Monday, March 27, 2017

Sheet Pan Dinners- No Recipe Cooking

The idea of the sheet pan dinner is taking social media by storm. Foodie bloggers are raving about them, Pinterest is positively bursting with pins featuring sheet pan creations, and a quick scroll on your Facebook feed, I'll bet anything you will see at least one or two posts about them. They are such a great idea- totally homemade fast food that isn't junky and fried. Besides saving time, they save on cleanup too- you use one sheet pan. Period. Maybe a bowl, a knife and a cutting board. No stacks of pots and pans to wash after dinner? Sign me up!


Today we're going to look at the sheet pan dinner phenomenon and get some great ideas together. A few weeks ago The Chef and I were coming home after a short trip to Colorado. We arrived home late in the evening, road weary and hungry. Now, every kind of fast food you can think of is within a three block radius of our house- hamburgers, tacos, fish, fried chicken, coneys. We could have taken the lazy way out and just hit the drive thru (believe me, we're nt health nuts and we DO sometimes succumb to the temptation) but that's not what we were wanting. Even though we hadn't been home for several days we still had some food in the house, easily the makings for a quick and easy sheet pan dinner.


Grabbing my big stainless steel mixing bowl I grabbed a few ingredients- a kielbasa, a couple potatoes, an onion, a couple stalks of broccoli and a cauliflower that needed to be used up very soon. All I had to do was scrub the potatoes- I never peel unless I'm making mashed, chunk the onion and potatoes, cut up the broccoli and cauliflower- dump everything in the giant mixing bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over everything, added salt, pepper, some herbs and a couple big tablespoons of grainy mustard- tossed it all together to coat everything evenly and spread it out on a sheet pan. 

Into the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and voila- dinner is served. So easy and minimal prep. This particular dish had a great kick from the mustard and the veggies had that lovely roasted thing going on that I love so much- the mix of texture, bits of char, still just enough crunch.


A few days later I was ready to do it again. Long days at work and nights I just didn't feel like dealing with cooking.....or dishes. This time I managed to scrounge up a pork tenderloin, a couple potatoes, a bunch of fresh asparagus, onion and a box of fresh mushrooms. I cut the pork into bite size cubes and tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs. It was delicious!!

Wanna know the best part? If you line that sheet pan with some heavy duty foil you don't even have to wash that! 

Need some ideas for your own super easy sheet pan dinner? For speed, always use a lean meat that you can cube into bite sized pieces. Chicken and pork work great. Sliced sausages are great too- stick with fully cooked sausage. There are some recipes around using bone-in chicken pieces but they don't cook in 30 minutes. Try one if you find one though! Any vegetable works great too. Sweet potatoes, regular potatoes- I love baby potatoes made this way. Carrots, beets, broccoli, just use your imagination.



A recent trip to Trader Joe's inspired yet another sheet pan dinner. They have such beautiful produce there I could not resist grabbing some haricots verts and rainbow baby carrots to make a fun and colorful weeknight dinner. 



Again, in the big mixing bowl I combined the beans, and the carrots, after cutting them in half lengthwise, about 4 cloves of chopped garlic, plenty of olive oil and seasonings, salt and pepper. 



In another small bowl I tossed the cubed pork tenderloin with olive oil, more chopped garlic and citrus barbeque meat rub. 



Spread the vegetables onto the sheet pan and add the meat to the top.



Again, into a 400 degree oven and about 30 minutes later- the carrots are perfectly tender, the beans still slightly crispy, the garlic sweetens and the pork was tender and juicy. So delicious.

I hope you give these ideas a try. You won't believe how easy it is to get a healthy and delicious dinner going with a minimum of fuss.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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