Pressure cookers like Instant Pots have become wildly popular recently, due in large part to the fact that they cook everything quickly in a single vessel — which means less fuss and less time spent cooking and cleaning up. But pressure cookers aren't the only game in town when it comes to quickly cooking meals with one item of cookware: Don't forget about your humble sheet pans and skillets when you're looking to make easy and speedy dinners!
"Is there seriously anything better than a one-pan dinner?" asks Chungah Rhee, the blogger behind Damn Delicious and author of the new book "Damn Delicious Meal Prep". Rhee adds, "It's quick, it's easy and it calls for the SPEEDIEST clean up ever!" Indeed, the low-tech sheet pan or skillet is the secret dinnertime weapon of many chefs and food pros, including Rhee, Giada De Laurentiis, Dorie Greenspan, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Carla Snyder, Molly Yeh and Melissa Clark, all of whom shared their go-to sheet-pan and skillet dinners with BETTER. Read on for ten irresistible and easy weeknight dinners they love, including chicken, seafood, pork and vegetarian options — and even a sheet-pan pizza.
To prove her point about the ease and speed of one-pan dinners, Chungah Rhee shared this recipe for sheet-pan salmon and vegetables with teriyaki sauce. Everything cooks in one pan and the whole process takes a mere 30 minutes, start to finish. Rhee's recipe calls for green beans and carrots but she notes that you could use any vegetables you like — this dish would be great with broccoli, for example. Just be sure to cut the veggies into small enough pieces that they cook at the same rate as the salmon.
"I love this recipe because it turns out an all-in-one dinner," says five-time James Beard Award-winning author Dorie Greenspan, who shared this recipe from her latest cookbook, "Everyday Dorie." The sides of baby potatoes and mushrooms cook right along with the chicken. "A quick toss in a mix of sweet-tangy balsamic vinegar, a few fresh herbs here and there, 40 minutes in the oven and you’ve got a weekday meal that you’d be happy to serve to company," adds Greenspan.
"Eggplant parm is notoriously difficult to master but this version is much simpler and even a little healthier than the original, making it an ideal weeknight dish," says TV personality, cookbook author and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis, who shared this recipe from her site Giadzy. "If you can’t find Japanese eggplant, any small eggplant or zucchini will work."
Giada De Laurentiis' recipe for sheet-pan salmon with fennel, tomatoes and olives is quick, tasty and wildly healthy — packing plenty of good fats from the fish, olives and olive oil. "The bright, bold flavors of olives and fennel are the perfect complement for the richness of wild-caught salmon," says De Laurentiis. "The best part? Clean up is a cinch."
"How do you revamp a classic?" asks Giada De Laurentiis. "Turn all the ﬂavors of a cacciatore into a great, tasty marinade, and then roast the marinated chicken on a sheet pan to speed up the cooking time. Marinate the chicken in the morning, and since it only needs 30 minutes in the oven, this is totally doable for a weeknight." De Laurentiis likes to serve the chicken with a bread salad — she toasts the bread right along with the chicken and instead of throwing away the juices from the chicken she adds them to the salad dressing.
"Here’s my take on sheet-pan suppers," says Bruce Weinstein, who shared some sheet-pan tips along with this pork recipe from the "Kitchen Shortcut Bible," which he co-authored with Mark Scarbrough. "People love them because they make things easy. But throwing everything on one pan at the same time can lead to overdone veggies or underdone meat. These things cook at different times. So our technique is to start the meat first to give it a head start and a good crust, then we add the veggies and they finish roasting together — all done just perfectly." Try the technique with the duo's pork tenderloin: Spread a fragrant mole sauce on the pork and roast for 10 minutes, then add the onions and squash and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. Hint: Extra marmalade from the mole can be used in Weinstein and Scarbrough's pressure cooker carnitas.
For another Italian accented take on the chicken dinner, try this easy one-skillet recipe from "One Pan, Whole Family" by Carla Snyder. "Cremini mushrooms add great flavor to this rustic dish but an assortment of wild mushrooms add even more deliciousness," says Snyder. "Try a mix of cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms to take this meal to the next level."
Lasagna can be a weeknight dinner with this 30-minute stove-top recipe, also from Carla Snyder's "One Pan, Whole Family." Everything cooks right in one skillet, even the noodles. "Don’t worry that the sauce is too loose or thin," Snyder advises. "The broth in the recipe will be absorbed as the pasta cooks so that when the dish is done, the pasta is tender and the sauce is meaty and cheesy good."
Here's another one of Carla Snyder's tasty one-skillet pasta dinners — the pasta is simmered in vegetable broth, lemon and water, which infuses the bow-ties with flavor, says Snyder, who shared this recipe from "One Pan, Whole Family." Snyder also shared this meal prep trick for getting clever with your crustaceans: "I like shrimp in every bite so it's worth the time it takes to cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. That way they curl up when cooked in a very nice way and it seems like you’ve doubled the shrimp in the recipe, but not."
Molly Yeh calls this sheet-pan pizza from her blog, My Name Is Yeh, "kind of a hybrid between a grandma pie and farmers market focaccia." Yeh adds: "It’s covered in a flavor combo that I can’t get enough of these days: broccolini, lemon, garlic and parmesan. Those four things are the perfect combination of bright/salty/sour/green, the kind of amazingness that can only really be made better on a bed of doughy crust and under a blanket of melty mozzarella." You could really make this pie with any toppings, though — just be sure to slice them thinly so they're done cooking by the time the crust is. Yeh also notes that the pizza is just as tasty at room temperature, so it's great for on-the-go meals like potlucks. "One thing that will send this over the top: Let loose with flaky salt on the crust," Yeh advises. "Do not hold back."
"I keep coming back to this super simple sheet-pan supper because it just works so well — it's extremely easy, yet beautiful and company worthy (and seems like it's a lot more work than it is)," says The New York Times contributor and cookbook author Melissa Clark, who shared this recipe from her book "Dinner: Changing the Game." Clark adds: "The harissa-marinated chicken and potatoes are cooked for 20 minutes first before the leeks are scattered on top of the pan, then the whole thing roasts for another 20 to 25 minutes. The chicken and potatoes get very crisp and golden, and the leeks turn tender and succulent. Don't miss the garnish of garlicky yogurt and herbs — it pulls the whole thing together. And definitely make sure to scrape up the reddish, harissa-imbued bits stuck to the edges of the pan — it's the best part. Like candy but savory and salty and just a little bit spicy."