Foil packet dinners are a busy mom’s best friend.
Between swimming lessons, dance classes, homework, laundry, soccer practice and ukulele lessons, I often find little to no time for meal prep, let alone meal planning. Then I was introduced to the one-pan meal culture; more specifically, foil packet dinners. And just like that, my whole food world was changed forever.
I discovered these one-pan meals about the time my eldest daughter was born and they are a week night go-to dinner for me. Whether you grill them on the BBQ or throw them in the oven, they are a 30 minute meal in a flash. I also find that they are a tasty, fast and fresh way to get my family eating healthier. I try to avoid fast food options and throw whatever vegetables I have in the fridge in these easy, breezy foil packets. The only thing you need to think about ahead of time is your protein!
While I cannot go wrong with chicken for my family, the options are plentiful with foil packets. You can opt for other proteins and vegetables – the internet is flooded with diverse versions. I often make an Italian-inspired marinade (pictured here) to spice up the flavours of the chicken, but you can use virtually any fresh or dry herb combinations, depending on your family’s palate! I use whatever dry and fresh herbs I have in my pantry at the time.
There is just something about roasted veggies though. I know some people prefer raw or steamed and don’t like the soft texture of roasted vegetables, but the key is not overdoing it. While I love a charred pepper skin, you may want to back off on the cook temp or reduce your cook time, depending on your oven as they can vary. Just always ensure that your chicken breasts are cooked fully through. You can do this easily by cutting into the chicken breast at its thickest part, ensuring there is no pink colour.
I opted to roast my potatoes separately as we like them really crispy and tossed with fresh thyme, but there is nothing stopping you from adding them to your foil packets. Just ensure the potatoes are chopped small enough that they will cook in time as they take the longest to roast.
Here are some tips for success with foil packet recipes in general:
- Try to use chicken breasts that are relatively the same size/weight
- When forming your foil packets, use a heavy grade/heavy duty and good quality aluminum foil to prevent tearing to hold their shape
- Try to add a similar amount of veggies per foil packet. For instance, for this recipe (4 foil packets) I used 4 bell peppers, with each packet receiving about a half of a pepper
- Slice your onions and peppers relatively the same thickness
- If you want crunchier veggies, slice them thicker. Softer? Opt for thinner slices
- If you don’t have time to marinate the chicken ahead, simply toss the breasts in the seasoning and add a few extra spoonfuls per foil packet for extra flavour
- HOTTEST TIP: Try to avoid removing the packets from the oven and checking them too often. When you open the foil packet, the steam/heat is released and it may take longer to fully cook. Having said this, all ovens vary, so it is hard to know precisely when the packets are done. I recommend pulling out just one packet and testing it at the 25-30 minute mark (see if the veggies are tender with a fork and slice then chicken breast to ensure no pink). Simply return the packet to the oven if it's not cooked enough for you
Say so long to dirty dishes and try these one-pan, oven chicken and veg foil packets this week!
Oven Chicken & Veg Foil Packets (serves 4)
Prep and assembly time: 10 minutes
Cook time: approx. 35 minutes
- -4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, relatively same size and weight
- -2 bell peppers, thinly sliced, a half of each pepper per foil packet. We like red, orange and yellow peppers best
- -2 medium red onions, sliced or cut into rings, about half an onion per foil packet
- -1 large broccoli with florets washed and trimmed to approximately similar size, about a quarter of the broccoli in each foil packet
- -1/4 cup olive oil
- -Sea salt and pepper to taste
- -1/4 cup olive oil
- -1 tablespoon minced, fresh garlic
- -2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- -1/2 teaspoon EACH onion powder, dried thyme
- -1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- -Salt and pepper, to taste
- -2 squeezes of fresh lemon juice, about a tablespoon
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
- Trim your chicken breasts so they are relatively the same size/weight. Remove any excess skin or fat (1 breast per foil packet)
- Build your foil packets by tearing off 4 large pieces of aluminum foil and folding the edges so that they can stand up. I use an additional piece of foil to wrap/cover the top of the packet. Get fancy and try making foil bags by watching this video here
- Prep the veggies according to the ingredient descriptions above and try to follow the proportions. See my tips above for more details re: thickness of veggies
- In a large bowl, add the chicken and Italian seasoning/marinade ingredients and mix well. Allow to marinate for an hour if time permits
- In another large bowl, add your veggies, oil and garlic. Toss well
- Set out your 4 foil packets and divide the chicken breasts, 1 per packet
- Using your best judgment, divide the veggies equally amongst the 4 packets, spreading the vegetables around the chicken breast in the centre of your packet
- Seal the packet securely with an additional piece of foil and put them in the oven
- Bake at 425 F for approximately 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, ensuring the veggies are roasted to your liking and that the chicken is cooked through
- Remove the foil packets from the oven and open carefully, allowing the excess steam to escape
- If desired, top with chopped fresh parsley or freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Season with sea salt and pepper (optional) and enjoy!