How to Make a Sheet Pan Dinner, 3 Ways

You'll fall in love with these three easy one-dish meals for the oven.

Looking for an easy, versatile, low-maintenance way to make dinner?  Look no further than the sheet pan dinner!  Made with your main and side all roasted in the same pan, it's the easy oven version of the one-pot meal.  The "formula" is simple: one rimmed sheet pan + a protein + some vegetables + olive oil and seasonings = one low-effort, tasty meal.  By mixing and matching different proteins such as chicken, fish, shrimp or pork with different vegetable combinations and seasonings, the possibilities for this quick and easy dinner method are virtually endless. Here are three tasty ideas to get you started.  Now grab that sheet pan and follow these easy steps to start making delicious, low-fuss one-pan dinners you'll love.

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1 Prepare the Pan

Choose a rimmed baking sheet pan and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For easy clean up in a flash, line the pan with foil before coating with non-stick cooking spray. After cooking, simply lift off the foil and discard.

2 Choose Your Meat and Vegetables

Choose your desired meat and vegetables.  Proteins that work well in sheet pan dinners include boneless chicken breasts or thighs, chicken drumsticks, pork chops, salmon and other fish, shrimp, kielbasa and even smaller cuts of beef.  Choose sturdy vegetables that can stand up to high heat, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli and fresh green beans.  If you're also including more tender vegetables, add them to the pan for the last few minutes of cooking time.  Get creative with your combinations!

Understanding the amount of time it takes for specific ingredients to cook is the key to a great sheet pan dinner. Either choose items with similar cooking times, or group your ingredients by their rate of cooking and add these groupings to the pan in stages. Also, take care to cut vegetables into similarly-sized pieces for more even cooking.

3 Option #1: Balsamic Chicken and Root Vegetables

To make balsamic chicken with root vegetables, choose 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs, red onions, carrots and baby potatoes.  Cut the onions into wedges, the carrots into sticks and the potatoes into halves.

Season the chicken with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper.  Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of extra-virgin olive oil.

Place seasoned chicken and chopped vegetables in a large bowl.  Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Toss to coat.

Arrange chicken and vegetables in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.

Roast at 425 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve and enjoy!

If needed, use 2 pans to prevent crowding. Maintaining plenty of space between the ingredients and keeping vegetables away from the edges of the meat allows ingredients to roast rather than steam.

4 Option #2: Shrimp and Broccoli

For a shrimp and roasted broccoli version, choose 1 pound of large shrimp and 2 pounds of broccoli cut into bite-sized florets.
Place the broccoli in one bowl.  Toss with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon chili powder.

Place the shrimp in a separate bowl.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and the zest of one lemon.  Toss to coat.

Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet.  Roast at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the pan and roast until they have just turned pink and opaque, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the shrimp and broccoli.  Serve immediately and enjoy.

The shrimp's cooking time will vary based on their size. Watch them closely so they don't overcook and become rubbery.

5 Option #3: Pork and Sweet Potatoes

For a pork and sweet potato version, choose four 1-inch thick slices of pork loin or boneless pork chops, 1 pound of small sweet potatoes, and 2 onions. 

Peel and slice the sweet potatoes and onions into 1/2-inch thick rounds.  Place these slices in a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon dried sage. 

Season pork with kosher salt, ground black pepper and a small sprinkling of dried sage.

Arrange sweet potato and onion slices in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Add pork to pan and roast an additional 12 to 15 minutes, or until pork reaches desired doneness (about 150 degrees, read on a meat thermometer).  Serve and enjoy.

About Kitchen Is My Playground

Tracey is the creator of the popular blog The Kitchen Is My Playground, which she founded in 2011. Her goal is to share recipes with other home cooks looking to create flavorful (and somewhat adventurous) food for their families and friends. Connect with her on PinterestFacebookTwitter or Google+.