…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? I use heavy duty quarter- and half-sheet pans for just about everything I put in my oven and freezer. I use U.S-made heavy duty, restaurant quality sheet pans because they will not warp or rust. The best ones are made with high quality aluminum and stainless steel to withstand temperatures of up to 500º F without twisting or warping. They will not rust, peel or discolor and will last for years, it you take care of them.
These sheet pans distribute heat evenly, giving you the perfectly baked result every time. They are also multi-use, food safe and easy to clean. Use for all oven cooking techniques baking, roasting, broiling, grilling, air frying and dehydrating. Now you can bake like a pro, too, producing a perfect cookie, biscuit, jelly roll, sheet cake or artisanal bread.
A stainless-steel wire rack is ideal for cooling baked goods as well as drying decorated sugar cookies or drizzled cinnamon buns or coffee cake. The rack and pan can be used in the oven to grill meat, crisp bacon, make chicken wings and “barbecue” ribs. They also help to make perfect sheet pan meals when you want your family to enjoy dining together.
You don’t need the fancy, expensive non-stick or anodized sheet pans if you use a sheet of parchment paper every time you use the pans. Parchment paper prevents spills from getting baked on or keeps your cookies from getting stuck and it only costs about a penny a sheet.
That said, sometimes accidents do happen and you get a little build-up of baked on fats or food. Don’t let it remain there—polish your sheet pans up. Here are a few ChefSecrets on the best ways to clean a dirty sheet pan and keep it clean. You can use baking soda and vinegar, dryer sheets (yes, dryer sheets), or hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to clean your sheet pans.
According to Allrecipes here are the best ways to clean your sheet pans and remove stubborn stains. Personally, I can’t stand to cook on dirty or discolored, food encrusted pot, pans or sheet pans. Sometimes no amount of scrubbing and soaking seems to get any of that burnt goo off. It may just be time to put aside the soap and water try one of these methods for cleaning stubborn stains and residue. So before you toss those dirty pans, give these methods of cleaning sheet pans a try.
This method uses items you'll already have in your cupboard to help loosen the residue and keep your pans clean. Fill your sink with hot water and add equal parts baking soda and white vinegar (about half a cup of each). Make sure your sink is plugged. Submerge your pans in the mixture and allow them to soak for between 30 minutes to an hour. Use some elbow grease and give the pan a serious scrub, using the coarse side of a sponge. Scrub in a circular motion to avoid noticeable scratching (although some scratching may still occur). Once you've scrubbed to your heart's content, give the pan a good hand wash with soap and water to remove the vinegar smell, and dry immediately to avoid rust. Voilà, clean sheet pans.
Try using dryer sheets—you read that right. This laundry room staple works wonders on grimy sheet pans. I don’t know how the magic works but leave your sheet pan in the sink or on the counter with one or two dryer sheets, dish soap and fill the pan with warm water. Let it sit for 2 to 3 hours. To finish, throw out the dryer sheets and dump the water out of the pan. Any caked-on food should lift easily with soap, water and a sponge.
Try a little peroxide and baking soda from your first aid supplies. This this method makes cleaning dirty sheet pans a breeze. It should be noted that this method is likely too harsh for sheet pans with non-stick coatings (but you don’t need to own non-stick sheet pans).
Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste. Spread the mixture across the surface of the pan and allow it to sit for 2 to 3 hours. Use a sponge to wipe away the paste. No harsh scrubbing should be needed!
Keeping Your Sheet Pans Clean?
Now that your sheet pans are grime and gunk free—keep it that way. The simplest way to keep your sheet pans clean all the time is to use parchment paper or aluminum foil when cooking with them. And remember, scratches and stains are signs of your pans being put to good use, and that's not such a bad thing.
So Let’s Get “Sheet Panning!”
