sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon ponzu sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
Juice and zest of 1 lime, plus one lime cut into wedges for serving
1 teaspoon chili paste, more or less to taste
4-5 thai basil leaves, fine chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 pounds salmon, cut into 4 equal portions
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups snap peas
1/2 red bell pepper thin sliced
1/2 green bell pepper thin sliced
2 cups shiitake mushrooms thin sliced
1 cup chunked pineapple
brown or white Instant rice of choice
prepare rice as instructed and set aside. I personally like white sushi grade rice or jasmine rice and i usually use 1 prepared cup per foil packet serving. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To make the sauce, whisk together chili sauce, soy sauce, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, lime juice and zest, basil leaves, brown sugar and chili paste in a small bowl. Place four 18x12-inch pieces of heavy aluminum foil on counter. On each piece, place a scoop of prepared rice, and top with a pile of snap peas, bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, and pineapple. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle of cilantro. Top vegetables with a piece of salmon. Spoon the chili sauce mixture over the 4 pieces of salmon and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Seal each packet completely. Place in into oven and bake until cooked through, 10-20 minutes. (keep in mind, salmon does not have to be fully cooked. I prefer mine cooked medium rare and my vegetables tender but still crisp. i only bake mine for 10 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges. Enjoy <3