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Sheet Pan Cooking
With the beginning of a New Year, many of us are looking to eat healthier but also want recipes that are simple and easy to prepare with quick clean-up. For many, sheet pan cooking is a good solution. You can have protein and vegetables ready in a short time for dinner. It is also a great way to use any leftover vegetables you might have in your refrigerator.
Tips for more successful sheet pan cooking:
Use the right pan – it should be sturdy, measure 18 by 13 inches, and have a one-inch rim all the way around it. A half sheet pan is ideal. Jellyroll pans will look similar but in general are smaller and flimsier than half sheet pans.
Size is important so ingredients can spread out. This will help them roast rather than steam, which causes mushiness.
The rim allows air to flow across the pan, which helps the ingredients brown and crisp.
The sturdiness of the pan allows for high oven heat.
For speedier and easier clean up, line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Vegetable selection – denser vegetables (potatoes, carrots, etc) take longer to cook than softer vegetables so you will want to roast the denser vegetables for 30 minutes or more before adding the softer vegetables to the pan.
Choose vegetables that are in season.
Cut them into roughly the same size pieces for more even cooking.
Consider adding fruits – grapes, apples, pears, peaches and plums all roast nicely. They will cook more quickly so add them at the end.
Toss produce with oil – completely coat them.
Use olive, grapeseed, coconut or canola oil.
Protein selection – avoidcuts of meat that require braising.
Use a rack – for breaded chicken or fish, to keep the breaded ingredients above the moisture in the pan. Racks are also useful for roasting a cut of beef or pork so the ingredients get basted with the juices and the meat gets browned.