Sheet pan dinners have been around for a few years but, as a woman in the prime of old age, I didn’t get the appeal–until the other day. Flipping through some recipes online I came across One-Pan Thanksgiving Dinner and stopped in my tracks. For the past few years, I’ve been making Thanksgiving dinner for just a couple of friends. And even though the group is small, the multitude of bowls and pots and pans was the same as for a feast.
The other day I did a test run, taking tips from a few of the recipes posted online. Here’s the verdict.
It works. And it’s delicious.
You will still dirty a few bowls during preparation but those can be washed ahead of time. When your guests arrive, there will be only one pan to clean–the sheet pan.
The menu for this meal is limited to four dishes…
…which is all you need.
- Seasoned, roasted boneless turkey breast
- Stuffing of your choice
- Roasted grape stuffed sweet potatoes
- Maple-roasted Brussels sprouts
Everything is timed to finish cooking at the same time. Timing is everything here. Since some of the prep can be done the day before, you’ll have extra time to bake a pie, or drive around in circles in the Trader Joe’s parking lot to pick up one of their delish frozen pumpkin pies.
What you will need
- 2-lb boneless turkey breast. Mine was a Butterball frozen breast that was close to three pounds. I cut away part and used it to make soup.
- Your favorite stuffing recipe. I had a loaf of brioche bread, so I used five cups of dried cubes plus onions, celery (sauteed first) parsley, fresh sage, thyme, and cubed apples; chicken stock to moisten and an egg to bind it all. This recipe is very popular if you need some guidance. Just remember to half the recipe unless you want leftovers (and who doesn’t?).
- 2 to 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes
- 1- or 2-pints Brussels sprouts
- 5 to 6 cups dried bread cubes–drying helps them absorb the moisture from other ingredients as they cook so you can get those crispy edges.
- 1 cup chicken stock. We used Better Than Bouillon Premium Roasted Chicken Base to make stock since we didn’t need a full can or box of broth. (Nor were we going to make it from scratch.)
- One egg
- Butter for sautéing the celery and onions, an extra tablespoon to coat the turkey breast. You’ll need about 1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons.
- Olive oil
- 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves, 4 whole leaves to top the turkey, the rest minced for stuffing
- 3 branches fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
- Maple syrup, a tablespoon or a bit more
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- One half-sheet pan (18×13). We recommend the Nordicware Half-Sheet Pan. It’s heavy, won’t warp, and is durable.
- Instaread thermometer. Pick up one at the hardware store or order from Amazon.
- Parchment paper (optional but recommended)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Make the stuffing
- Put the dried breadcrumbs in a bowl large enough to toss them with other ingredients.
- Dice celery and onion into 1/2″ pieces. Melt 2 T butter in a frying pan, add the celery and onions, and let soften over medium-low heat. It won’t take long. Check to make sure the onions don’t burn. When they are done let them cool, then add to the bread.
- Mix in the parsley, minced sage, and thyme. (Can be made the day before up to this point.)
- Add the chicken broth a bit at a time, stirring the mixture each time. The goal is to avoiding soaking some of the cubes and leaving others dry. You want a uniformly moist mixture.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl, then add to the bread mix, thoroughly incorporating it.
- Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Prepare the turkey
- Trim the boneless turkey breast so it weighs about 2 pounds. This is important. Leave the skin on.
- Cover the turkey with the rest of the butter, softened. Place sage leaves on top, using the butter to fix them in place.
- Season with salt and pepper. * Set aside.
* Our Butterball turkey had plenty of salt already. Use your judgement if you get a fresh turkey breast.
Prepare the vegetables
- Scrub and rinse the sweet potatoes. Puncture in a few places so the steam can escape. Place all in the microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooking, wash and trim the Brussels sprouts. Cut large ones in half, leave small ones whole. Put them in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, enough to coat but not drown. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup and gently stir. Set aside.
- Wash the grapes and toss with a bit of olive oil to coat. Set aside.
- Cover the sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the stuffing mixture on one half of the baking sheet. Make a well in the middle.
- Place the turkey breast in the well, then arrange the stuffing around it.
- Put the sweet potatoes on the top half of the other side of the pan.
- Arrange the Brussels sprouts on the remaining quarter in a single layer, if possible.
- Do not add the grapes yet.
Your pan should look something like this.
Put the pan in the preheated oven. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
Relax and have a cocktail.
When time is up, add the grapes to the pan.
Set the timer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan and test the turkey with an instant thermometer. It will be done when the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
If the bird needs some additional cooking time you might want to cover it loosely with some aluminum foil to prevent the stuffing from burning. If the Brussels sprouts are done remove them before putting the pan back in the oven.
Test the turkey after 10 minutes; repeat until the internal temperature reaches 155. Then remove the pan from the oven. Everything should be done now.
Tent the turkey with foil for 15 minutes.
While the turkey rests prepare the potatoes. Cut a deep slit in the skin along the length of the potato. Squeeze the ends together to open up a pocket. Fill the cavity with roasted grapes.
Now everything is ready to plate.
* * *
You may also like
- For an easy Thanksgiving centerpiece head to the produce department.
5 crazy good vegetarian Thanksgiving menus. You won’t miss the turkey.
- 11 sweet potato recipes, for Thanksgiving and beyond
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