Sheet pan dinners are the Holy Grail for lazy cooks everywhere. You put everything on a sheet pan. You put it in the oven. Then you eat. THAT’S IT.
When it comes to holiday entertaining (and, honestly, life in general), the simpler the better. Sure, you could put together a five-course meal on your best dishes, and chances are, your guests will oooh-and-ahhh. But guess what? You’ll probably get just the same kind of rave reviews out of something simple, classic and impossible-to-mess-up, like a roasted chicken. Roasting a whole chicken is so simple a kid could do it—an older kid, but still—and it’s made even simpler by turning it into a sheet pan dinner.
To get perfectly tender chicken that’s just the right shade of golden brown, all while getting perfectly roasted and caramelized veggies, you’re better off using a whole cut-up chicken instead of a whole whole chicken. It’s less intimidating if you’ve never cooked a whole chicken before, and it makes cooking go faster and serving much easier. Here’s how:
To make this roasted chicken with veggies you need—you guessed it—chicken and veggies. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. New potatoes, carrots, onions, and Brussels sprouts make for a great mix of textures, flavors and colors.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a half sheet pan (AKA: a cookie sheet) liberally with cooking spray. Then, fill the pan with the mixture of chopped veggies. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan—that makes the veggies steam instead of caramelizing—but you want to make sure to have enough to serve all your guests. Think about using a second sheet pan if it starts to feel claustrophobic.
Drizzle on a heavy hand of olive oil over the veggies, and then season liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside while you go to work on the chicken.
In a large bowl, whisk together rosemary, garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. (You’ll want to make sure your rosemary and garlic are finely minced. Really go at ‘em with your knife.)
Add the chicken pieces to your large mixing bowl and toss to coat. This is why you wanted a large bowl for the rosemary mixture. You’ll be best off using clean hands to make sure each piece of the chicken gets a good coating.
Wiggle the chicken pieces down into their veggie bed—skin sides up. Add a few sprigs of rosemary and the squeezed lemon halves to the pan (not only does this look pretty, but it also adds lots of flavor in the oven). Ain’t she a beaut?
Bake that baby for 35-40 minutes, or until the veggies are all tender, and an internal thermometer registers 165°F in the fleshy part of one of the chicken drumsticks.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute in the chicken—that way, when you cut into a piece, the juice stays in the meat instead of ending up in a pool on your plate.
Serve in the chicken whole pieces, or carve and serve in slices. Depending on the size of your chicken, you might be able to serve two guests from one piece (especially a larger breast piece). Use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the drippings. Because of the high cooking temp, the veggies get a chance to caramelize before they braise in the chicken drippings—adding two layers of awesome flavor. It’s really the best of both worlds.