The semester is in full swing and the stress of preparing back-to-school dinners is still going strong. In fact, the meal-time crunch may be crazier than ever with looming mid-terms, ramped up extra-curriculars, and holiday events encroaching. To keep my focus (and sanity), I rely on an evolving repertoire of sheet pan dinners, a time-saving method where various food groups for a healthy meal cook up to perfection, side-by-side on the same baking pan. Check out my 5 favorite sheet pan dinners that rules busy school nights.
Sheet pan meals are a smart solution to the problem of “What’s for dinner?” They are quick to prep, quick to cook (most around 30 minutes), and even quicker to clean up. Pro tip: line sheet pans with foil or parchment paper to make dishwashing duty a near delight! The variety of sheet pan dinners is seemingly endless, try beef, chicken, pork, fish or vegetarian options and then tweak the “sides” and flavor profiles suit seasonal availability and personal preference. Another plus, sheet pan dinners are basically “hands-off” after popping into the oven, affording busy parents more time to help with homework . . . or relax with a bottle of wine.
Gorgonzola Port Tenderloin with Beets & Pears: A humble hunk of pork tenderloin gets dressed up with sweet pears, earthy beets and a glaze of Pear Gorgonzola Dressing before roasting for about 30-minutes in the oven on a single sheet pan. To serve, slice up the tenderloin and serve alongside the lightly crisped, caramelized pears and beets. A final touch of rich, creamy gorgonzola crumbles elevates this one-dish dinner into an elegant meal to impress company (recipe follows).
Cranberry Orange Salmon Green Beans: Prep to plate in under 30 minutes, this off-the-hook salmon dinner is baked on a sheet pan to make weeknight meal duty and clean up a snap! Plus, substitutions are no problem. For example, if you prefer, swap the green beans for asparagus and the cranberries for grape tomatoes!
Ginger Honey Chicken with Sweet Potatoes: Transform the same-old plain chicken breasts and simple sweet potatoes into a super flavorful weeknight winner with this easy, fall-inspired meal that also features apples, fennel and a hint of exotic Chinese 5-spice.
Balsamic Rosemary Chicken and Butternut Squash: Nothing makes chicken feel like “fall” quite like a pair-up with the season’s hearty, yet healthy butternut squash. And, marinated in Balsamic Vinaigrette with hints of rosemary, this 30-minute meal will become a staple in your autumnal meal rotation.
Caprese French Bread Pizza: Some nights, pizza is in order – but, wait, don’t order! This super-simple, mostly-homemade, vegetarian pizza is efficiently assembled, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, and baked on a sheet pan in the oven for a delicious dinner finished faster than delivery!