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Foil Packet Suppers
Credit: kdow/Getty Images

Foil packet suppers may be "in" right now, but creative cooks were making these long before they became trendy. Sometimes called hobos, moms like making these for a number of reasons: you cook exactly how many you need, it is a thrifty way to use up fruit or vegetables, and there is very little mess and cleanup. The family likes hobos because they are delicious and fun to eat: spread a tablecloth or newspapers on the floor in front of the TV and turn a regular weeknight supper into a meal and movies. Once you get the hang of it, hobos are so easy you don't even need a recipe, but, to get your started, check out this lineup of creative foil packet dinners. Keep these tips in mind when creating your own hobos.

Use Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil

To prevent tears and leaks while cooking, it is best to use heavy-duty foil instead of the regular strength. Tear off as many squares as you will need for the foil packets.

Prep

There is such an abundance and variety of fresh produce during the summer season, you can use your imagination when deciding how to mix an match your ingredients. Peel and cut the vegetables (and fruits) you will be using. Don't cut them too thick or they will still be crunchy when the meat is ready. Next, prepare your protein. Form the meat patties, skin the chicken, wash the fish – you can even do this in advance and store in the fridge in a zip-top bag with a flavorful marinade.

Assemble

To assemble the foil packets, season your meat or fish and lay it on the foil, then surround and top it with your vegetables or fruit. Season again if you want, then tightly close the packet. Take the sides and pull them even with each other and fold, don't just roll or scrunch, down to the center. You don't want the juices to leak out. Then fold the ends toward the center, making sure that the food stays together in the center of the packet.

Foil packets can be cooked in the oven or on the grill. When ready, each person can open their own packets and dig in – you don't even have to remove the food from the foil. At the end of the meal, simply toss the foil and clean up your prep station. Mealtime doesn't get any easier than that!

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Use your imagination when choosing your protein, vegetables, and fruits. Go light with salmon, summer squash, and matchstick carrots. For a Hawaiian flavor, use chicken and pineapple slices.