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Fold and Go Meals

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P3567
View as PDF: P3567.pdf

Getting something ready to eat after a long day can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Choose your own ingredients, and “fold and go” by putting the packet in the oven or on the grill for a quick meal in minutes.

Choose Your Fat

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Pesto

Add Protein

  • Skinless, boneless chicken chunks
  • Sliced sausage
  • Shrimp
  • Fish
  • Sliced steak
  • Pork
  • Beans (kidney, black, navy, pinto, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans)
  • Tofu

Veg Out

  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Corn
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Greens

Spice It Up

  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Lemon pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Taco seasoning
  • Italian seasoning

Top It Off

  • Splash of:
    • Worchester
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Wine
    • Lemon/lime juice
    • Lemon/lime slices
    • Soy sauce
    • Sriracha
    • Ketchup
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Stock (veggie, chicken, or beef)
    • Teriyaki
    • Jerk sauce
  • Dry or fresh herbs:
    • Cilantro
    • Parsley
    • Italian seasoning
    • Oregano
    • Basil
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Dill
    • Sage
  • Salsa
  • Cheese

Fold and Go!

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Tear off 12–14 inches of aluminum foil.
  3. Choose your fat to prevent sticking. Use any oil you have at home. Brush or drizzle it onto the foil. Remember, you only need a little bit to avoid sticking.
  4. Add protein. Layer lean protein that is ground or cut into small chunks so that it will cook evenly. Fish and shrimp are great options, too. If you are not a meat-eater, try tofu or use vegetables. Wash your hands after touching raw meats.
  5. Veg out. Next, wash and layer your favorite vegetables. Don’t limit yourself—fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables work great. Tip: If you use firm vegetables like carrots and potatoes, cut them into small pieces. For vegetables like squash and tomatoes, cut into larger chunks. For leafy greens like kale or collards, slice thinly. Gently rub tender produce under cold, running water. Scrub firm produce with a clean vegetable brush under running water.
  6. Spice it up. Don’t stop at salt and pepper. Check your cabinet or pantry and add more layers of flavor. If you use a spice, go for salt-free spices like garlic powder or a salt-free seasoning.
  7. Top it off. Add more flavor with even more toppings.
  8. Fold and go! Now that everything is layered in the center of the foil, fold the two long edges toward one another and crease tightly. Fold and crease each short end to seal tightly.
  9. Cook. For the oven, place foil packs on a cookie or baking sheet. Place in the oven at 350ºF for about 30–40 minutes. On a grill, cook on medium-high for about 10–15 minutes, turning halfway through.
  10. Check the temperature of the protein.
  11. Packets will be hot, so you may want to allow them to rest for a few minutes before opening. Transfer to a plate or bowl and enjoy.

Don’t know where to start? Try these combinations!

Each recipe makes about four foil packets.

Cheesy Chicken and Greens

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed

2 cups greens (spinach is a great choice)

½ onion, sliced

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or to taste)

1 cup mozzarella cheese

Bacon Ranch Potatoes

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

7–9 small red potatoes, quartered

½ onion, sliced

1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped or dried

1 cup cheese

Drizzle of olive oil

Add 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts (cubed), tofu, or your favorite beans to add protein.

Philly Cheese Steak

1 pound lean ground beef

2 large potatoes

1 bell pepper (choose your favorite color), chopped into bite-sized pieces

½ onion, diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

½ teaspoon each paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper (or to taste)

Splash of Worchester sauce

Drizzle of ketchup

Drizzle of olive oil

After cooking, place 1 slice of provolone cheese on top and let it melt. If needed, place the pack back in the oven or on the grill for 2–3 minutes until melted.

Barbecue Hamburger and Veggie Delight

1 pound lean ground beef or sausage

5 baby red potatoes OR 2 small/medium
sweet potatoes, quartered

½ onion, sliced

1 can green beans, drained

½ cup corn, fresh, frozen, or canned (drained)

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Drizzle of barbecue sauce

Sweet Potato Tacos

2–3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 can beans (black, pinto, or your favorite bean), drained and rinsed

2 cups leafy greens

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

½ onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

Splash of tomato sauce

After cooking, top with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream, cheese, salsa, avocado or guacamole, olives, and cilantro.


  • Try a veggie packet with a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Enjoy any packet with a cooked whole grain like brown rice, quinoa, or barley.
  • Try a DIY seasoning blend in your packet.

Safe Cooking

Remember, the only way to know food is done is by checking the temperature!


Safe Minimum
Internal Temperature


Beef, pork, veal, and lamb
(roast, steak, and chops)


Let rest for 3 minutes after
removing from the heat source.

Beef, pork, veal, and lamb (ground)



Poultry (whole, parts, or ground)



Eggs and egg dishes


Cook eggs until both the yolk
and the white are firm; scrambled
eggs should not be runny.




Shrimp, lobster, and crab

Flesh pearly and opaque



Milky white, opaque, and firm


Clams, oysters, and mussels

Shells open during cooking


Reheated leftovers



For more food safety information, check out


Publication 3567 (POD-02-24)

By Qula Madkin, Extension Instructor, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion; Jennifer Russell, Extension Agent, Washington County; and Sara Cagle and Sara Talley, Dietetic Interns, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion.

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Extension Instructor
Portrait of Ms. Jennifer Russell
Extension Agent IV*
Child & Family Development Nutrition

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