Carrie Sanford recently made chicken tikka for her and her family. (Carrie Sanford/for Peninsula Daily News)

Carrie Sanford recently made chicken tikka for her and her family. (Carrie Sanford/for Peninsula Daily News)

PENINSULA KITCHEN: Sheet-pan dinners provide seasoning options

FEEDING A FAMILY with different tolerance levels for spice and flavor is definitely a common challenge.

The struggle is real.

As our daughter gets older, her willingness to try new flavors expands, which makes our go-to meal repertoire broader as well.

Back in the “little kid” days at Chez Sanford, a favorite trick of mine was to prep all the same ingredients and simply set aside a portion of the food before adding herbs and spices to serve to the kiddo.

A twist on this idea is to roast your whole dinner on one sheet pan.

Leave part of the pan spiceless while letting the rest of the pan carry the heat and seasoning to fulfill the needs of the adults and adventurous younger eaters at the table.

There are plenty of sheet-pan dinner variations, and you can certainly make up your own combinations.

For the sake of time and ease, I’ll share one of my tried-and-true favorite ­versions adapted from a recipe I love.

The basics of all sheet-pan dinners are the same: chop up vegetables, toss them with olive oil and spices (just salt and pepper for the “plain” side of the tray).

Then put the vegetables on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Add seasoned and/or plain protein and roast in the oven preheated to 425 degrees.

The flavors and cooking times vary depending upon what combinations you choose.

Don’t let the amount of spices listed be daunting. Head to your favorite natural food store and stock up at the bulk counter.

It’s best to use fresh spices anyway, so just get a little of each and you won’t break the bank.

Each of these trays feeds our family of three with some leftovers.

You’ll need to increase your cooking time if you do two trays at once.

Potatoes, Brussels sprouts, apples and meats are readily available from local farmers at markets and stores around the Peninsula even as we’re still in the throes of winter.

Take heart, though. Spring is coming, and all manner of local ingredients will burst onto the scene.

Pick your pleasure.

If you come up with a favorite combination of a sheet-pan dinner, I’d love to hear about it at CarrieJ


Carrie Sanford, who shares the Peninsula Kitchen column with Betsy Wharton, is a mother, wife, educator, artist, activist and cook.

She writes the newsletter for Salt Creek Farm in Joyce during the growing season and volunteers with nonprofits and schools in Port Angeles, where she lives with her husband, Tom Sanford, and their daughter, Abby.

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