The genius behind this oven-baked spin on one-pot-cooking is that it makes for simple prep, no-fuss cooking and speedy clean-up. And all that's true, as long as you keep these simple tips in mind:
You’ve got to use the right baking sheet pan dinners—a half-sheet pan. It's made of heavy-gauge metal, measures 18 by 13 inches, and has a 1-inch rim all the way around. It's sturdy enough to take high oven heat and broiler heat if your recipe calls for it. The size allows for ingredients to be spread out so you don't crowd the pan. Crowded pans make for mushy meals because the ingredients steam instead of roast. The 1-inch rim is low enough for heat to move across the ingredients to give them a crisp, brown, caramelized finish. Jellyroll pans may look the same, but they're generally smaller and flimsier than half-sheet pans. The good news about half-sheet pans is that they're multi-taskers that you'll use again and again for lots of sheet pan dinners.
You must line the sheet pan for easy clean-up. Today you see lots of blog photos of sheet pan dinners where the pan is all crusty with baked-on bits. Ewww, Ick! You're not making sheet pan dinners to get stuck in the kitchen scrubbing pans. So, line the sheet pan with heavy-duty foil or parchment paper (not waxed paper). You might have to do a little light washing later, but a well-lined pan cleans up in a jiffy.
A word about aluminum foil… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but aluminum foil isn’t what it used to be. It seems to be somewhat porous and leaky—even the heavy duty stuff. So, always remember to wipe down the sheet pan to get rid of any residual oil or food particles.
Start your layers with sturdy root vegetables like potatoes and carrots which take much longer to cook than softer vegetables like green beans, asparagus and tomatoes. Depending on what else you're adding to the pan, you should roast the denser vegetables for 30 minutes or more before adding the other vegetables to the pan. In this recipe for Greek Lemon Chicken and Potato Bake, small whole potatoes cook along with bone-in chicken leg quarters for 45 minutes, then the green beans are added 15 minutes before the pan comes out of the oven. If you cut the denser vegetables into small pieces, they'll need a shorter head start.
Grease ‘em up! To ensure that vegetables don't dry out while they're cooking, make sure you completely coat them with oil. The best way to do this is to put them into a large bowl and add the oil and any other seasonings in your recipe. Then stir with a spoon or with your hands to cover everything thoroughly. A smart move is to do the dense vegetables first and get them started in the oven (see tip #3), then use what's in the same bowl to coat the softer vegetables that will be added to the pan later.
Most sheet pan dinners can be baked right on the sheet pan without an insert pan rack—that's how you get those tasty, caramelized surfaces. But let's say you want to bake breaded chicken or fish along with vegetables. To keep that crisp coating from getting soggy from the veggies, use a wire rack to raise the breaded ingredients above the moisture in the pan. Use the same approach when you're roasting a cut of beef or pork so the juices baste the ingredients while the meats gets browned.
Sheet pan dinner can be loaded with flavor. I use seasoning blends like jerk seasoning, Old Bay, za'atar, Chinese five-spice powder, garam masala or Italian seasoning. Add the spice by including chiles like fresh jalapeños or serrano peppers, canned chipotles, crushed red pepper, dried cayenne or ancho chili powder. You can even add sauces and drizzles like wasabi sour cream, herbed aioli, maple syrup, olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Don’t forget about texturizers like pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts or walnuts. Add a little acid with a squeeze on or zest over some citrus like lemon, grapefruit, lime, or orange. And finally don’t forget the fresh aromatics like cilantro, parsley, oregano, basil, green onion or thyme just before serving.
Greek Lemon Chicken & Potato Sheet Pan Dinner
One pan sheet pan dinners are great especially because you can just toss everything together—no measuring of exact ingredients are involved. This is a great meal when you don’t have the time or patience to baby sit dinner in a hot kitchen. This turns out great every time. Serve it with a side yogurt tzatziki sauce.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Oil for the pan
4 chicken leg-thigh quarters
24 ounces small potatoes (or small potato chunks)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 fresh lemons, juiced, divided
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Greek seasoning or lemon and herb seasoning
12 ounces fresh green beans
ChefSecret: To brown the tops of chicken and potatoes, place the sheet pan under a preheated broiler for about 5 minutes, to get everything bit crispy. And don't forget the tzatziki sauce!
Quip of the Day: “Start every day off with a smile and get it over with before reality sets in.”
Do you have a question or comment? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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