A Tale of Two Dinners – Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Veggies
Before I had children I was full of parenting wisdom. Limited screen time! Educational toys! No whining! Eat what I cook! Six years later... my kids have their own tablets, Paw Patrol has exploded in my house, and one of my most frequent phrases is, “I don’t hear whining.” (We all know this is a lie, I definitely hear it.)
Also, my kids certainly don’t always appreciate my meals. I’ve stuck with it, though. I only make one dinner each night. That means fish sticks, macaroni, and spaghetti make frequent appearances and I occasionally use “positive reinforcement” (bribery) to get the kids to try a new meal. Some nights I’m just not up for a dinnertime persuasion challenge. That’s where recipes like this month’s come in handy. Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Veggies.
I love a recipe that allows me to customize kid and grownup meals without making multiple dinners. Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Veggies does just that. I’ve made a couple different variations and found the sweet spot for my family. It also packs a nutritional punch. Lean protein, colorful veggies, and fruit for the kids. And the best part is that it’s so easy! There’s some vegetable prep up front, but then you just pop the tray in the oven and check it once. There’s minimal dishes to clean up, so your total working time is less than 30 minutes.
I make a double batch of this dinner. I figure I might as well use two baking sheets and save myself some time and effort later in the week. Everything reheats well, and it also makes a great lunch. I actually put the roasted squash and sweet potatoes on my oatmeal for breakfast. Plus, my kids complain about seasoning, so using two pans lets me keep the flavors separate
Here’s the recipe…
Grown Ups’ Tray
1.5 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken breast
1 small to medium butternut squash
1 8-10 ounce bag of your favorite shredded vegetable salad (I like Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 large sweet potatoes
2 large apples
Preheat the oven to 400 and line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper (the pans are a bear to clean otherwise)
Peel and chop the squash, sweet potatoes, and apples into 1 inch cubes
Place the chicken breasts skin side up on one-third of a sheet pan. Add the cubed squash to the same tray in a single layer (you may have extra squash, depending on the size you had.)
Place the chicken thighs on one side of the other sheet pan. Add the sweet potato cubes in a single layer
Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and stir in 1 Tbsp. honey and ½ tsp cinnamon, drizzle on the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Add some sage to the breasts (I used about ¼ tsp)
Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage. Toss to coat.
Put both trays in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Pull the trays out and carefully flip the chicken breasts and stir the squash. Add the apples to the sweet potatoes and stir. Check the chicken thighs, they might be done at this point.
Bake 20 minutes. Turn the breasts over once more and check the veggies. At this point the kids’ tray should be totally done. The grown ups’ tray might be done as well, it depends on the size of the chicken breasts. They need to be 165 degrees for food safety.
Bake the grown ups’ tray until the chicken is done. Remove it and the squash to a plate and tent with foil.
Toss the shredded veggies on the grown ups’ tray and drizzle on 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Stir it up carefully and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes (until the veggies are nice and browned)
Serve and enjoy!!!
A few notes…
Cooking times will vary based on the size of your chicken pieces, so it’s important to use a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked through. The bone and skin help keep the breasts juicy, and it’s almost impossible to overcook chicken thighs.
I like to get my squash and shredded veggies really caramelized. If that’s not your jam, you might want to take it out a little early. I also tossed the extra squash that didn’t fit on my sheet pan in a little butter and honey and stuck it in the oven.
This is definitely a flexible recipe! Swap out your squash varieties and change up the shredded veggie blend. Choose your favorite herbs (rosemary was also delicious). This is more of a method than a strict recipe.