‘Tis the season when children return to school and hectic schedules ensue.  Complicated menus and big kitchen clean-ups could bring a parent to their knees.  What if you could make an entire dinner in less than 30 minutes using a sheet pan, parchment paper, and your oven?  With a little planning and basic pantry ingredients this method of meal preparation is one I rely on regularly.  Easy prep + healthy whole foods + quick clean-up –> sanity!

The key is to select a quick-cooking protein with a variety of vegetables cut in the same size so that they cook evenly.  Toss vegetables with a bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Parchment paper will ensure that clean up is a cinch.  We love using unbleached parchment sheets that are just the right size – nothing sticks so no scraping or soaking pans.

Here are some of our favorite combinations:

  • Salmon + green beans + cherry tomatoes + pitted kalamata olives
  • Cod + cauliflower + onion slices + garlic + capers + basil
  • Tofu + bok choy + garlic + ginger + cilantro
  • Chicken strips + red pepper slices + onion slices + oregano + cumin

All of the above combinations take about 20 minutes in a 375°F oven, depending on the thickness of your protein.  For hardy cuts that take longer to cook, cut vegetables into bigger pieces.  For slight cuts of protein, like flounder, you can pre-roast vegetables for 10 minutes before nestling in protein to finish baking.  No need to break out another pan.

If you have time, make a tasty sauce or dressing at the beginning of the week, like our Herb Chimichurri, and use to season the dish after cooking.