Sheet Pan Dinners for Beginners

I follow a lot of cooking sites and if you asked me what some home-cooking trends are as of late, Sheet Pan Dinners would be at the top of the list. And something I’ve really been wanting to try. The idea of cooking an entire dinner on one pan with minimal clean-up sounds wonderful.

The set-up. As I have mentioned, cabbage is my number one favorite vegetable. Recently, fennel has become a close second, so it made sense to combine the two for the base of my sheet pan dinner. I sliced the cabbage and fennel, created a flat bed of vegetables on the base of the sheet pan, and then drizzled said base with olive oil, salt and pepper. A friend of mine recently introduced me to the garlicky marinated tomatoes on the olive bar at Whole Foods (more on this later), and I had leftover Castelvetrano olives from a previous dinner, so I added the tomatoes and olives (with all the garlicky marinade) as well for extra flavor.

Because I was nervous about the vegetables not getting roasted enough, I first roasted the vegetable base by itself for 40 minus at 400 degrees. While the vegetables were open, I trimmed the extra skin off the 12 bone-in chicken thighs using kitchen scissors. I cooked 12 chicken thighs for 5 adults and there were 4 leftover, but mind you this sheet pan dinner was served with freshly toasted olive bread topped with lemon whipped ricotta and truffle honey. Running out of food when hosting people for dinner is my actual nightmare so I always try to shoot for more than I need. The chicken thighs were then tossed in olive oil and the skin was rubbed with Peanut Chutney Powder and sprinkled with salt and pepper to finish. Other seasoning ideas would be Chinese Five Spice, Israeli za’atar, adobo or even a simple Lemon Pepper blend.

The chicken thighs were laid on top of the semi-roasted vegetables and the sheet pan went back into the oven for 35 more minutes. The last 5 minutes I turned on the broiler, hence the darker spots, and the dish was served just as it was prepared – on the sheet pan.

It was a success!!! And the truth is that if my flavor combinations don’t speak to you, this post isn’t so much about MY recipe as it about encouraging you to give this EASY cooking technique a try. It is popular for a reason and super adaptable to whatever you are in the mood to make. Whatever vegetables you chose to use underneath, or whatever protein you chose to place on top (I have seen this done A LOT with fish), the way in which the chicken juices seeped into the bed of vegetables made my typical roast vegetables exceptionally more delicious. I actually could have served the olive loaf simply sliced and people could have used it to sop up the savory sheet pan juices. But then again, whipped ricotta toasts are always a good idea.

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