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Basic Formula for a Sheet Pan Dinner

What’s a sheet pan meal? It’s a “one pot meal” style dinner baked on a cookie sheet pan!

In 7 simple steps, you’ll have a delicious, easy-to-modify, easy-to-clean-up meal.

Tip: line your sheet pan with parchment paper to make clean-up even easier!

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2: Pick a protein!

This will dictate how long your meal will be in the oven, but remember that if you have other items that need 30 minutes and you only need to cook your protein for 15 minutes, you can just add it toward the end of the cooking time!

Here are some basic cook times for various proteins, but always check the meats with a thermometer to make sure everything is fully cooked before you dig in.

  • Chicken thighs/wings (45 minutes)

  • Chicken strips/tenders (20 minutes)

  • Frozen meatballs (30 minutes)

  • Shrimp/Tilapia/Salmon (15 minutes)

  • Chicken/turkey sausage (30 minutes)

  • Pork chops/tenderloin (30 minutes—depending on the chop thickness)

  • Kielbasa/polish sausage/bratwurst/chorizo (20 minutes)

  • Bacon (20 minutes)

  • Tofu (30 minutes)

Step 3: Pick one to two vegetables!

The basic rule of thumb is most veggies need a minimum of 30 minutes of bake time at 400 degrees, but there are some* like kale and zucchini that will only need 10-15 mins.

Here’s a list of some classics:

  • Garlic

  • sweet peppers

  • Onions

  • Fennel

  • Broccoli/Cauliflower

  • Asparagus

  • Bok choy

  • Carrots

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Kale*

  • Mushrooms

  • Zucchini/Summer Squash*

  • Winter squash (butternut, acorn, delicata, etc)

  • Snow peas

  • Green beans

  • Corn on the cob (sliced in chunks)

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Beets

  • Kohlrabi

  • Turnips

Step 4: Choose one carb!

This is optional if you are avoiding carbs, or perhaps you consider all of these items as veggies like I do! ;)

  • Potato wedges

  • Mini potatoes

  • Sweet potato wedges

  • Frozen gnocchi

  • Chickpeas (canned, drained)

Step 5: Pick a spice!

This can be a creative way to enhance a sheet pan meal. Plus we have so many great fresh spices and blends from our local spice shop, that you can’t go wrong!

  • All-purpose seasoning

  • Taco seasoning

  • Cajun seasoning

  • Italian seasoning

  • Herbes de Provence

  • Paprika

  • Garlic salt

  • Indian spice blend

  • Everything bagel seasoning

  • and SO many more!

Step 6: Mix everything with your base!

What’s your base? Your base is the oil, salt, and seasonings that need to coat all of your items before the baking begins. To do so, you can mix everything in a bowl with your base or you can drizzle and sprinkle everything on the sheet pan and spread it around with a pastry brush or a wooden spoon.

For a successful sheet pan dinner, follow this base formula:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon seasoning (chosen from the list above, if desired)

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil (or coconut, or avocado, or other mild oil)

Step 7: Choose a sauce if you want!

This is optional but also delicious! If you love sauce or gotta dip, here are a few common sauces that are great additions to sheet pan meals:

  • BBQ

  • Dijon mustard

  • Sriracha

  • Aioli

  • Pesto

  • Chimichurri

  • Taco sauce

  • Buffalo sauce

The possibilities of flavor and item combinations are pretty much limitless, so let your imagination go wild and get creative!

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