What’s the Plan? Use a Sheet Pan!

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Cook a healthy, family-friendly meal—and avoid the dreaded dish washing—by putting together easy sheet pan dinners. A sheet-pan dinner—where everything is roasted all together on one rimmed baking sheet—is sure to become a weeknight go-to, and not just because it means less dishes to wash. Everything from meat loaf to roasted chicken to jambalaya can be cooked with just a single sheet pan, making your weeknight easier and tastier. And while whole cookbooks have been written about sheet pan suppers, and Pinterest is a source of endless inspiration, you can make a sheet pan supper however you like armed with just a little knowledge.

Timing -- The success of a sheet pan supper lies in the timing. As you know, various ingredients cook at various rates. Ideally you choose ingredients that take roughly the same amount of time to cook, but sometimes you must stagger the timing of what goes in the oven and when. To avoid overcooked meats and undercooked vegetables, you may have to cook components separately at various points of the process. Getting the timing right may take some trial and error. Your first sheet pan supper creation may not be perfect, but it will "more than likely" be edible. Next time around adjust based on your experience. Small details, like cutting vegetables roughly the same size, can make a huge difference in the final product. Consider preheating your sheet pan. A hot sheet pan will give the cooking process a jumpstart and encourage desirable browning.  

Choose wisely -- If you consider a complete meal to be one that includes a protein, vegetable, and starch, strive to hit two of the three categories with your sheet pan concoction. If you can include a protein and a starch, think about serving some sautéed greens, steamed vegetables, or a simple salad on the side. If you include a vegetable and a starch, think about topping it all off with some poached or fried or hard-boiled eggs or toss it all with some cooked chickpeas or beans. The goal, of course, is to keep things simple, and if you manage to include all three categories on the sheet pan, you’ve found a real keeper.

Keep food moist and tasty -- At a minimum, toss everything with olive or other oil (grapeseed, coconut, canola), and salt and pepper. If you’re up for it, make a sauce that includes an acid (citrus or vinegar), some umami (soy sauce, Worcestershire, or fish sauce), and/or something spicy (Sriracha, Tabasco, harissa). These can be thrown together quickly while your sheet pan meal is roasting.

Keep it healthy – The sheet pan meal is so easy to do in a healthy way. Simply choose your favorite in-season veggies and a low-fat protein. Go easy on the oil, and skip heavy, fat and sugar-laden sauces. By adding herbs and spices, you can really raise the flavor quotient without raising the calorie count.

Visit https://bit.ly/2MMFnq7 for some great ideas for sheet pan meals.

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