Sheet pans serve up fuss-free dinners

Every family needs a few low-key and fuss-free dinner ideas. And it is possible when you utilize a sheet pan for supper. In a nutshell, you throw everything onto a sheet pan, season it, bake it in the oven, and voila! A homemade meal gets served. The recipe ideas for sheet pan meals are endless. You can customize the ingredients to fit your family’s tastes and food preferences.

The basic sheet pan meal consists of picking a protein, adding vegetables, fat, and flavorings, then roasting at high heat until everything is golden brown. Cut boneless poultry, beef, and pork into equal pieces, allowing for more even cooking. Also, select similar-sized chicken strips, pork chops, shrimp, and fish fillets. These tips will help keep your protein choices juicy and flavorful. When you oven-fry bone-in chicken or pork, make sure to dry the meat with a paper towel before adding the flour seasonings. Remove as much dampness as possible to give you more of the crunch you crave with fried-like foods.

Vegetables add color, texture, and good nutrition to your meal. Root vegetables like baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash are at their best when roasted. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, summer squash, onions, cauliflower, and all pepper varieties also hold up well to the high heat. Prepare your produce into even halves or cubes for more even cooking times.

Vegetarian? Bypass the protein all together and enjoy a medley of vegetables on a sheet pan. Toss your favorite vegetables with oil and spices, and use your hands to mix well. Spread the vegetables onto your sheet pan and bake at 425 F for 30-45 minutes, stirring around halfway through so they can get crispy on both sides. Pair roasted vegetables with any protein cooked your favorite way or add them atop noodles or rice.

Since sheet pan recipes call for high heat cooking, the best oils for flavoring are avocado, canola, olive oil, and sesame oil. You can prevent the warping of your baking sheet by uniformly covering the pan’s surface with food and heating the pan gradually. Add extra protection to the pan’s surface with a layer of parchment paper.

Pull out your sheet pan and give oven-fried chicken and potatoes or a vegetable medley a try. And then pull up your chair to the family dinner table. No matter how dinner gets on the table, it’s all about those around it.

Oven-Fried Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken leg quarters
  • ⅓ cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt (halved)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 cups baby potatoes (halved or quartered)

Instructions

  • Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle position—Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry. (Don’t skimp on patting the chicken dry!)
  • Combine the pepper, garlic powder, paprika, half the salt, and flour in a bowl. Whisk.
  • Add in the chicken and coat evenly. Arrange chicken, skin side up on the pan.
  • Bake just the chicken for 20 minutes.
  • While the chicken bakes, prepare the potatoes and carrots.
  • Add cut potatoes and carrots to a bowl and toss with the olive oil and the remaining salt.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and turn, adding the seasoned vegetables to the sheet pan.
  • Bake for another 20 minutes, remove the pan, turn the chicken, and stir the vegetables. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until chicken reaches 165F, and potatoes slide off a fork. The total cook time will depend on the chicken’s size and may take up to 1 hour. If the chicken or the vegetables get done first, remove them from the pan and continue to cook the items left.

Sheet Pan Vegetable Medley

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • 1 ½ cups sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts (halved)
  • 2 cups purple or Yukon potatoes (halved or quartered)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, mustard, vinegar, thyme, salt, pepper, rosemary, and basil, and whisk. Add chopped cauliflower, Brussels, and potatoes, stirring with clean hands to coat.
  • Spread vegetable mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir gently, then bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Ready when potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

Report

Written by Rebecca Turner

Rebecca Turner provides no-nonsense nutrition advice to a statewide and national audience through print, TV, and radio. She is the author of two books: Mind Over Fork and Enjoy Good Health. Lending her talents to Mississippi Public Broadcasting's healthy eating show, Fit to Eat, airing on the Create Channel nationwide, and the Emmy Award-winning children's show, Ed Said. She also appears as a wellness expert on local news and creates nutrition-based features for Today in Mississippi, Mississippi Christian Living Magazine, and national publications. On weekdays, she hosts a statewide talk radio show, Good Things with Rebecca Turner, on SuperTalk Mississippi.

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