What’s Cookin’ in Kelli’s Kitchen -- Sheet Pan Strategy Happy New Year!

  • 2023-02-10, 07:49 AM
  • Kelli Kelly
What’s Cookin’ in Kelli’s Kitchen -- Sheet Pan Strategy Happy New Year!… Kelli Kelly

Sometimes, I just take a moment to appreciate myself. That might sound egotistical, but I beg to differ. I am not reflecting upon my self-perceived greatness. I am reveling in my ridiculousness, my flights of fancy, my love of alliteration, my overabundant use of punctuation, and my vigilant defense of the oxford comma. I am a nerd, a geek, and a wonk. That might be a strange preamble to an article about cooking, but let it serve as words of preparation and warning. Because, this week, I am pleased to announce the creation of a third culinary strategy–the Sheet Pan Solution.  
    The Sheet Pan Solution was born of necessity. It was 5:15 p.m., I was tired, unmotivated, and yet dinner still needed to be prepared. According to my husband, pasta is delicious but pasta three nights in a row is unacceptable, so the Pasta Postulate was of no use. The Taco Tactic felt overwhelming to execute, so much chopping. So I formulated a plan: I would go to the store, buy some ingredients that seemed to go together, and roast them all on a sheet pan. Easy Peasy.
This strategy is perhaps the simplest of them all and yet, it can yield amazingly delicious results.
    The best part is that the Sheet Pan Solution involves “no recipe” recipes.  
Cooking is fun. Cooking is easy. Everyone can cook. You don’t need a recipe. 
Just follow some simple guidelines and give it a try. First, I will share some helpful hints about sheet pan cooking. Then, for those of you that feel like you need a recipe, I will share the step-by-step for my sheet pan dinner from last night.

Basic Sheet Pan Cooking Guidelines

1. Choose a Protein - seafood, chicken, pork, beef, or tofu
2. Choose some Veggies - use more than you think you need as veggies lose quite a bit of volume when roasted in the oven.  Google is your friend to identify fun veggie and fruit pairings.
3. Build some Flavor 
a. Fat is Flavor - the easiest and most ubiquitous fat in sheet pan cooking is olive oil. But you can get creative with duck fat, bacon grease, coconut oil, and more.
b. Herbs and Spices - the colonel got this one right. Whole spices and sturdy, stemmy herbs are well-suited for sheet pan cooking. Think rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaves.
c. Be Bold - smashed garlic cloves, whole slices of citrus, and chiles.
d. Finish the Job - add delicate ingredients at the end like basil, mint, green onions, or cilantro; pickled onions, vinegar, a squeeze of lemon; crumbled feta, cotija, or parmesan; salsa, chutney, or relish.
4. Cooking your Meal
a. You will want to start with the items that take longer to cook and add in ingredients as appropriate.
b. Fat is your friend - make sure to give everything a good drizzle of oil before roasting.
c. Season well with salt and pepper
d. Placement matters - the closer the sheet pan is to the heat source, the quicker your ingredients will get crisp and brown.  Also, items at the edges of the sheet pan will cook more quickly than those in the center.
e. I cook my sheet pan dinners at 400°, typically starting with 20 minutes and adjusting cooking time as needed based on ingredients.

Kelli’s Sheet Pan Sea Bass


2 sea bass filets
1 head of fennel - trimmed and cut into wedges
2 shallots - peeled, root end intact, cut into wedges
1 bunch of broccolini, trimmed
1 cara cara orange, cut into thick slices
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provence


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line sheet pan with parchment or foil.
2. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and scatter them on the sheet pan. Top with sliced oranges.
3. Roast vegetables for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pat fish dry, drizzle with olive oil, season well with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence.
4. When your veggies are soft and starting to caramelize (or char, yum), position the seasoned fish in the middle and continue to roast until the fish is cooked through.


Kelli Kelly



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