Make sheet pan chicken and vegetables your off-the-cuff dinner standby

When asked what’s the go-to recipe I cook for dinner, the answer is always some version of the following: I throw some chicken and whatever sturdy vegetables I have around on a sheet pan, toss them with a mix of spices and seasonings that are calling my name in the moment, and roast the whole thing in a hot oven until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables have softened and absorbed some of the chicken’s schmaltzy goodness.

It’s quick to assemble, extremely customizable and so simple that I was slightly hesitant to write a recipe for it. Nonetheless, I’m sure plenty of people don’t already have this meal in their back pocket for dinner and would relish adding it to their repertoire.

Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables for One

And, taking a cue from what readers want, this recipe is designed to serve just one person. (Of course, it can easily be scaled up to feed more people — it’s perfectly suitable for a low-lift dinner party — or so that you have leftovers for future meals.)

Here’s how to make sheet pan chicken and vegetables.

It all starts with a sheet pan, of course. The quarter size is perfect for this recipe for one, but any size pan with a rim will do as long as the chicken and vegetables can fit in a single layer. I prefer to line it with parchment paper for easy cleanup later on, but you can leave it off if you don’t have any or are trying to cut back on waste.

For chicken, dark meat (drumsticks, thighs and leg quarters) is forever and always my favorite as it’s more flavorful than white meat and is less prone to drying out. However, you could use wings or bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts if you prefer, though you will need to keep a closer eye on them to check for doneness. You could even use a mix of chicken parts or a whole bird that has been spatchcocked.

When it comes to vegetables, to make things easier, pick those that can stand up to the cook time required for the chicken so everything can go in at once. That means sticking to cruciferous and root vegetables — such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes — and winter squash cut into bite-size pieces.

What spices you choose to season everything with is where you can really have some fun. For this recipe, I went with salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin and oregano. (I include measurements here so you can easily replicate it, but when making it for myself, I instead just sprinkle and shake spice jars until my gut says, “That’s enough.”) Some other fun options include a Cajun or Creole seasoning blend, garam masala and ras el hanout. Open your spice cabinet or drawer and let your imagination run free!

Toss everything together right on the sheet pan — along with a bit of oil — to save from dirtying another dish, before roasting it in a 400-degree oven until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender and maybe have picked up a little char. Lastly, place it under the broiler if the chicken isn’t browned to your liking, then finish it off with a squeeze of lemon to make everything sing.

What’s your go-to dinner when you don’t want to have to think about what to cook? Let me know in the comments.

Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables for One

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