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Everybody’s Weeknight Needs a Little Sheet Pan Magic

September is exciting and extremely busy. School starts and there’s so much to do—paperwork, back-to-school nights, school supply buying, after-school activities…the list goes on and on. Weeknights get hectic and getting dinner on the table can take on a frantic quality that was completely absent during the summer months.

Have you tried cooking dinner on a sheet pan? If not, I am going to share with you all the ways that sheet pan cooking will change your life! Sound a little dramatic? I assure you it’s not.

First, you make dinner on ONE TRAY! What could be simpler? Also, Flavors intensify with high heat, so your meal will taste amazing. Then, there’s the fact that you will have zero pans to wash if you cover your sheet pan with aluminum foil like I do. Sheet pans allow you to keep foods from touching (a big no-no in my house), or getting mushy (another no-no) and require just small amount of oil.

Convinced? Try this recipe for more proof.

Flank Steak Fajitas
Author: Kate Wagner
Serves: 4-6

Let me break this recipe down for you. Make the marinade and add
the steak the night before. Toss it in the fridge in a zipped plastic bag and it will be ready for dinner the next night. You can also prep the veggies the night before and throw them in a zipped bag. Just don’t add any marinade to the veggies until you start cooking dinner.

This marinade is sooo good. Think about making a double batch of marinade, throwing in some skinless, boneless chicken breasts and freezing the marinade and chicken. Then you would have another great dinner in your future with no extra work! Happy cooking!

3 chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce, minced
⅓ bunch cilantro, minced (leaves and some stems)
½ cup canola oil
1 cup orange juice
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1½- 2 pounds flank steak (Skirt steak would also work well in this recipe and it’s less expensive.)
2-4 peppers, thinly sliced
1-2 onions, thinly sliced (I prefer to make this recipe with red, but you can also use yellow.)
Pack of flour tortillas (I like the soft taco size, usually 10 to a pack)
Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole
Optional accompaniments: refried and/or black beans, rice

I make the marinade in a food processor. If you are using one as well, you don’t need to chop the chilis or cilantro, just put them in the processor and pulse until they are minced and have a paste-like consistency. You can also easily make this marinade with
one bowl and a whisk.

Add canola oil, orange juice, lime, garlic, cumin and kosher salt to the processor and pulse to combine.

Set processor aside and turn your attention to the flank steak. Score the flank steak and slice the steak into three pieces against the grain (If the meat is laying in a rectangle in front of you, against the grain would be top to bottom.).

Place all three pieces of steak in a zippered, plastic bag and add marinade, reserving 1 cup for the vegetables and making sure the flank steak is completely covered.

Marinade at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Refrigerate the marinade for the veggies separately. You could marinate the veggies for an hour for additional flavor, but that’s completely optional.

Thirty minutes before you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 450 and move top rack to the uppermost level in the oven. Take the steak out of the fridge, so it can start to come to room temperature.

Toss vegetables in the reserved marinade.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place vegetables on the baking sheet and spread evenly, so that each piece is touching the baking tray and not touching each other (This helps them to caramelize and prevents steaming).

Roast for 15 minutes.

Remove tray from the oven, evenly divide the peppers and onions and move them to the end of the tray, clearing a space for the flank steak. (They will be in heaps at this point and that’s what you want.)

Increase oven temperature to broil and broil for 5 minutes.

Remove tray from the oven and place vegetables in a bowl and cover with foil. Flip flank steak pieces and return to the oven. Broil for 5 minutes.

Remove tray from the oven and place flank steak pieces on a cutting board fitted inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let steak rest for 10 minutes uncovered.

Thinly slice against the grain and enjoy.

Kate Walker Wagner is a food writer and cooking instructor. Visit her website for healthy and delicious recipes and follow her on for daily dinner inspiration.


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