Anyone else remember the “jello salad” craze of the early 1970s? My mother (and my friends’ mothers, too) embraced the trend with particular zeal. For church pot-lucks, she’d make a molded, neon-green “aspic” in which shredded coconut, mini marshmallows, and canned pineapple rings were artfully suspended. Alas, this
chemical experiment masterpiece had the texture of a slimy hair brush. I refused to eat it.
Flash forward to 2016-17, and “sheet pan dinners” are all the rage. Now, here is a food trend that I can embrace! The dinners are super simple to make, and the ingredients are as healthy as you please. As an added bonus, clean up is minimal.
I made an Asian-inspired sheet pan dinner the other day, and it was so dang delicious that I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you. The marinated chicken and colorful veggies cook to perfection in just 20-25 minutes:
While taking the worst picture of all time, tip some Tamari sauce (or plain soy sauce) into a large bowl.
Add extra virgin olive oil…
And a generous splash of sesame seed oil.
Sesame oil is one of the seven wonders of the world. Amiright?
Then, for just a touch of heat, add a spoonful of Sambal Oelek (look for this chili paste in the Asian section of your grocery store, or if necessary, buy it online).
Now mince up 3 cloves of garlic, and cast them into the bowl.
Whisk the marinade ingredients to combine them.
Now grab a couple of skinless, boneless chicken breasts…
And cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Add the chicken to the marinade, and stir to coat with a polka dotted spatula. Pop the marinade into the fridge while you chop up the veggies.
Onto the veggies! For these, use any fresh, sturdy subjects that your garden or farmers’ market can provide. Here’s what I used:
Florets from a head of broccoli…
2 bell peppers (1 yellow and 1 red) cut into bite-sized pieces…
A yellow summer squash, also cut into bite-sized pieces…
And a sliced red onion.
No picture of this next step, because I forgot to take one: Spray a large (approximately 11×17-inch) baking sheet with non-stick vegetable spray.
Dump all of the veggies onto the baking sheet, and toss to mix.
Then add the chicken and all of the marinade…
And toss again, until the veggies are slick with marinade. Do your best to keep all of the ingredients in one layer — they’ll cook better (and faster) that way.
Pop the works into a 425°F oven until the broccoli is slightly singed (as pictured above), and the chicken is done but not overdone — 20-25 minutes.
If you’re like me, you’ll serve this happy main course with white or brown rice and a bottle of ice cold Pinot Grigio. (White rice cooks in only 20 minutes, so you can prepare it while the sheet pan is in the oven.) Finish the meal with the aforementioned neon-green jello salad. Or not.
Are you a fan of sheet pan dinners, too? As food trends go, I think this one is here to stay!
Here’s the printable: