Sheet Pan Dinner

If there is a food trend right now that is in style, it is “sheet pan dinners”.  I Actually had never heard of such a thing till a friend shared this trend with me a few months back.  It seems this trend is hotter than a Harvey Wallbanger Cake in the 70’s.  My daughter, who is a working mom like most of you, loves sheet pan dinners and uses many different variations all of the time.  For those of you who are vegans or vegetarians can substitute any non-meat Italian sausage in place of the chicken.  And, if like in my family, half of you eat meat, and the other half or vegetarians, you can split this between two different sheet pans, and put a vegan sausage in one of the pans.  Enjoy!

Serves:

6

Total Time:

1 1/2  hours

To Make

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb. halved Brussels sprouts
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • ½ small red apple sliced thin
  • ½ small green apple sliced thin
  • 1 small thinly sliced red onion
  • 6 small heirloom carrots sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 zucchini sliced lengthwise in quarters and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 8 chicken sweet Italian sausages
  • Handful of fresh thyme leaves and stems
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Apple Cider & Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Tip:  Steam the Brussel sprouts or microwave them for 2 minutes prior to putting them on the sheet pan; they roast easier that way.

    Apple Cider & Mustard Vinaigrette

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 C. good olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 3 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
    • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Thyme
    • 2 Tbsp. amber maple syrup
    • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped dill
    • 1 small, minced shallot
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. 

On a rimmed sheet plan lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper, toss the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, zucchini, carrots, onion, apples, and sausage together with the oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves and place into the oven for 25 minutes.

Toss the ingredients and then rotate the pan and roast for another 20 minutes.

 Pour the vinaigrette evenly over the sheet pan and toss and place into a serving platter sprinkled with more fresh thyme sprigs.

 

For the vinaigrette

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk all vinaigrette ingredients except the oil until smooth.  While whisking slowly pour in the oil and whisk till emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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I love shopping at the Temecula Olive Oil Company. I find so many things that inspire me. My TV sponsor is Moroccan and when he was scheduled to be on the show with me, I wanted a Moroccan recipe to make with him. I had to have a winner – I really wanted to impress him. This dish won him over. Enjoy!

Serves:

6

Total Time:

1 1/2  hours

To Make

Ingredients:
 

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 whole chicken, cut up

  • 3 Tbsp. Moroccan Spice Rub by Temecula Olive Oil Company (if you wish to make your own rub, combine white pepper, ginger, allspice, mace, nutmeg, rosebuds and cinnamon.)

  • 1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt

  • 2 shallots chopped

  • 1 preserved lemon, (inside scraped out) skin thinly sliced (Temecula Olive Oil Company preferred brand)

  • 1 C. pitted mixed marinated olives, chopped

  • 1 C. sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained and chopped

  • 1 ½ C. white wine

  • 1 ½ C. chicken stock

  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano

  • 1 Tbsp. basil, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped

 

Directions:

Dry the chicken skin completely with a paper towel and sprinkle evenly with the salt and Moroccan spice rub.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Place the breasts into the hot skillet skin side down and cook without touching or moving for about 6 to 7 minutes.

Flip the chicken to the bone side and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove to a plate and begin to make the sauce. In the same pan, add the shallots and sweat them stirring occasionally until they are soft and translucent, about one minute.

Add the lemon, olives and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the pan to loosen all the brown bits from the bottom and simmer for 3 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.

Add the chicken broth and return to a simmer.

Add back the chicken and the dried oregano and cover the pan and simmer gently for about 25 minutes.

Turn off the heat and while covered let it sit for about 10 minutes to absorb the juices.

To serve sprinkle with parsley and basil and serve right out of the pan.

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Chili Pistachio Pesto

I love pesto and I love this pesto recipe. Here’s why: Sometimes if you are having a lot of dairy in your main course, dairy in an appetizer is just overwhelming. One family meal I was serving Caprese Salad, Eggplant Parmesan as a main course, and Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. Way too much dairy.

I had already decided to make a pesto crostini for appetizer but the thought of more dairy was just way too much. Probably all the other dairy was way too much at one meal, too, but it was too late. My fix? I left the parmesan out and discovered a pesto that is great for fish, meat and crostini, even pasta. Hope you love it as much as we do, and the chili flavored pistachios are a home run.

Serves:

4 – 6

Total Time:

15 minutes

To Make

Ingredients:
 

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano or ½ tsp. fresh oregano, chopped

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • ½ tsp. pepper

  • 1 ½ C. basil, chopped

  • ½ C. chili roasted pistachio nuts (you can find them at Whole Foods or Costco)

  • ⅓ C. olive oil

Directions:

In a food processor (Cuisinart works best but use what you have), combine all of the ingredients except the oil and blend until everything is fully chopped and combined.

While the blender is running, slowly pour the oil through the food tube and watch it all come together.

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

Tip: This makes a great topping for a mild white fish.

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Serves:

6 – 8

Total Time:

1 1/2 hours

For the Curried Chicken

Ingredients:
 

  • 2 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thigh combination
  • 1 ½ C. chicken stock
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ C. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 C. Half & Half
  • 1 Tbs. curry
  • 1 C. raisins

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place in a Pyrex dish with chicken stock. Cover tightly and bake for one hour.

Sauté the onion in the butter and add the flour. Stir with a wooden or silicone spoon until smooth.

Add the Half & Half slowly and stir until it begins to thicken. Add the curry and raisins off the heat.

