When I went to college at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was given an interesting variety of hand-me-down kitchenware. There were some seventies-inspired Corningware baking dishes with the little blue flowers, pastel Tupperware containers, some simple white china plates that I still use, and a set of sheet pans that very well may outdate me. The pans have been used so many times that they are almost black, patina is the nice word for it.
My well-loved sheet pan was just what was needed for a flavorful, healthy meal. I love buying asparagus in the early spring when it is at its freshest. I could eat it every day! If I cut off the ends and serve it to my son, I tell him it is green beans. So far he doesn’t know the difference! All of the other fresh ingredients for the meal, potatoes, garlic, lemon, and parsley, are very easy to find and relatively inexpensive. These easy ingredients made a delicious, family friendly sheet pan meal of lemon baked chicken with vegetables.
There are several part of this meal that make me love it. First, the lemon chicken is amazingly moist and tender. Marinating the chicken for an hour or two prior to cooking it helps to give it flavor and keep it moist. Giving it a quick sear it a hot pan prior to baking it also helps to keep it juicy and make the skin crispy. Second, the crunchy potatoes with a light coating of lemon, garlic goodness are delicious. Finally, a few smoky bites of bacon mixed in with the vegetables just make everything better. Can you omit the bacon? Certainly. I would not recommend it!
Any meal that can essentially cooked on one pan scores high with me. One pan to keep an eye on I can handle. One pan to clean at the end of the meal, my husband will do. A few extra dishes along the way, I can handle.
When I use my beat up old sheet pan I can’t help but think back to those college days, in our college kitchen, with our hodgepodge of utensils and bakeware. Me and roommate, Amanda, pretending to know how to cook. Dreading going to the grocery store every week. Catching the kitchen on fire, luckily only once. Those were the good old days. Now I buy herbs, look at sale lists, buy organic when possible, take pictures of my food and write about it for fun.