By: Ryan Vance, RDN, LD
As the daylight lasts a little longer and the temperatures continue to climb, it gets harder to feel motivated to stick with everyday tasks. I, for one, want to take every opportunity to spend as much time outside enjoying the beautiful Boise weather. One of my favorite ways to save time around meals is to use the humble sheet pan-- the simple sheet of metal that allows several items to be cooked all at once.
Believe it or not, you can make several healthy, crowd-pleasing, complete meals with a few simple ingredients, and some spices that satisfy, energize and save time.
So break out the sheet pans, get the whole family fed, and then get out and enjoy all that sunshine.
Below are a few simple sheet pan solutions for success
Select in Season: Selecting foods that are in season will ensure that you get the most nutrients, best flavors and, at times, can be cheaper than out of season items. Check out this website for a list of vegetables and when they are in season. With such a huge selection, I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you. Also, by eating items in season it will ensure no one will ever get bored with the options.
The Cut: As much as possible try to cut everything to the same size. This will ensure that they all cook evenly and will likely be done at the same time.
Don’t Get Stuck: Utilize aluminum foil, parchment paper, and nonstick cooking spray if needed to ensure food won’t become forever glued to your sheet pan. This will also make clean up super easy and fast!
Cooking Time: Put all ingredients of the same size together, don’t be afraid to add or stagger cooking times of food that may cook faster than others. For example, root vegetable and proteins like chicken will take longer to cook. Just add softer vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus or peppers to the sheet pan for the last 10-15min.
Spice it Up: Adding oil, salt and pepper are the basics and often all that’s needed. You can also add additional flavors with spices. I love trying new things and often times I’m surprised at how well it turns out. A few great ones to start with are cumin, fennel seeds, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme. Curry powder is another one of my favorites.
Is it Done Yet: Don’t be afraid to use a fork to check the doneness of vegetables and always us a thermometer to check any animal products. Here’s a link for proper cooking temps.
Garnish: Once done cooking feel free to add fresh herbs. These will add flavor and color to your dish. Some of my go to’s are cilantro, scallions and chives. Also a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime is great.
For inspiration or ideas simply Google “sheet pan meals” and pick one that looks good to you!