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Sheet pan meals make for easy clean up

Sheet pan meals are one of our family’s go-to weeknight dinners. They are called sheet pan meals because the whole meal is made on the same pan at the same time – talk about easy. Sheet pan meals can be made up of a combination of vegetables and meat. This is not a traditional recipe, but instead, there are many different ways you can make these using the meat and vegetables of your choice. In addition to this, you can also make a vegetarian meal by roasting the vegetables without the meat. Here are a few favorites for you to try out or make your own: 

Roasted Fish with Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, and Salsa Rustica (Serves 4)

Photo submitted by Louise Hinsley.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 sweet potatoes (1 pound total), scrubbed and cut crosswise 1/8 inch thick (about 4 cups); 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon); 1 shallot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup); 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling; Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; 1 bunch spinach, tough stems removed (6 ounces; 6 lightly packed cups); 4 skinless fish fillets (each 6 ounces), patted dry; 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped; 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped; 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes, garlic, and shallot with 2 tablespoons oil. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. Drizzle spinach with oil and season with salt and pepper; scatter over sweet-potato mixture. Season fish with salt and pepper; place on top of spinach. Drizzle fish lightly with oil; roast until opaque and flaky, about 12 minutes. Stir together parsley, capers, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and vinegar. Drizzle mixture over fish and vegetables; serve.

Sheet Pan Balsamic Shrimp and Vegetables (Serves 4)

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium zucchini; 1 medium bell pepper, any color; 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes; 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks; 2 cups mushrooms, halved; 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces; ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil; ½ t. lemon juice; 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar, divided; 1 ½ lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined; 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce; 2 T. roughly chopped basil leaves; Salt and pepper to taste; 2 cups cooked whole grain pasta or brown rice. 

Directions:

  • Place one oven rack in the center of the oven, and the other 4 inches from the top heat. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray or line with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine the vegetables in a large bowl. Combine ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and the lemon juice in liquid measuring cup. Add this mixture to the vegetables and toss to coat. Spread on prepared sheet pan and season with pepper.
  • Roast the vegetables on the center rack until they are softened, about 20-25 minutes, then remove from oven.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, place the shrimp in a large bowl and add ¼ teaspoon salt, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and the Worcestershire sauce. Toss gently and let the shrimp marinade while the vegetables cook.
  • After removing vegetables from the oven, turn the oven to broil. Scatter the shrimp and the marinade over the vegetables in a single layer. Broil on the upper rack in the oven until the shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes. Scatter the basil over the finished dish and serve with brown rice, orzo pasta or couscous.

Roasted Chicken and Veggies (Serves 4)

Ingredients: 

  • 4 large boneless chicken breasts; Several Tbs. olive oil; Red Pepper Flakes, to taste; Thyme, to taste; Salt and pepper; 2 Red bell peppers, cut in large pieces; 1 Red onion, cut in large pieces; Brussels sprouts, cut in half (or cabbage) 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a large sheet pan with olive oil. Place chicken on pan and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper. Place pan in oven and roast for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken. 
  • While the chicken cooks, prep the veggies. Combine them all in a large bowl and toss with more olive oil, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Remove chicken from oven and add vegetables to the pan. Place back in oven and cook 10-15 minutes longer. 

Spicy Pork with Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes (Serves 4)

Photo submitted by Louise Hinsley.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/2 inch thick; 3 large parsnips, peeled, halved, and cut into 2-inch pieces; 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger; 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving; 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 1 pork tenderloin (about 12 ounces), excess fat and silver skin removed; Coarse salt; 1 bunch watercress, trimmed; Lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potato, parsnips, and ginger with oil and spread in an even layer. Mix together brown sugar and cayenne and rub all over pork; add to sheet. Season pork and vegetables with salt and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of pork reads 145 degrees, 20 to 22 minutes. Let pork rest 10 minutes before serving.
  • Toss vegetables with watercress, drizzle with olive oil, and season. Thinly slice pork and serve with any accumulated juices from sheet, the salad, and lime wedges. 

Sources for this article NC Extension Food and Nutrition, Meds instead of Meds educational program complied by Zach Styons, ECU Public Health Intern.  For more information about the Foods and Nutrition please contact Louise L. Hinsley, Extension Agent, Family Consumer Science at the Beaufort County Center of NC Cooperative Extension, 155 Airport Road, Washington,  252-946-0111.

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