Quick and Make-Ahead Recipes

Easy meat, fish, and vegan meals plus make-ahead weekend cooking ideas set you up for a delicious week
Coq Au Vin

Photo Steve Painter, Ryland, Peters, and Small

Whether you want to make a quick and easy homemade dinner on a weeknight or devote some time to prep meals ahead on the weekend, new ideas, recipes, and tricks will help you along the way. Here are some sheet pan meal recipes that make quick work of dinner, including a lighter version of Coq Au Vin made with white wine rather than the customary red wine, and a vegan dish—jerk veggie skewers and a caper salad. If you are making breakfast for a group, want breakfast for dinner, or would like to have weekday breakfast ready to go, a quick take on a sheet pan frittata by Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell has you covered, plus she shows how cooking salmon from frozen is an easy trick. For additional quick meals and make-ahead ideas scroll down to check out recipes I have highlighted.

Coq Au Vin

Makes 4 Servings
Recipe by Jenny Tschiesche from “Sheet Pan Dinners: Over 150 All-in-One Dishes Including Meat, Fish, Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes” by Jenny Tschiesche and Liz Franklin

9 ounces unsmoked bacon, diced
6 banana shallots, halved
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
8 chicken thighs (skin on), cut in two if large
Sea salt, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon dry white wine
12 ounces mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 (14-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

  1. Heat the oven to 400˚F.
  2. Toss the bacon, shallots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary onto a sheet pan with sides. Arrange the chicken thighs on top.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Add the wine, mushrooms, and white beans and give everything a stir, then roast for another 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve, sprinkled with the parsley.

Nutrition (with chicken skin): Calories: 1050, Fat: 69g (Sat: 19 g), Cholesterol: 250mg, Sodium: 780mg, Carb: 20g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 74g

Jerk Veggie Skewers with Celeriac, Sultana, and Caper Salad

Photo Steve Painter, Ryland, Peters, and Small

Jerk Veggie Skewers with Celeriac, Sultana, and Caper Salad (Vegan)

Makes 4 Servings
Recipe by Liz Franklin from “Sheet Pan Dinners: Over 150 All-in-One Dishes Including Meat, Fish, Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes” by Jenny Tschiesche and Liz Franklin

I’ve teamed the zippy skewers up with a dreamy salad of crisp celery root and apple, peppered with salty capers and sweet plump golden raisins. Simplicity at its delicious best. –L.F.

1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange (bell) pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 medium zucchini, thickly sliced
7 ounces baby button mushrooms
7 ounces baby plum or cherry tomatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons jerk spice mix
2 teaspoons light muscovado sugar

For the Salad
1 small celery root
2 crisp eating apples
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon capers, drained
A small bunch of freshly chopped parsley
(No-Egg) Mayonnaise, to serve (see recipe below)

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and gather eight long wooden skewers. Push the prepared vegetables, mushrooms, and tomatoes onto the skewers, alternating them as you go. Lay them on a large, flat sheet pan.
  2. Mix the oil, jerk spice mix, and sugar together in a bowl and brush this over the vegetables. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft, but retaining a little bite.
  3. To make the salad, peel the celery root, cut it into slices, and then into fine julienne. Transfer to a large bowl. Core the apples, cut them into similar sized strips, and add to the bowl, together with the raisins and capers.
  4. Add the (No-Egg) Mayonnaise to the celery root and apple salad and stir in the chopped parsley. Serve alongside the veggie skewers.

(No-Egg) Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chickpea water (aquafaba)
1 scant tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Pinch sea salt
2/3 cup sunflower oil

Put the chickpea water, mustard, and cider vinegar into a jug and add a pinch of salt. Blitz with a stick blender until mixed. Slowly pour in the sunflower oil until the mixture has emulsified and thickened.

Nutrition: Calories: 760, Fat: 58g (Sat: 7 g), Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 410mg, Carb: 63g, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 32g, Protein: 8g

Sheet Pan Honey-Hoisin Salmon and Vegetables

Photo Terry Brennan, food styling by Lara Miklasevics

Sheet Pan Honey-Hoisin Salmon and Vegetables

Makes 4 Servings | Recipe by Robin Asbell from Real Food

Keep some frozen salmon fillets on hand, and don’t worry about remembering to thaw them—in this recipe they go into the oven frozen! Using a hot oven to roast the veggies, then sliding the fillets on top of the vegetables to cook is a streamlined plan for your meal. Choose thinner fillets for a quicker cooking time. –R.A.

8 ounces (about 2 cups) snap peas, stems and  strings removed
8 medium radishes, trimmed and quartered
4 small carrots, peeled and quartered
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 (4-ounce) frozen salmon fillets (see Cook’s Note)

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. On a large sheet pan, combine the snap peas, radishes and carrots and drizzle with sesame oil. Toss to coat. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables roast, mix the hoisin, honey, orange juice and garlic in a medium bowl or glass measuring cup.
  3. Remove the pan of hot vegetables from the oven and drizzle with half of the hoisin mixture, stir, then place the salmon fillets on top of the vegetables and drizzle salmon with remaining sauce.
  4. Return the pan to oven and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Test by piercing the center of a fillet with a paring knife to see if it’s cooked through.
  5. Serve warm vegetables topped with a salmon fillet.

Cook’s Note: To use fresh or thawed salmon in this recipe, start testing doneness 10 minutes after putting in the oven, depending on thickness.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 350, Fat: 18g (Sat: 4g), Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 330mg, Carb: 18g, Fiber: <1g, Sugar: 16g, Protein: 26g

Confetti Sheet Pan Frittata

Photo Terry Brennan, food styling by Lara Miklasevics

Confetti Sheet Pan Frittata

Makes 8 Servings | Recipe by Robin Asbell from Real Food

Whether you are feeding a crowd or just want to meal prep some healthy breakfasts, this is an easy and tasty solution. Simply spread a medley of colorful vegetables on a sheet pan and roast them, then pour a mix of Greek yogurt and eggs over them and top with cheese to bake. The thin layer bakes more quickly than a regular frittata, so breakfast—or any meal—will be on the table in less time. –R.A.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch broccoli, peel and chop stems (5 cups)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded (1 cup)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
10 large eggs
1½ cups nonfat Greek yogurt
2 ounces (about 2/3 cup) Gruyere cheese, shredded

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spread the olive oil on the bottom and sides of a rimmed 10×15-inch sheet pan, then combine the broccoli, pepper, and carrot on top of the oil. Sprinkle with thyme and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to coat the vegetables with oil and spread evenly in the pan. Roast for 10 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables roast, place the egg, yogurt and remaining salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. When the vegetables are tender, carefully pour the eggs over the vegetables in the pan, use the tip of your knife to shift bits of veg so egg will flow around them, and top with cheese.
  4. Bake until golden on top and puffed in the middle, about 25 minutes.

Recipes and photos from “Sheet Pan Dinners: Over 150 All-in-One Dishes Including Meat, Fish, Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes” by Jenny Tschiesche and Liz Franklin ©2022 used with permission from Ryland, Peter, and Small.  

Chili Lime Sheet Pan Chicken

Photo Terry Brennan, food styling by Lara Miklasevics

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.