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Oven-Roasted Goodness

Updated: 11/1/21 3:00 pmPublished: 11/1/21
By Catherine Newman

Four delicious new recipes that take your oven-roasted sheet-pan dinners to the next level.

Some years I forget, over the course of the long, hot summer, about the deep pleasure of turning on the oven. I love it – the oven, I mean. Come fall, it warms my kitchen, it cooks my meals without me needing to hover around over the stovetop with a spatula, and it sends out great plumes of fragrant enticement, beckoning everyone to the table. Plus, roasting just makes everything more delicious, in that way that you suddenly need to use words like “burnished” and “caramelized” and “melting” to describe something as simple as a plate of meat and vegetables.

These are all basically sheet-pan dinners – the kind where you put a bunch of ingredients on a sheet-pan for 20 or 30 minutes in the oven and then pull out a complete and perfectly cooked dinner. While the chicken recipe does need to be nested securely inside something a little deeper than a sheet-pan – the vibe of the recipe is the same, as is the mantra: “Let the oven do your work.” These recipes are also relatively low in carbohydrates – with options to make them even lower-carb, if that’s what you need. And they all make great leftovers, if you’re lucky enough to encounter such a phenomenon in your home (i.e., you don’t have teenagers who, at 11 pm, eat a fourth daily meal called “second dinner.”)

Welcome, cooler weather. It turns out I’ve missed you.

Check out some other lovely oven-roasted meals:

1. Sheet-Pan Sausage and Peppers

Cooking sausages in the oven is such a surprising pleasure: they turn the exact shade of even, burnished brown you’re always hoping for when you panfry them, but there is no fussing or spattering. Plus, the peppers and onions are perfectly sweet and crisp-tender – and they achieve this at just the exact moment the sausages are done. It is all so good and so easy, and will probably end up in the regular rotation in your house too. Do try the pickled peppers and parsley garnishes if you can: they add just the right amount of freshness and zip here.

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2. Long-Roasted Chicken with Celery, Mint, and Lemon

This dish is just so incredibly simple and good. It’s a slight riff on a classic Persian celery stew that an Iranian friend made for us (okay, her non-Iranian husband is who actually made it for us). It spotlights humble celery and also employs the Middle Eastern power-duo of mint and lemon. In this falling-apart-tender roasted version, though, there’s the added benefit of the outrageously crisp and delicious chicken skin, which you’ll wish there were even more of. Feel free to use four leg quarters – that’s the thigh with the leg attached – if you prefer, or if that’s what’s on sale at your market.

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3. Tofu, Broccoli, and Radishes with Curried Peanut Sauce

Full disclosure: because my daughter is a vegetarian, we can actually go for weeks without cooking any meat. In other words, we are no strangers to the blank-canvas charms of a package of tofu. If you’re new to it, though, this is a great recipe to try: the tofu sponges up a bit of soy-vinegar flavoring before roasting to a perfect golden brown, fully unattended by you while the oven works its magic. Meanwhile, the broccoli and radishes turn roasty and tender alongside it, and then the creamy peanut sauce adds a hit of savory richness and spice. Could you make this exact dish but swap in chicken? You could! But tofu is so nourishing and tasty – and inexpensive – that you just might want to give it a try.

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4. Balsamic-Glazed Mini Meatloaves and Green Beans

This is the world’s easiest meal to put together: if your green beans are already trimmed, the pan will be ready to go into the oven before it’s even fully preheated. That’s partly because (as I’ve mentioned before) I’ve gotten so lazy with my meatloaf that I no longer even sauté an onion to add to it. I know! But it’s so good and richly flavorful you won’t miss it. (Or go ahead and add it if omitting it feels like heresy.) The balsamic vinegar does double duty here, sweetly tarting up the glaze for the meatloaf as well as glossing the beans. It’s so delicious that I can’t even recommend any substitutions.

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About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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About the authors

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop... Read the full bio »