These are all real quotes, prompted by a gift that Host Mom Page E. sent me– a cookbook called Sheet Pan Suppers, by Molly Gilbert.
This is the first time I’ve received a cookbook to consider on AuPairMom. I was excited to try it out to see whether these were recipes to recommend to you.
What tempted me was the comparison to the crock pot. ‘A one pot meal that’s roasted and crispy‘.
What sold me was discovering that every recipe Page had flagged with a post-it made my mouth water.
I’ve tried two of the Sheet Pan Suppers so far– Chicken & Broccoli in Sriracha Peanut Sauce, and Chicken & Cauliflower in a Mediterranean marinade.
I judge a cookbook on two criteria–
(1) is there more than one recipe that I’ll ever make? and
(2) Do things turn out well if you substitute, adjust, or not really pay attention?
Sheet Pan Suppers is a winner on both counts. I’ve substituted different veggies and cuts of chicken so that I could use what I’d already purchased. And I measured and timed things in my own absent-minded way, and it all came out delicious anyway.
See the photo, of last night’s adventure with Chicken & Cauliflower. Notice the empty space on the lower right, where a piece of chicken was removed and eaten before I could get my iphone to take the picture.
Sheet Pan Suppers turned out to be a total lifesaver for me, with an au pair who didn’t have a lot of confidence in the kitchen. The book offers “one pot cooking” without the soupiness of a crockpot – instead, every meal is made on a trusty sheet pan (so you can get roasted flavors, crispy edges, yum….).
These recipes are a working mom’s dream: I use it all the time with my au pair because it allows me to have a little control over a good meal prepared well, but gives her a lot of the cooking credit!
I can assemble the meal on the sheet pan in the morning and pop it in the fridge; she pulls it out in the evening and puts it in the oven – and then she serves a dinner that the kids love. It’s also a healthy meal that I feel happy to have my kids eating. One-pan clean-up is a snap. Everyone wins.
(cv’s note: if you line the sheet pan with foil, all you need to do is fold the foil up, throw it away, and viola– cleanup is done!)
I want my au pair to get praise for making a dinner everyone likes – to help build her confidence in the kitchen and especially to keep her looking great in my kids’ eyes. But I like to have a little (um, maybe a lot) over what everyone’s eating so it’s not mac and cheese all the time.
She and my kids especially like the chicken/broccoli/peanut sauce and the Stromboli (which they like for the dipping-in-marinara part, and I like as a late-in-the-week meal because even on Friday all the ingredients are still in good shape from a Saturday morning grocery shop without requiring freezing – and remembering to defrost! – during the week.)
Also for what it’s worth – my most recent au pair and I have different views of what “a serving” of broccoli was (hers is more of a garnish, mine a big pile of green on the plate – honestly don’t know if that’s cultural, or just different families/different habits, or if she secretly hates vegetables).
These recipes took the guesswork out of vegetable portions for both of us – I put what I considered “enough” on the sheet pan, and then was assured there’d be enough to feed hungry kids happy with no complaints.
(But I will also say, these recipes are so good that they usually ALL get eaten. Apologies for anyone who comes home later looking for leftovers.)
I was planning to offer up my copy as a prize to a random reader who shares a funny au pair cooking comment between now and Monday night…. but I smeared the pages with Scriracha so that wasn’t going to work. Page has offered to send a clean, fresh copy directly to the winner— so folks, start commenting!
Also, you can check out the book and even buy it at Amazon. This isn’t an affiliate link– I’m happy to test out and recommend things that you host parents and au pairs have worked on and/or believe in.
Also, I want to make it easier to for you to enjoy the Sriracha Peanut Chicken & Broccoli. Which I am cooking for the third time tonight. I’ll eventually get to the other recipes, but the family has asked for this one… again.
(I’ll draw a random number between 1 and however many comments we get by Monday at 9, and then that commenter will get a copy of Sheet Pan Suppers.)