Making home-cooked dinners is a lot healthier for the family and certainly budget-friendly, but it can be hard for busy parents to find the time. Dinner preparations and cleanup can be difficult when you’re running off to practices and other after-school activities. Who wants to clean a sink full of dishes and pans after soccer and hockey practice? Lack of time is often why many on-the-go families opt for the convenience of takeout on those crazy weeknights.
Ultimately, home-cooked dinners are best for the family, but not everyone wants to invest in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker to help get evening meals on the table quicker. If you’re looking for delicious and nutritious meals that don’t make a big mess, try sheet-pan cooking. With healthy sheet-pan dinners on the menu, you get the best of both worlds; tasty food and fast cleanup.
What is a sheet-pan dinner?
Creating a meal with protein and veggies typically requires more than one pot and pan bubbling away on the stove. Both factor in when it comes time to clean up. The main component of sheet-pan cooking is convenience. Cooking a complete dinner on a sheet pan is an enticing option when time is limited. A sheet-pan dinner only involves cleaning one pan. The cleanup is even easier if the sheet pan is lined with aluminum foil. Unlike cooking dinner on a stovetop, a sheet-pan simmering in the oven doesn’t require as much hands-on attention, allowing parents to help with homework or get tomorrow’s lunches.
The sheet pan
Unlike an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, a sheet pan is relatively inexpensive. Sheet pans aren’t just for baking either. Sheet pans come in all different sizes and can be used to whip up healthy meals in the oven. Sheet pans do need to have a rim though. The rim keeps the juices from spilling out.
Healthy sheet-pan dinners
Now that we know what a sheet-pan dinner is and how it can save time on those crazy, run-around school nights, here are some tasty sheet-dinner recipes to wow the family.
Chicken fajitas are a yummy dinner even the kids are sure to love. With Cooking Classy, you get a quick, easy sheet-pan dinner that is a perfect pick on practice nights.
Cook up steak and veggies all in one pan with this flavorful recipe from Chungah’s food blog. The roasted steak, veggies, and potatoes make a complete and healthy meal without the excess mess.
You’ll never think tofu is tasteless again with this delightfully simple and delectable sheet-pan recipe from Recipe Runner. Frying tofu in a pan can be time-consuming and messy. Doing it in the oven makes for tasty tofu even the kiddos will eat. The resulting tofu and broccoli stand alone, but you can also serve over brown minute rice.
Pork tenderloins can be a yummy change-up from red meat and chicken. Real Life Dinner has an appetizing recipe for pork tenderloins and roasted veggies made on a sheet pan. Cook time is about 35 minutes in the oven with a 15-minute prep to get all the ingredients on the sheet pan.
Having breakfast for dinner can be a fun way to switch up meals. Kitchn has a simple and delicious recipe for a veggie frittata that’s a perfect pick for Meatless Monday.
Meatloaf can be a family dinner staple. Taste of Home shakes up the traditional meatloaf dinner by making mini meatloaves for this simple sheet-pan recipe. The mini meatloaves will cook faster and the potatoes and asparagus make it a complete meal. If the kids aren’t big on asparagus, exchange it for a veggie they do like.
Other sheet-pan dinners to try
- Santa Fe chicken pizza
- Loaded sheet-pan nachos
- Sheet-pan mac and cheese with Brussels sprouts
- Sheet-pan chicken with rainbow vegetables
- Sheet-pan roast beef and vegetables
On-the-go parents are always on the lookout for easy dinnertime meals. Sheet-pan cooking is a perfect pick for making a healthy dinner for the family that doesn’t make a huge mess. With evening practices and other after-school activities, a lengthy dinner cleanup is a definite don’t. The main plus to sheet-pan cooking is that it only uses one pan and doesn’t leave splatter on the stovetop to wash away either. Healthy sheet-pan dinners combine proteins like beef, chicken, pork, and tofu along with veggies and seasoning. It all conveniently cooks in the oven, leaving parents time to supervise homework or tackle the laundry. The prep time typically isn’t long and can even be done the night before. Give these six delicious sheet-pan recipes a try. The family will love the taste and you’ll appreciate the quick cleanup.
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