All my helpful kitchen assistants evaporate shortly after meals have finished. Even Luke the wonder dog knows that the show is over, and there won’t be any more tasty tidbits falling from the cutting board. He has taken up his sentry post by the pantry door, waiting anxiously for his postprandial rawhide chewy. No loyalty.
Everyone deserts the hapless cook and the aprés dinner dish washing. But I am learning to fool those casual diners, by using fewer cooking pans. One of our favorite chicken dishes is what we call Chicken Schnitzel. Usually we flour the flattened chicken breast, dip it in egg, then slather it with Panko bread crumbs before putting frying the chicken in a skillet of hot oil. That means we usually employ three fancy Sur la Table metal pans for the flour, egg and bread crumbs, and the skillet. With this new recipe we eliminated a step or two, a couple of pans, and some calories, I hope!
This recipe eliminates the flour, and calls for a sheet of parchment paper lining a baking sheet. We are cooking the chicken in the oven, instead of frying. So no oil to dispose of, and no greasy pan to wash up afterwards. And no grease-splattered stovetop. Genius! https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/sheet-pan-chicken-parmesan (I would suggest tossing everything on the cookie sheet at the same time, instead of in the suggested stages. By the time our chicken was ready, the garlic had self-immolated.) This was a great way to use up the last handful of garden cherry tomatoes, too. The chicken was hot and crispy, without the looming specter of fried food hanging over the meal and our clogging heart vessels.
You can use sheet pans for more than cookies or Sunday bacon. The single sheet pan mindset allows for relaxing breathing space, instead of the wizardry called for in simultaneously cooking and coordinating separate frying pans and saucepans. You can cook chicken, asparagus and potatoes on one sheet, and laugh your way through clean up. Plus you can sit down at the counter and read another chapter of Fleishman Is in Trouble instead of standing and stirring, and timing. Why, a glass of cheap white wine is an excellent idea for the frazzled cook! Pour away!
Chicken, Asparagus and Potatoes:
Food52 always has excellent ideas for sheet pan meals: https://food52.com/blog/23683-best-sheet-pan-dinner-recipes-chicken-eggs-vegetables
You can plan a whole week of sheet pan meals thanks to Epicurious: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/weekly-meal-plan-sheet-pan-dinners-back-to-school-article
And some more! Thanks, Damn Delicious! https://damndelicious.net/2017/04/29/10-sheet-pan-dinners/
What will you do with your new-found time?
“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”