Set aside about 1/4 of the sauce. Once the chicken has cooled shred and add the chicken into the rest of the sauce. Mix thoroughly.

For the Entrée Crepe 

 Ingredients:

 

  • 1 C. whole milk

  • 3 eggs

  • C. flour

    Directions:

    Combine the milk, eggs and flour and mix well. Let the batter stand 30 minutes before frying.

    Using either a crepe maker or a 6-inch sauté pan, spray with avocado oil and place a thin coat of crepe mixture in the pan. Turn when bubbling like a pancake the whole process should take no more than three minutes per crepe.

    Combining and Rolling

    Place about 2 Tbsp. of the curry chicken mixture onto a crepe and roll. Place each rolled crepe into a large baking dish and, when the dish is full, cover with the remaining sauce.

    Tip: At this point the crepes can be covered and refrigerated as a make ahead dish. When ready to reheat, place in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with raisins and parsley for color.

     

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    I was invited to a fundraiser and the caterer served what looked to me like vertical rigatoni. It just looked so fun and happy. I decided to try my hand at making it. I boiled the rigatoni and once I stuffed them, they fell apart while cooking. So, then I tried stuffing them while still dried and the part that stuck out of the sauce was hard and burned. Alas, the rigatoni was just too small and I had to solve the problem of how to make this work.

    I happened upon Paccheri noodles at the Italian deli. (never heard of them before). I began to solve the problem of, “to boil or not to boil”. And after 20 tries I came up with soaking them in cold, salted water just long enough to where they could compress between your two fingers. The perfect texture to bake and the perfect size to stuff.

    Serves:

    8 – 10

    Total Time:

    3 hours

    To Prepare

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. Paccheri Pasta shells (De Cecco brand preferred) 

    • 30 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese 

    • ½ C. grated Romano cheese

    • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

    • 12 leaves fresh basil, cut into chiffonade

    • 1 large egg room temperature lightly beaten

    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • 8 oz. Parmesan, grated

    • 2 to 3, 24 oz. jars good-quality Arrabbiata Sauce (Rao’s brand preferred)

    • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

    • Kosher salt to taste

     

    Directions:

    Soak the bag of pasta for 2 to 2.5 hours in cold salted water being sure that all pasta is completely covered. When the pasta is spongy and able to be compressed between two fingers it is ready to be stuffed.

    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

    Combine the ricotta cheese, Romano, parmesan, parsley, basil, salt, pepper and egg till mixed evenly. Fill a pastry bag with a large star tip with the mixture.

    Fill a non-metallic skillet with enough pasta sauce so that it comes about  up the side of the pan. Place the softened Paccheri into the pan vertically.

    Fill the Paccheri tubes with the ricotta mixture all the way to the very top.

    Place into the oven for 25 minutes with the pot covered so that the pasta will continue to cook and steam to the perfect texture.

    The last 10 minutes sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and cook with the top off until melted.   Enjoy!

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    At a Jewish Food Festival I came across the most delicious flavor of brisket. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted and was so savory. I could not place the flavor. In my mind I ran through all the obvious items you cook brisket in but couldn’t place that one taste. Come to find out, it was cayenne pepper. I created this rub to add to my traditional, simple brisket recipe and the feedback I get on this brisket is unlike anything I ever have gotten for brisket. Try it. Enjoy!

    Serves:

    8

    Total Time:

    4 hours

    To Prepare

    Ingredients:

    • 1 beef brisket, 6 lbs.
    • 2 large onions chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 4 C. organic beef stock
    • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
    • ½ Tbsp. black pepper
    • 1 ½ Tbsp. cayenne pepper

     

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

    At time of purchase, ask the butcher to trim the fat from the brisket leaving about a ¼ of an inch of fat.

    Create the rub by mixing together the salt, pepper and cayenne in a shallow bowl.

    Pat the meat dry and let sit out for about 15 minutes while you peel and chop the onions and prepare the garlic and bay leaves.

    Cover the meat generously with the rub, making sure to get into all of the crevices.

    Place the meat point side down in a large roasting pan and cook 30 minutes in the oven on one side and then turn to the other side and cook for another 30 minutes until browned and crisp on both sides.

    Add the chopped onions to the pan, scattering them around the brisket. Stir to coat the onions with the drippings and scrape up any brown bits.

    Return the brisket to the oven and roast until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes, being careful not to burn the ends of the onions.

    Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Add the garlic and the bay leaves to the pan. At this point the brisket should be point side up.

    Pour in enough stock to reach about one inch up the sides of the brisket and scrape down the brown bits. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or heavy duty foil and return to the oven. Braise until very, very tender, about three hours.

    Check the meat every 30 minutes during the cooking time and add stock as needed to keep the simmering juice about one inch high and the onions from burning. You could need more than four cups stock. If you do, you can either add more stock or just water. It is a personal preference.

    Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the brisket to a pan for the refrigerator.

    Pour the juices and onions into a glass container like a large eight-cup glass measuring container and let cool.

    Add a little water to the pan and place over medium heat stirring and scraping the brown bits from the bottom. Add these drippings to the glass container. Let the meat and juices cool overnight in the refrigerator.

    Tip: Before re-heating, lift the congealed fat from the juices in the jar and discard. If there is any fat in or around the brisket, also remove that fat.

    Spread about ¼ of the remaining juices on the bottom of the pan. Slice the brisket on the diagonal while cold and place each slice into the pan on top of the cold juices.

    Cover and reheat the brisket for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Reheat the remaining juices in a saucepan and place in a gravy boat to be served with the brisket.

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