Miracle Meals are the family-friendly dinners that save you time, money, and effort — but not at the expense of taste. They’re dishes that allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with the people you love.
As any toddler parent knows, weeknight dinners can be a bit of a scramble, particularly if your house (like mine) has two working parents and a voracious 3-year-old who — after spending hours in daycare — wants nothing more than some undivided parental attention.
But before we can dive into family playtime, dinner must be made! My husband and I take turns with dinner duties, but on weeknights we both tend to stick to dishes that don’t take a long time to prep, cook, or clean up after.
An ideal meal is one that can be left alone for the majority of its cooking time. One that — after a short bit of prep or assembly — is as hands-off as possible. Slow cooker drop dinners or sheet pan meals (where the oven does all the hard work) are great for this. This allows us to step away from the stove and squeeze in some extra toddler play at night.
So when we find meals that check all the boxes — fast, affordable, hands-off, delicious — we hang onto them. Does that mean our weeknight dinners are complex and glamorous? Nope. (I save those for weekends!) Instead, they’re practical and functional. But we’ll happily take that tradeoff if it means we can squeeze in a bit more family time.
Greens & Beans to the Rescue
One meal that checks all those boxes for us is sheet pan greens and beans. It’s a protein- and fiber-packed base of creamy white beans and roasted broccoli, which get crisped up together in the oven and topped with fresh Parmesan cheese, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a perfectly runny egg. The whole thing is cheap, filling, and balanced, and — perhaps its biggest selling point — there’s very, very little prep involved.
Basically you just drain and rinse a can of white beans, gather a bag of pre-cut broccoli florets (or chop your own), and toss everything onto a sheet tray with a bit of olive oil and seasoning. Slide it all into the oven and leave it alone for about 20 minutes.
(Then go play! Or check Instagram! Or kick back with a glass of wine.)
When the timer dings, switch the oven setting to broil to crisp up and color the beans and broccoli even more. You can also use those few minutes to slice a batch of cherry tomatoes and fry up some eggs.
Once the sheet pan comes out of the broiler, shave a generous amount of Parmesan over everything, and plate with the tomatoes and eggs. (This is also the time to add on any other toppings you like. For me, that might be a bit of hot sauce and flaky sea salt.)
This dinner is incredibly customizable. I’ve used chickpeas instead of white beans and asparagus spears instead of broccoli — but you can choose whatever suits your fancy. You can even roast the tomatoes (unsliced) right along with everything else. I personally love the cool burst of acidity that comes with leaving them raw, but it’s up to you!
Want to bulk things up? Add a bit of rotisserie chicken or your favorite protein. If you have more time, poach the eggs instead of frying them. Or, if your kid is egg-averse, leave it off. Leftovers reheat well, so feel free to double or triple the recipe. Mix and match, and know you can’t go wrong!
Easy Sheet Pan Greens and Beans
- 1 (10- to 12-ounce) bag
- 1 (15-ounce) can
white beans, such as cannellini or great northern
- 2 tablespoons
Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup
grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Red pepper flakes (optional)
fried eggs (optional)
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, trim 10 to 12 ounces broccoli florets if needed, halving any very large pieces. Drain and rinse the white beans.
Place the broccoli on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the white beans, season with kosher salt and red pepper flakes, if desired, and gently mix a bit further, aiming to keep the beans mostly intact. Spread into an even layer.
Roast until the broccoli is tender and the edges are browned, 15 to 20 minutes. (For extra color and crispness, switch the oven to broil with 1 to 3 minutes remaining, and move the baking sheet to the top rack.) Meanwhile, halve 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add a generous shaving of Parmesan cheese over everything along with some freshly ground black pepper and the halved tomatoes. Divide between plates and top each serving with a fried egg if using.
Vegetable substitutes: If you don’t like tomatoes, squeeze lemon on after the mixture comes out of the oven for quick acidity. Instead of broccoli, you could sub in asparagus spears.
Egg options: You could poach the eggs instead of frying. (I do the latter to keep it easiest!)
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