Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of Wintry Sheet Pan Dinners Packed with Vegetables

updated Dec 9, 2022
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Wintery meal prep laid out on surface.
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

I’ve long relied on sheet pan meals throughout the year when I want a dinner that promises both easy cooking and easy cleanup. But there is truly no better time to slot sheet pan dinners into your meal plan than right now, as we slide closer to winter and deeper into holiday season. Why, you ask? It’s as simple as this: Sheet pan dinners check all the boxes. Ultra-cozy dinners that warm you up on cold nights? Check. Getting an ample amount of veggies on your plate? Check. Quick and easy cooking for busy weeknights? Check.

In this Power Hour, I’ll walk you through the planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep for a week of feel-good wintery dinners packed with vegetables. You’ll knock out all the chopping and slicing in about an hour, so that during the week all you need to do is drop everything on your trusty baking sheet and slide it into the oven.

Meal Prep Goals

  • Dinner: A lineup of cozy meals that are fully prepped, so the ingredients can be dropped on a sheet pan and slid into the oven.
  • Nutritional goals: No set nutritional goals this week, but this plan focuses on packing a variety of seasonal veggies into every dinner.
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen; Design: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep time: About 1 hour
  • Meals covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight cooking required? Moderate. Light hands-off cooking or reheating is required throughout the week. The great news is that all the prep is already complete.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

Meal Plan

Dinners

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list relies on a mix of produce, meat, and pantry basics. Shop your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before setting foot in the store (or opening your grocery delivery app) to avoid adding items to the cart that you already have on hand. I also used staple ingredients like olive and vegetable oils, kosher salt, and black pepper that are not listed here.

  • Produce: Whole cremini mushrooms (8 ounces), 2 medium red onions, 1 small bunch fresh rosemary, 8 fresh sage leaves, 1 pound pre-cut (1-inch) butternut squash cubes, 1 medium acorn squash, 1 head garlic, 1 bag/box arugula, 1 (10- to 12-ounce) bag broccoli florets (or 1 medium head broccoli), 
  • Meat: 8 ounces uncooked sweet or hot Italian sausage, 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Refrigerated & frozen: 1 pound fresh, shelf-stable, or frozen potato gnocchi; Parmesan cheese, 2 to 4 large eggs
  • Pantry: 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 can white beans, 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Prep vegetables. For the Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs with Acorn Squash and Sage: Cut the acorn squash and red onion according to the recipe instructions. Refrigerate in an airtight container. For the Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Sausage, and Butternut Squash, add the following to a medium meal-prep container when completed: Quarter 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cut 1/2 medium red onion into 1-inch chunks, and chop fresh rosemary leaves until you have 2 tablespoons. For the Easy Sheet Pan Greens and Beans: If you have a head of broccoli cut into bite-size florets and add to a large meal prep container. Drain and rinse 1 can white beans, add to broccoli, and refrigerate in an airtight container. Halve 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, and refrigerate separately in a small airtight container.
  2. Prep chicken. Pat 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Use your fingers to gently loosen and pull the skin away from the meat without removing it. Tuck 2 fresh sage leaves under the skin of each thigh. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
  3. Prep sausage. If you have sausage links, remove the casings from 8 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausages. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
  4. Make dressing. Follow the recipe instructions to whisk together a half recipe of all-purpose vinaigrette.
Credit: The Kitchn

A Week of Wintry Sheet-Pan Dinners Packed with Vegetables

  • Monday, Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs with Acorn Squash and Sage: Place the prepped squash and chicken thighs on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook according to the recipe instructions. While the chicken cooks, stir together the balsamic glaze on the stovetop. Serve half of the chicken and vegetables tonight and refrigerate the remainder for later in the week.
  • Tuesday, Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Sausage, and Butternut Squash: Toss the vegetables and gnocchi with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the sausage and cook according to the recipe instructions. You’ve got just under 30 minutes until dinner is ready. Top with grated Parm, enjoy half tonight, and save the remainder for Friday evening. 
  • Wednesday, Easy Sheet Pan Greens and Beans with Fried Eggs: Place the broccoli and white beans on a rimmed baking sheet and cook according to the recipe instructions. Meanwhile, fry a few eggs on the stovetop. When the broccoli is cooked through, add the tomatoes and a shower of grated Parm to the baking sheet. Divide among bowls and top with the fried eggs. 
  • Thursday, Warm Balsamic Chicken and Squash Salad: While the remaining chicken and squash warm on a baking sheet in the oven, divide a few handfuls of arugula among two bowls and gently warm the vinaigrette in the microwave or on the stovetop. Cut the chicken off the bone, add to the bowls of arugula, and drizzle with warm vinaigrette. 
  • Friday, leftover gnocchi: While the gnocchi reheats, toss together a simple arugula salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and the leftover vinaigrette. Dinner is ready in under 10 minutes. Dig in and get ready for the weekend.