Foil Wrapped Dinner is not a new “who’da-thought?” kind of recipe, to be sure. But after making this one twice in the last week, I’m wondering why I haven’t been making foil dinners all along and all the time. How easy! Just place everything in its own little pocket and roast in the oven, everything inside the foil gets more and more flavorful as the juices and seasonings marry together. And maybe best of all- no pans to scrub, and unless someone was overzealous with a fork or knife- plates stayed clean too. The versatility of foil wrapped dinner is beyond great. Cook in the oven, on the grill, over coals (my camping friends are saying ‘Duh!’). Also, many foil wrapped dinners can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight, if necessary. I’m thinking of everything I can make this way so stay tuned for more. 🙂
I found inspiration from Jessica Hallows’ cookbook “Foiled! Easy, Tasty, Tin Foil Meals. It’s packed with recipes from breakfast to dessert-Pizza to Coconut Shrimp- and everything inbetween. I’ve tried a couple recipes so far, and Sausage and Poatoes Foil Dinner was a great first choice to please everyone in my family. Dave likes less starchy veggies, so his pocket had more green beans than potatoes. Ryan doesn’t eat meat, so his was loaded with veggies. I love it all, so I gave myself a nice helping of everything.
Heavy-Duty aluminum foil is a must to prevent punctures in the oven or on the grill. For this recipe I used two flavors of sausage. How does ‘Whiskey Fennel brat’ sound? It was incredible and so was the spicy ‘Sante Fe sausage’ that I used the second time around. Fresh green beans are excellent because they stay crispy-tender. Red potatoes cook quickly and become buttery-soft. I added some garlic and shallots for extra nutrients and flavor.
Start with a piece of foil about 18″ long and if you can, buy the 18″ wide heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil and then rub it around with a paper towel. Add potatoes first since they take the longest to cook.
Layer your greens and then lay garlic and shallots over the top. Salt and pepper each layer as you go.
You can leave your sausage or brats whole and in the casing, of course. I love to remove the casings when it comes off easily and cut up the sausage into bite-size pieces. More seasonings and juice to go around.
Drizzle the dinners with a little olive oil and then seal them up good before cooking or grilling. Here’s a little info about that:
Pull up the ends of the long sides, hold evenly together and fold down at least 3 times, crimping well to prevent leaking. Then fold up the other ends the same way, folding at least 3 times then pressing to seal well. You want to make sure you have a good seal if you’re cooking on the grill or on top of charcoal because with these methods, you should turn the dinners over at least once for even cooking.
I’m thinking of other recipes I know that can be wrapped in foil just because of the shear ease of prep and application. Like maybe my Mediterranean Shrimp meal, for starters. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, it’s a good one. Even more, I hope you’ll be inspired to try more meals in foil for fun and for easy cleanup. And, this is a great way to let the kids help with dinner.
- 8 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 pound fresh green beans, ends cut
- 1 large shallot, sliced thin
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced or smashed
- 2 to 4 Italian sausage links or Brats, cut into 1-inch pieces (or left whole if desired)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, divided
- Salt and pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil, plus olive oil for drizzling before cooking
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees if cooking inside. If cooking on grill or over coals, see below.
- Lay out 4 sheets of heavy-duty aluminim foil, 18-inches wide, by 18-inches long. Generously mist each foil sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Divide the cut pieces of potatoes among the foil wraps. Distribute the green beans, sliced shallots, and garlic, between the 4 pieces of foil.
- You can add the sausages a few different ways. You could leave them whole and place on top of other ingredients, you could cut off the skins if they remove easily and cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces and distribute, or leave the skins on and cut them and distribute. If you're cutting them up you might not need 4 sausage links, depending on their size or how mean-heavy you want each portion.
- Sprinkle fennel seed over each dinner, add salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
- To make the foil pockets: Pull up the ends of the long sides, hold evenly together and fold down at least 3 times, crimping well to prevent leaking. Then fold up the other ends the same way, folding at least 3 times then pressing to seal well. You want to make sure you have a good seal if you're cooking on the grill or on top of charcoal because with these methods, you should turn the dinners over at least once for even cooking.
- To cook in oven- Place on middle rack and cook for 30-45 minutes. Check potatoes after 30 minutes to determine if additional time is needed.
- To cook on grill- Turn on grill and let it get nice and hot. Place packets on grill for 10-15 minutes. Flip packets over and grill another 10-15 minutes. Check potatoes and if more time is needed, cook and additiona 5-10 minutes.
- To cook on coals- Be sure to be in a well-ventilated area OUTSIDE when using coals. Light 15-20 coals and let them burn until they're white. Place packets on top and cook for 15-20 minutes. Flip over and cook another 15-20 minutes.