Sheet Pan Suppers: A Quick-Fix Cooking Method to Try Tonight
“Cooking on a sheet pan, letting your oven do most of the work, will put a great meal on the table and give you time to enjoy your life. And isn’t that pretty much what it’s all about?” Molly Gilbert asks in her new cookbook, Sheet Pan Suppers. No matter what your family wants for dinner (or breakfast or lunch), the answer might be found in the kitchen tool you once used only to bake cookies: the humble sheet pan.
Gilbert’s technique is simple and straightforward: Use good ingredients to make delicious yet simple meals, like Quick Chicken and Baby Broccoli with Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe after the link for you to try at home) or the Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pasta. But sheet pan recipes can branch out beyond dinner to include small bites and snacks (like Spicy Cheese Biscuits and Crispy Roasted Potatoes), meat-free meals (like Hearty Ratatouille with Goat Cheese and Portobello Cap Pizzas with Garlic Knots), and even brunch dishes (like Fresh Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, pictured below).
The secret to getting delicious meals on the table with minimal effort lies in having a well-stocked pantry. Gilbert shared her pantry staples with us: “I always have a big bottle of olive oil and plenty of kosher salt (obviously) in the pantry, alongside my go-to spices: paprika, ground mustard and herbs de Provence! And in the fridge you can always find soy sauce, lemons, garlic, Sriracha and fresh herbs. Oh, and plenty of butter, of course.” Gilbert urges home cooks not to shy away from some premade elements, like pizza crust, precooked sausages and tubes of polenta. The secrets to a quick cleanup are simple: Line your pans with parchment paper or foil (and if you’re going to use foil, spray it with a nonstick spray to keep food from adhering to it).
Still think the sheet pan is an unlikely dinner companion? Gilbert admits that even she was delighted at the simple kitchen staple’s extensive versatility, saying: “There are a lot of surprising things that can be made on a sheet pan. Rice pilaf, s’mores, ratatouille and even a giant Dutch baby were a few recipes that surprised me (in a good way) during the recipe testing process.” And if you think that using a low-sided pan is a recipe for disaster, fret not. Gilbert has designed the recipes in Sheet Pan Suppers to be (unsurprisingly) sheet pan-friendly to keep your oven clean. “If you're experimenting on your own (with extra-saucy sheet pan meals, perhaps) and you're nervous about drips, here's an easy fix: Just place a piece of aluminum foil on the rack underneath your sheet pan to catch any spillage.”
The last words of wisdom Gilbert has for cooks looking to simplify the dinner routine: “Don’t stress too much — it’s just dinner!”
Give the Quick Chicken and Baby Broccoli with Spicy Peanut Sauce a try at home tonight, and order Sheet Pan Suppers here.
Quick Chicken and Baby Broccoli with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Peanut sauce is like the chocolate sauce of dinnertime. I’m pretty sure I’d eat my shoe if it were covered in enough of it. This satay-inspired dish pairs my beloved peanut sauce with thinly sliced chicken and baby broccoli charred under the broiler. The whole dish cooks in about 10 minutes but results in juicy chicken, tender Broccolini, and a thick and bubbly sauce. It’s addicting. Keep it away from your shoes. I’ve seen packaged thin-cut chicken breasts or cutlets at some grocery stores, but you can easily make your own by slicing a regular chicken breast in half horizontally to create two thin-cut pieces.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (commercial or natural)
4 to 6 thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts or cutlets (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
Preheat the oven to broil, and place a rack 4 inches from the heat. Line a sheet pan with foil or mist it with cooking spray.
Whisk together the brown sugar, peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, water and lime juice in a medium-size bowl until smooth. Set aside 1/4 cup of the peanut sauce for serving.
Rub the Broccolini and chicken with the remaining peanut sauce to thickly coat, and arrange them in a tight single layer on the prepared pan. Broil, keeping a close eye on the pan to prevent burning, and flipping the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is just cooked through, the Broccolini is well-charred, and the sauce is bubbly and deeply browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
Serve the chicken and Broccolini hot from the oven with the reserved dipping sauce alongside.
Recipes and photography from Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert. Copyright © 2014 by Molly Gilbert. Used by permission of Workman Publishing. All rights reserved.