Planning a week of meals was my time to relax and let go. I used to collect recipes through various websites, draw up a detailed shopping list, and spend countless minutes in the kitchen prepping. But one day, it all changed; when I had a new baby in the house. I had planned so carefully for caring for a baby I forgot about the rest of the family-the adults. The days where I could make recipes that took 2 hours were gone and for a long time, I missed delicious food as much as I missed a good night’s sleep.
To get my husband and me through the first year of parenthood we pretty much ate three meals: tacos, pizza, and pasta, selecting various sauce flavors to change things up a bit. It was easy…until it becomes boring…and then just awful. I had to change something. I started looking up one-pot meals and easy recipes with only a few ingredients. I found comfort in more flavor, but cooking was still hard; for example, standing in front of the stove tending to a pot when my attention needed to be on my ever-moving child.
Now, more than a year later, my toddler and I have an understanding that involves patience and a bit of independence. What this translates to is, “if you let Mommy chop you can have a piece of whatever she’s chopping” and “if I need an ingredient you can go find it.” This meant a disorganized bottom shelf of the pantry and some nights where you could swim in the cheerios on the floor but the tradeoffs were worth it!
With some rules set in place, I thought I had things under control. Until I found out about sheet pan cooking. Sheet pan cooking is using one pan to cook everything you’re having for dinner; pop it in the oven and you’re done. One of my favorite things about this book is that you are making an entire meal with one process: meat and veggies on one pan divided by a wire rack. You can sit down, or have time with your kids when everything is roasting.
I found Sheet Pan Suppers within a Wowbrary email and immediately reserved it at the library. It was January when I received it and the roasting recipes spoke to me. My favorite recipe from Molly’s Gilbert’s Sheet Pan Suppers is Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks and Charred Romaine. This recipe taught me that you can have a lovely winter salad by broiling romaine for 2 minutes-delicious! Another was Honey-Orange Shrimp with Baby Bok Choy, where you pretty much just mix up a sauce, toss it with the other ingredients and put it on a pan to roast. A third recipe I should mention is Roasted Sausage and Red Grapes with Polenta and Gorgonzola, a well-balanced satisfying meal that was unique, plus provided modifications if you didn’t like the idea of roasted grapes, but I had no trouble getting my child to eat grapes for dinner.
In addition to dinner recipes, Molly Gilbert provides awesome appetizers, snacks, and brunch recipes in chapters divided by proteins (or the lack thereof). I love it and would recommend this book to anyone looking for “120 recipes for simple, surprising hands-off meals straight from the oven”.