Keeping your summer cool with chili cheese burgers and fries foil packs…
We all love the summer months with all their sunshine and warm temperatures. It is a time when we want to escape the heat of the kitchen and aim to spend as much time outside as we can. If we are lucky enough some of us will have cottages to escape to, or maybe some of us enjoy camping.
Cooking on our outdoor grills becomes the order of the day, but there is no reason for it to be boring, messy or fussy. Foil packs are the way to go. They are simple to put together, simple to cook, and there is little or no clean up involved afterwards! What’s not to love about that!
They are also completely portable. You can either put them together in the comfort of your own home, ready for transport and then throwing onto the grill when you reach your destination, or you can easily assemble all the ingredients on-site once you get there.
For those of you who don’t have an outdoor grill and are not afraid of heating up the kitchen for a short, you can even cook them simply indoors on a baking sheet in your oven.
The recipe I am sharing with you today is one of our favorites. We love Cheeseburgers and Fries. Don’t you? This is a delicious version on that same theme, except these are baked in a foil pack and given a deliciously spicy twist!
Prepping the Turkey Meat
We are eating a lot less red meat in our house these days and, more often than not, I will opt for ground turkey to make my burgers. Turkey is a nutritional powerhouse and has the well-deserved reputation of being recognized as a superfood.
It is one of the leanest meat proteins and is highly nutritious, low in fat, inexpensive and very versatile as you will see. Personally, I think it is more delicious than red meat and I like to use it whenever I can.
How to Handle Turkey Meat Safely
You do need to follow a few safety rules when using turkey, as you would when handling any poultry. Cross-contamination can be a problem which you will want to avoid. There are four simple words that cover this. Clean. Separate. Cook. Chill.
make sure you wash your hands and kitchen tools well after handling poultry thoroughly in hot soapy water. This means knives, kitchen scissors, cutting surfaces, utensils, hands, etc. You should never use a cutting board for anything else after having had poultry on it. I actually have a cutting board which is used only for poultry and I bleach it in between uses.
Avoid cross-contaminating foods. This can easily be done by keeping all of your meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from other fresh ingredients in your grocery cart, shopping bags, kitchen and refrigerator. I always store my poultry on the bottom shelf of my fridge so that none of the juices from it can drip down and contaminate anything else.
As I have stated previously, separate cutting boards also go a long way towards preventing cross-contamination. You can even buy special cutting board sets these days which are colour coded to help with this.
There is no need to wash or rinse poultry in the sink these days. Doing so can splash bacteria around your kitchen and sink area, increasing the risk of cross-contamination. Bacteria in raw meats and poultry can only be killed by cooking it to a certain temperature.
Poultry should be cooked thoroughly. All poultry products, including ground poultry, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165*F, and cooked poultry should be refrigerated no more than two hours after cooking. All juices should run clear and not be tinged with pink.
Always pick up your poultry the last thing when you are doing your shopping, just before heading to the checkout. I always double bag my poultry, using those see-through vegetable bags that you can pick up in the produce aisles. The clerk will still be able to scan it and it keeps it from contaminating anything else in the cart. Refrigerate it as soon as you get it home.
Don’t thaw frozen poultry on the countertop overnight. Always thaw it in the refrigerator. Make sure it is thoroughly thawed before cooking it. And keep it refrigerated up until just prior to cooking. Likewise, marinate it in the refrigerator and throw out any leftover marinades afterward.
Prepping the Burger Mix
The Turkey Burgers that I am using in these foil packs today are absolutely filled with lovely flavors. Finely chopped spring onions and shallots, as well as fresh cilantro are a trinity of beautiful flavours. I like to chop the onions and shallots as finely as I can using a sharp knife (such as one of the gyuto knives I recently wrote about).
A handy tip for chopping soft herbs such as cilantro and parsley is to pop them into a glass and cut down into them with a set of sharp kitchen scissors. Works a charm! It’s simple to do and you end up with perfectly chopped herbs.
Along with chopped spring onions, shallots and cilantro these tasty burgers use a mix of both onion and garlic powders. Make sure you use the pure powders and not the salts, as there is also some seasoning salt in the mix, along with some black pepper and Ancho Chili Paste, for extra zip!
These all get mixed into the ground turkey. I use lean ground turkey breast meat, but you can use a mix of thigh and breast if you want. I mix it in with a fork rather than my hands, but that is a personal thing. You can use your hands also, so long as you wash them thoroughly afterward, and I do anyways, even using a fork.
