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Sheet pan meals a simple solution for summer meals

As much as I love fresh fruit, salads and sandwiches, I can't eat them for every meal when the weather is warm. Sometimes I want something cooked, but I really don't want to take much time to make it. And who wants to heat up the kitchen any more than you have to?

Sheet pan meals may be the answer.

"Sheet pan meals are a godsend when you're busy, or don't particularly love to cook," says food writer Gretchen McKay. "For starters, they're super easy to pull together. They also cook quickly, are insanely versatile and best of all, don't require a ton of cleanup."

A sheet pan supper is smart and simple. You cook your main dish and veggies on one baking sheet so they're done at the same time. The key, of course, is choosing thin cuts of meat, poultry or fish and making sure that veggies are cut into small, even-sized pieces that will cook evenly.

This first sheet pan recipe is terrific for beginners, according to food writer Susan Selasky. A center-cut salmon fillet is cut into several individual pieces and placed to one side of a baking sheet. On the opposite side are your vegetables of choice.

"With this recipe, I choose zucchini and red onions," Selasky said. "I like the way roasting both of them brings out their natural sugars and gives the dish a dash of sweetness. Of course, you can substitute other veggies. Just be sure to cut vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower into smaller pieces of about 1 inch. Brussels sprouts would make a nice addition, but they should be halved or quartered. Bell peppers should be cut into strips."

You can add more vegetables if you like. The leftover salmon is terrific on a salad.

Soy-Glazed Salmon

with Veggies and Citrus

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet cut into 3 to 4 pieces (have your fishmonger do this for you) with skin

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for drizzling on vegetables

1 medium red onion, peeled, cut into quarters

2 to 4 cups vegetables of choice in pieces (broccoli, snow peas, carrots, zucchini)

Salt and pepper, optional

1 mandarin orange, peeled, segmented and diced

1 green onion, sliced, optional

Preheat the broiler to low. Line a sided baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Use paper towel to pat salmon steaks dry; place to one side of the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, tamari and oil. Drizzle about half of the soy mixture over the salmon filets. Place onion and other vegetables on the baking sheet opposite the salmon, drizzle with some oil and, if you like, season with salt and pepper.

Broil about 10 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. Remove from oven and drizzle some of the remaining soy mixture and let rest about 2 minutes before transferring to plates.

To serve, slide a spatula between the skin and the salmon and transfer to a plate. Arrange vegetables on plate and top salmon with diced mandarin. Garnish with green onion slices. Once plated, spoon any additional pan juices over salmon and vegetables if desired.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Recipe from: Susan Selasky

This meat-and-veggie recipe pairs turkey meatballs glazed in a homemade, spicy-sweet teriyaki-like sauce with roasted and charred broccoli. Other vegetables you could substitute or add to the pan include sliced bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced carrots or chunks of sweet potato or squash. If you don't feel like making homemade sauce, swap it out for bottled barbecue or teriyaki sauce.

Not a fan of turkey? You also could make this recipe with ground chicken or ground beef.

Sheet Pan Meatballs with Charred Broccoli

For sauce:

2/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

4 teaspoons soy sauce

1-1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For meatballs:

1 large head broccoli

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound ground turkey

1 large egg, beaten to blend

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

1/3 cup plain or Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Steamed brown or white rice and sesame seeds (for serving)

Prepare sauce: Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper in a small saucepan.

Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl (you'll use this to glaze the meatballs). Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin, then slice stems crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut florets into 2-inch pieces.

Toss in bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (or more to taste). Spread out onto the outer edges of a baking sheet, leaving space for the meatballs in the middle. Brush space with remaining oil.

Mix turkey, egg, scallions, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, remaining 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water in a medium bowl. Using wet hands, form into 12 or 16 meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture.

Bake until meatballs are golden and cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven; turn on broiler. Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

To serve, divide rice into bowls. Drizzle with sauce, spoon meatballs and broccoli on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from:


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