I love to go to the grocery store this time of year and see the beautiful cornucopias of squashes and pumpkins piled high in the produce section. Sometimes I just stand there and take it all in, as if I am a sponge absorbing a moment of divine rapture. I pretend that am in a still life painting, mesmerized by all the patterns, colors, and shapes. Of course I speculate about all the wonderful concoctions I could make with those pumpkins and squashes. Butternut squash soup! Julia Child’s pumpkin pie! Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese! And a recipe from susanalsembach.com for a “sheet pan dinner” of chicken, grapes, and vegetables.
For those of you who don’t know yet, “sheet pan dinners” are definitely a “thing”. That is a meal where a cook roasts all the ingredients together on a single sheet pan and that translates to ease of preparation and minimal cleanup. You know how much I love simplicity! There are no pots and pans, and just a few utensils to wash. Most sheet pan recipes include a protein, vegetable and starch, all sprinkled with herbs and seasonings. The result is a flavorful and nutritionally balanced one-pan meal that you can whip together on a moment’s notice. These recipes are the perfect “un-recipes” because you can easily switch up the ingredients and use what you have on hand. Here goes:
One Pan Chicken, Grapes, and Veggies
2 pounds chicken drumsticks
1 acorn squash, cubed
8 cups green beans, trimmed
2 cups seedless grapes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh thyme
½ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400⁰. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle the olive oil over everything, season with thyme and salt and toss a few times. Roast it for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken cooks through.
I sometimes wonder why recipes are so specific. It seems to me that you could make this with any parts of the chicken – breasts, wings, or thighs. Why does it have to be just legs? The pieces might cook at different rates and you’d have to keep an eye on it. The recipe is better with fresh thyme but dried works well too. Don’t have green beans? Try zucchini or asparagus. The grapes are what make this recipe delicious. When biting into a warm, succulent grape the juice will explode all over the inside of your mouth with tender sweetness. I like to add small potatoes; the addition of starch makes the dish more complete and flavorful and I stay full much longer. Now I can be in a still life painting that also has great flavor! Yum!