11 Baking Pan Dinner Hacks for Dish Washing Haters

Some people read recipes and think, “that sounds delicious! I’ll make it tonight after work and the gym and before Netflix in bed!” I read a recipe and stop after the third item I will inevitably have to wash. I loathe washing dishes. Sure, I pull on some heinous rubber gloves and turn up a podcast (thank you, Reply All!) but I do not enjoy it. Especially when I’m just watching the last of my free moments slip down the drain.

As a result, my favorite recipes require little more than a few vegetable chops and sheet pan. Crank up the oven, spread everything onto a sheet pan, and you’re done. Just one item to wash. Even better, line that baby with aluminum foil and you don’t even have to wash it!

The following recipes are all single sheet pan dinners, so put those cookie sheets to work for something more than dessert!

1. Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Roasted Broccoli

Cooking Classy

Salmon is a very forgiving fish, so it’s ideal for this sheet pan recipe. The parmesan crust gives it a great depth of flavor and also protects it from drying out while providing a perfect crunch. Feel free to use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or even panko to save yourself a step. Get the recipe here.

2. Roasted Fall Vegetables with Italian Sausage

The perfect fall flavors all come together on one easy sheet pan in this recipe. You can usually even find the veggies pre-cut in the grocery store if you’re in a rush, especially the butternut squash. But use a good quality sausage, as the blistered crisped skin of these is the best part. Get the recipe here.

3. Roasted Shrimp with Polenta

The Pig and Quill

Buy a roll of pre-cooked polenta and slice it into round for the easiest dinner ever.  The polenta rounds go on the sheet pan first as they take a little longer to crisp up, and then you simply scatter the shrimp and tomatoes toward the end so the shrimp stay perfectly moist and tender. Technically two steps, but still only one sheet pan. Get the recipe here.

4. Roasted Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Babble

Replace a cold premade ceasar salad with this easy meal that will keep you warm without weighing you down on a chilly night. If you’ve never roasted lettuce before, this is the one to try because just like root vegetables, the lettuce gets crisp and caramelized, while the parmesan and panko turn a nutty golden brown on the chicken. Hot salad never tasted so good. Get the recipe here.

5. Sheet Pan Clambake with Mussels, Shrimp, and Chorizo

Real Simple

Just like the shrimp recipe above, this hearty clambake keeps everything on one sheet pan, but has you add the different elements in stages so nothing gets overcooked. This method means all the briny shellfish juices meld with the spicy oils of the chorizo to create some pretty amazing potatoes. A sprinkle of Old Bay and parsley brings the whole meal together. Get the recipe here.

6. Country Ham and Onion Quiche

The Kitchn

Admit it. There is rarely a time when you’re not in the mood for quiche. Especially with extra salty country ham and sweet melted onions. Put it all on a sheet pan and it’ll cook in no time, plus you’ll practically leap out of bed in the morning knowing this is for breakfast too. Well, maybe not leap, per se, but it’ll soothe a case of the Monday mornings. Get the recipe here.

7. Baked Eggs with Leeks and Mushrooms

Free form dinner at its best, this couldn’t get easier to assemble. Throw some leeks and mushrooms onto the sheet pan, then crack as many eggs as you’ve got all over it. It’s impossible to mess this up. Try it for dinner, then impress your friends by making it for a hands-off brunch. Once it’s in the oven, you’ll have both hands free for mimosas. Or bloody marys. Or one of each. Get the recipe here.

8. Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Zucchini

Cooking Classy

If you eat it with zucchini, chicken parm just got healthy, right? I’m declaring it so. Feel free to use whatever veggies looks good at the market or arrive in your CSA to round this out if zucchini has gone out of season. Get the recipe here.

9. Grandma Pizza

Just like the pizza you grew up with on Fridays in the cafeteria, it just tastes better when it’s square. Top it with all of your favorites and save cash on delivery. Now it’s Friday whenever you need it! Get the recipe here.

10. Chicken Fajitas

The Yummy Life

The healthiest Mexican option you can find, these chicken fajitas cook up faster than you make guacamole. Multi-colored bell peppers pack vitamins and flavor into dinner, while poblanos and taco seasoning lend a spicy and smoky punch. Get the recipe here.

11. Chicken with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Taste Food Blog

The secrets to this recipe are smoked paprika and greek yogurt. The yogurt provides both a richness and tangy note, while the smoked paprika gives this dish a fruity earthy pop. Plus, this dish is equally good hot or cold, making it ideal for lunch the next day. Two meals, one pan? Can’t beat that. Get the recipe here.

Header image: Foodie with Family

Vanessa W. Simmons is a former cook living in San Francisco, helping to run a food business. She's probably hungry, but if not she could eat.

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