This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.
Sheet pan meals are my absolute favorite quick weeknight meal because you can prep them entirely ahead of time. While they’re baking, your hands are free to do other tasks, like empty the dishwasher or prep for the next day’s meal. This Sheet Pan Pomegranate Orange Chicken recipe from manitobachicken.ca looks festive and contains warm spices like cinnamon and cumin as well as fresh orange and pomegranate.
Sheet pans are versatile
The great thing about this cooking method is that you can use any vegetable, and seasoning that you like. For example, this recipe contains squash, which we’re all not crazy about in our house so I’m swapping it for sweet potato. There are a few other substitutions you could make in this recipe if you don’t have the ingredients, for example, you can use carrots instead of parsnips, or cranberry juice instead of pomegranate juice.
This sheet pan builder shows you how to use any cut of fresh Manitoba chicken to make endless sheet pan combinations.
Depending on the cut of chicken you decide to use, your cooking time will vary. This is something to consider when you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal and want to keep the cook time within 30 minutes. Bone-in pieces such as breasts, thighs and drumsticks, wings and drumettes will take the longest to cook. Whole chicken breasts and ground chicken meatballs will cook within the 30 minute time-frame and you can even shave that down to 20-25 minutes by thinly slicing boneless skinless chicken breasts, for example for fajitas.
When prepping components for your meal, you can chop all of the veggies, and marinate the chicken. Combine your ingredients, marinate and store in a freezer bag or container overnight to let the marinade work its magic.
For the Sheet Pan Pomegranate Orange Chicken recipe, you will need to chop the vegetables and make the sauce, which is tossed with the vegetables and chicken prior to baking.
Alternatively, you can also use dry seasonings and spices that don’t require marinating. When I use this method, I like to drizzle a sauce on top when the pan comes out of the oven, like balsamic reduction, pesto, or a squeeze of roasted or fresh citrus like lemon, lime, or orange.
Cooking sheet pan meals
I have learned that the perfect temperature for these meals is 425°F for 25 minutes. It’s important to note that oven temperatures can vary and some cuts of chicken take longer to cook than others, depending on the size of the pieces and if they are bone-in pieces. Even if you are following a recipe, always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. You know that chicken pieces are fully cooked when the thermometer reads 165°F or 74°C.
When cooking at this temperature, I like to cut veggies in approximately 1-inch pieces. This ensures that they don’t overcook and burn or get too mushy.
Space your ingredients out on your tray if you like crispier vegetables. If you crowd them on the pan, as shown in the image above, it will create a lot of steam, giving the vegetables a softer texture. Consider using two sheet pans if you like crispy veggies.
There are many great chicken sheet pan combinations on manitobachicken.ca like this Sheet Pan Lemon Chicken that we shared last week on the Cooking Comfort Facebook Live Event. You can watch it here if you missed it and would like some meal prep tips for making sheet pans.
Here are a few more of my favorite combinations:
Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Warm Spice
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Teriyaki w/pineapple (chicken breasts, mushrooms, pineapple, bell peppers)
Lemon Basil Chicken meatballs w/tomatoes and pesto
Try one of these done-for-you ideas or use this sheet pan builder to create your own!