postmodyrn reads (and eats): Sheet Pan Suppers
If you are following us on Instagram it may look as though we’ve transitioned to being a food blog, so many pictures of food am I posting these days. That’s not true, of course; we’re still focused on the lifestyles of the 4th Trimester Mamas out there. The genesis of the Insta food obsession is a cookbook we received a few weeks ago from our friends at Workman Publishing, Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert.
One of the oft-repeated pieces of advice from our contributing wellness experts and chefs is that the make-ahead meal is the great friend of the 4th Trimester mom. Something simple and homemade, requiring minimal prep and minimal cleanup, is always going to make you feel better than another take-away pizza. Moreover, your body is facing unparalleled nutritional demands in order to keep up with breastfeeding and lack of sleep; you owe it to yourself to take in fuel from fresh, whole foods.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But there’s this little issue of lack-of-time / lack-of-energy / lack-of-free hands now that you have a baby. We get it. THIS is the genius of Sheet Pan Suppers. One pan. Simple recipes. And, with the exception of flipping the occasional chicken breast, you preheat the oven, pop in the meal, and walk away until the timer dings. Change a diaper, chat with your partner (what??), breastfeed, catch up on Facebook…those 10-40 minutes are all yours, mama!
Case in point: I will spare you the gory details but this week a vicious stomach bug ripped through my family (for the gory details, you can read my personal blog, here). With the children sick and exhausted, it was all we could do to keep up with the laundry (seven loads one night alone) much less think about dinner.
Lucky for my husband and myself, however, I had dubbed this #sheetpanweek and over the previous weekend stocked up on five days’ worth of ingredients for some of the weeknight-friendlier recipes in the book. And so while we alternated with back rubs and floor scrubbing and bed stripping, I stole ten minutes to throw each night’s dinner into the oven.
Once the poor babies passed out we sat down to eat. What meals they were! Simple baked eggs over greens, briny roasted tuna Nicoise with a tangy tarragon dressing, sriracha-spiked peanut chicken and broccoli, baked meatballs with oven-roasted tomatoes and arugula, pancetta brussels sprouts…Not too bad for a stressful Tuesday, right? This is one-pot-cooking at its finest.
I should add that in “planning and researching” (i.e. food shopping and salivating), I spent quite a bit of time reading Gilbert’s quippy narratives in the book. As a writer and a blogger, I can’t help but appreciate a cookbook that’s as entertaining as it is useful. Gilbert writes with an engaging, accessible style that is a pleasure to read. She is a blogger herself — surprisingly, primarily about desserts — at the site Dunk & Crumble, and she brings a lot of that personality to her pages. This is a gal I could have a meal with.
Maybe someday I will. But in the meantime, I will definitely be breaking in my new sheet pans this year…
Wanna get started? Need a sheet pan? I got mine at Sur La Table and so far they’re awesome. Plus they come in a set of two, which comes in handy.
For my real-life Sheet Pan Supper pix, you can check us out on Instagram (#sheetpanweek).