A sheet pan dinner, such as this one with stuffed pork chops and vegetables, is an easy option that limits dishes and cook time. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

The chops were thick, perfect for slicing open and cramming with flavorful stuffing made with celery, onion, and dried cranberries. We put them in the middle of the pan, and crowded sliced delicata squash, Brussels sprouts, and potato wedges — all tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper — around them. Oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, and dinner was ready.

It seems that the ideal sheet pan dinner has ingredients that can all cook together for the same amount of time, that all need the same marinade or sauce, and that you can pull out of the oven and serve. If it needs stirring or an ingredient or two added partway through, I’d rather cook it in a wide skillet on the stove top where I can keep an eye on it.

The goal is to keep prepping down to a dull roar and minimize bowls, pots and pans, so that clean up is easy. Plus, with sheet pans you get flavors to mingle around each other during the cooking process. Obviously, this is possible with skillet suppers, too.

You don’t have to get an official sheet pan to cook your dinner in. Full-size sheet pans measure 18 by 26 inches, with a low rim. If you’re cooking for two, you don’t need to use a large pan unless you are aiming for leftovers, so please know that half- and quarter-sheet pans are also available.

Or you can just use a baking pan. I use a shallow roasting pan.

If this pork chop dinner appeals, remember that you will want a green vegetable like broccoli, Brussels sprouts or big green beans; a yellow vegetable like carrots, sweet potato or chunks of winter squash, potatoes, or perhaps cauliflower.

For the stuffing, use whatever you like best: homemade or packaged. Enhance it with onion, garlic, celery, or as we did, dried cranberries. If your pork chops aren’t thick, place a spoonful of stuffing right on the pan lined with parchment paper for easier clean up, and place the pork chop on top. We adorned the vegetables with olive oil, and generously sprinkled salt and pepper over all.

What follows is a non-recipe recipe.

P.S. You can substitute boneless chicken thighs for pork chops, only wrap the thighs around the stuffing when you place them on the baking sheet.

Stuffed Pork Chop Sheet Dinner

1 thick-cut pork chop person, sliced open to the bone
½ cup stuffing per chop, prepared
½ delicata squash per person, seeded and sliced
1 medium potato per person, cut in wedges
3-4 Brussels sprouts, per person
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking or sheet pan with parchment paper.

Spread the chop open and fill the space with stuffing, close, pressing sides together and place on the baking pan.

Arrange the vegetables on the pan around the chops. Dribble olive oil over the vegetables, and salt and pepper all.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, and serve.

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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...