Oh sunshine…it is so good to see you! As I sit at my desk today, I can see not just sunlight streaming in the window, but blue sky above, and I think I even caught sight of an early robin! Dare we hope spring is just around the corner? After the recent cold streak we just endured, I am more than ready for milder weather. I need a change of attitude, and the sunshine brings just that!
This time of year, we tend to be really sick dreary weather, so the sunshine is just the spark we need to make changes in our daily routines. I have been in a dinner time rut lately…I just can’t seem come up with easy, tasty menu ideas that will please the palette but be not create a big mess in my kitchen. In looking for ideas, I grabbed a “check-stand cookbook”…you know the ones that are displayed at the cash registers at the supermarket. The pictures on the front always feature delicious looking food and the headline touts the recipes as being easy, so the consumer is more tempted to purchase it on a whim. Well, I became that tempted consumer. The magazine featured recipes for “sheet-pan suppers”, so I grabbed one, flipped through it, and found enough useful information to justify the purchase…
Sheet pan meals are just as the name suggests, an entire meal cooked on one sheet pan. Protein, starch and veggies on a single baking tray, no need to cook each item in a separate vessel. In looking at different one pan recipes, the common theme is similar sized pieces and textures of foods. When creating these meals, the meats are frequently cut into smaller pieces or portions, and you will notice that the cuts of meats are those that will cook quickly (you probably won’t see a pot roast cooked on a sheet pan!). Likewise, the starches (like potatoes) are cut into smaller pieces that will cook faster, and the veggies used are typically heartier to withstand longer than usual cook times. The trick to all of this, basically, is to have everything on the tray cook in the same amount of time. You don’t want to overcook the veggies but have the potatoes hard and the meat raw inside. Many of the sheet pan recipes can be prepped ahead, with ingredients being mixed with seasonings or a marinade to add flavor as well as moisture to the finished product. You can mix everything in a zipper bag, refrigerate until you are ready to cook, then simply dump and spread on a greased sheet pan. Dinner will be done and you will only have one pan to wash!
A quick web search or browse through a newer recipe book will most likely yield many recipes, so why not choose one and try it tonight? I guarantee the easy clean-up won’t be the only part of it you enjoy!
Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin and Veggies
Preheat oven to 425*
2 Pork tenderloins
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
12 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
1 t fresh thyme, chopped
1 t fresh lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T Dijon mustard
Mix marinade ingredients and toss with tenderloins and veggies. Spread in an even layer on a greased baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pork reaches
140*. Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
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