One-dish dinners are always popular. Sheet pan dinners are becoming even more popular these days. They are quick and easy and are perfect for the hungry bachelor and a friend. A sheet pan dinner puts your protein and side dish together on a single pan, making clean-up much easier. It’s a simple formula. Take a rimmed sheet pan, add your protein, some vegetables, olive oil and seasonings, and pop it into a hot oven for about half an hour. That’s it. Everything else is flexible to suit your tastes, what you have on hand and your lifestyle with near-limitless possibilities.
Prep Your Pan
You can use an ordinary cookie sheet. If you use another type of baking sheet, make sure it has at least a small rim, about a quarter of an inch, all around to keep any juices from making a mess in your oven. It is highly recommended you line the pan with aluminum foil. This is one instance when a silicone baking mat is not a good idea unless you want to clean both that and the pan when you’re done. Also, spray the foil with cooking spray.
Prep Your Oven
Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven then preheat to 425℉ or 450℉ depending on your choice of ingredients. Some foods will take longer at a higher heat than more delicate items. Place the prepared sheet pan in the oven to warm up while you prepare the ingredients.
Prep Your Ingredients
The best vegetables for this cooking method are the more sturdy ones, like potatoes, onions, carrots, squash or Brussel sprouts. But you can use almost any vegetables that are good for roasting. Good proteins are chicken, shrimp, salmon, sausage, and thin cuts of beef and pork. All of these should be cut into even-sized pieces. That doesn’t mean they have to be bite-sized, but the more evenly cut they are, the better they will cook together. You can use more delicate vegetables, but you will probably have to add them later in the cooking process.
All of these ingredients should be coated in spices, herbs, and olive oil. You can mix them together in one bowl or separately.
Time To Cook
Carefully remove the sheet pan from the oven. Spread all the ingredients in an even layer on the sheet pan. Depending on the quantity, put the vegetables on a lower layer with your protein on top. Total cooking time should be about 30 to 35 minutes. Stir the ingredients around on the pan about halfway through. Make sure your protein reaches the right temperature by using your food thermometer. The vegetables should be tender when you pierce them with a knife or fork.
Roasted Chicken Thighs With Sweet Potatoes
Here’s an example recipe. Preheat the oven to 450℉ with your prepared sheet pan inside.
In a bowl, combine two tablespoons of whole-grain or Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of fresh thyme or two teaspoons dried, one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and a quarter teaspoon each of salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add one to two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use thighs with the bones but remove the skin. Make sure every piece of chicken is evenly coated with the mixture and then set them aside.
Do the same with the vegetables, adding another tablespoon of oil and more salt and pepper if needed to get them all well coated. In this case, peel and cut two medium sweet potatoes into one-inch pieces. Cut a large red onion into one-inch wedges. Toss them in the bowl with the oil and spices until evenly coated.
Carefully remove the sheet pan and transfer the vegetables from the bowl to the sheet pan and smooth them into an even layer. Add the chicken on top of the veggies and put the pan back in the oven. Stir everything to make sure it cooks evenly after about 15 minutes. When the vegetables are tender and the chicken is fully cooked, it’s ready.
That’s enough for two people. But if you want a little more, a salad of mixed greens, apple slices, and blue cheese with an oil and vinegar dressing goes really well with this, as does some crusty bread with butter.
This is a quick, healthy dinner you will enjoy. From here, you can experiment with other ingredients for quick, easy meals.