Shaping the Burger Patties
Once you have everything mixed in evenly throughout, you will want to shape your turkey into patties. To do this, I divide it into four equal portions and shape them into balls, each one being about the size of a tennis ball.
Its very easy then to just flatten the balls into patties. Each will be roughly the same size, shape and thickness (1/2 inch thick is ideal). You also can buy gadgets that can help to shape your patties if you are a bit squeamish about doing it yourself.
Assembling the Foil Packets
Once you have your patties shaped you can go about assembling the foil packets. You will need four sheets of heavy-duty aluminium foil, each being 12 by 18 inches in size. I like to spray them with some low-fat-non-stick cooking spray, but again that is a personal choice. You could also butter them if you wanted to or dob on a bit of oil. You don’t want the patties or any other ingredients to stick to the foil when cooking, so oiling the foil helps to prevent this.
Place a turkey burger patty into the centre of each sheet of foil. On top of each patty, I spread about ¼ cup of vegetarian chili. You can use your own favorite brand, or even refried beans if you would prefer.
This gets topped with a portion of shoe-string French fried potatoes. I get the ones from the chiller section at the store that come with a seasoning packet you shake them in a bag with for even more flavor.
Finally, on top of the fries, you sprinkle on a portion of grated cheese. I use a mix of grated pepper-jack and strong-cheddar. So delicious!
Ready to Grill!
Once you have the burgers assembled on each foil sheet you will want to seal in all that goodness. Bring up the two long sides to meet over top of each and fold them shut and then pinch together both sides, so that the burgers and their toppings are totally enclosed. You will want to make sure that you have left plenty of room for the air to circulate around them.
And that’s that! Your Cheeseburger & Fries Foil Packets are now ready to go. Ready to pop onto the grill or into the oven and cooked to perfection.
Everyone’s a winner! Tender, moist and flavor-filled turkey burgers topped with chili, crisp fries and melted cheese. Just bang the cooked foil packets onto serving plates. I cut an X into the top of each packet for spreading open for eating.
I also like to garnish them with a bit more cheese and some additional chopped green onions for even more flavor and to dress them up a tiny bit. With a tasty salad on the side, you can’t go wrong!
A deliciously simple dinner with no fuss, no muss, and no cleanup! You can’t get much better than that!
Turkey Chili Cheese Burger and Fries Foil Packs Recipe
Something a tiny bit different than the usual foil packets. All the flavours of a nicely spiced Chili Cheeseburger and Fries, but grilled in individual foil packets. Using ground turkey and a good vegetarian chili makes it a bit healthier. You can get all the ingredients together at home and pack individually ready to take to your campsite and assemble when you get there. The perfect Al Fresco meal for entertaining. Let everyone assemble their own packets and then crack open some cold drinks while they cook on the grill. All you need on the side is a salad or two to complete the meal! Your family is sure to love these.
For the turkey burger mixture:
- 1-pound lean ground turkey breast
- 4 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp unsalted garlic powder
- 1 tsp unsalted onion powder
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp chipotle chili paste
For the foil packets:
- 1 ½ cups of skinny fries
- 1 cup of vegetarian chili
- 1 ½ cups grated cheese (a mix of pepper jack and cheddar is nice)
- 4 sheets of strong non-stick aluminum foil (18 X 12-inches)
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped (to serve)
- 4 TBS extra cheese (to serve)
- First, make your turkey burger mixture. Tip all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well together with a fork or your hands. Divide into 4 equal amounts, shape into 4 balls and then flatten to ½ inch in thickness.
- Lightly spray your sheets of foil with some cooking spray. Place one turkey patty in the centre of each sheet of foil. Top each with ¼ cup of the chili, ¼ of the fries and ¼ of the cheese.
- Bring up 2 sides of the foil so that the edges meet over the top of the burgers. Fold together tightly to make a loose tent above the burgers. Fold each end in to seal tightly. Take care to leave plenty of space so that the air can circulate around the burgers.
You can cook these several ways:
- If you are using the oven, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place all the packets onto a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the patties are cooked through. The temperature of the turkey patty should read 165°F when cooked properly.
- If you are using the outdoor grill, place the packets on top of the grill rack, over medium heat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate 180° and cook for a further 9 to 10 minutes longer. Again, the temperature of the turkey patty should read 165°F.
- (Optional) Garnish with extra cheese and spring onions.
Complete steps in pictures:
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Marie Rayner is a Canadian, who moved over to the UK and began a new life in the year 2000. At the age of 45 she decided she needed a career change and went back to College to take a Chef’s course, after which she worked as a Personel Chef for a number of years.