Behind the Scenes

December’s Culinary Theme: Hit the Sheets

Each month the Plated Culinary team gathers to brainstorm a fun, relevant food theme—for bustling December, it’s Hit the Sheets.

Once again, the Plated Culinary team members met to come up with a theme that captures the essence of the month—over a fresh batch of peppermint bark, of course. Their inspiration ranges from kitchen hacks and must-have tools to cool ingredients and seasonal produce. From there, they brainstorm menu dishes that take a cue from the theme. Here, recipe editor Jennifer En lets you in on what’s to love about December’s spotlight on Sheet Pan Dinners.

Without notice, we’re suddenly greeted by one of the busiest months on the calendar. And if you’re anything like us, a mild panic sets in—but this year, fret not! It’s time to hit the sheets. Enter the magical sheet pan (aka your new BFF and stealthy little kitchen helper). It emerges from cabinet obscurity to make cooking fun and easy so you have plenty of time to enjoy the festivities. Think moist poultry, flaky fish, and crispy, tender veggies. Stunning meals come out of the oven replete in all their glory without you hovering around the stove for hours. The humble rimmed baking sheet lets the flavors of the ingredients shine and makes it ridiculously simple to prepare nourishing dishes that require minimal cleanup.

This month, look forward to a slew of dinners that harness the sheet pan’s powers for melding flavors, tenderizing beloved proteins, and caramelizing seasonal vegetables. For a stunning presentation, there’s the Redfish en Papillote roasted “in parchment”—a French technique that infuses the fish with delicate flavors. Then there are the can’t-miss fan favorites: delectable Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce and Maple-Roasted Pork Chops with Brussels Sprouts. And since no meal is complete without dessert, keep your sheet pan handy and whip up some classic Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Jam or Chocolate Espresso Crinkle Cookies.

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