Overall, how has feeding your family during the pandemic been going? I feel like breakfast has gotten bigger and later, and kind of runs into snack time and then lunch, all of which take a bit more mental energy than usual when everyone’s home and school work is thrown into the morning mix too. At the same time, I’ve been experimenting with sourdough and Gemma has been choosing extra things to bake so we can get some girl time together, so the kitchen feels busier than ever. All of this has combined for lowered dinner inspiration and motivation.
But a couple things happened to help boost the dinner mojo recently. First, my mom had a beautiful cookbook delivered to my house for no reason (followed shortly by a devotional I’d been eyeing, she’s got my physical and spritual food covered ;)) Then, my mother-in-law was cleaning out her kitchen, and I acquired a pan big enough to make sheet pan dinners! I’ve always loved the concept of cooking your whole dinner in one pan, but never had a pan that made that realistic for 7 people. Thanks, moms :)
This recipe is super flexible – you could do it without the meat entirely, or I’ve done it with sliced sausage along with the shrimp. Skip the carrots and add beans, add extra spice to the butter mixture, whatever suits you and your family’s taste! This is a liberally adapted version of the Cajun Shrimp Sheet Pan Dinner from the Magnolia Table cookbook, and was the first dinner in awhile that everyone at the table could get excited about.
Obviously, I made it again a week later.
The key to sheet pan dinners, I have learned, is stages. Throwing everything on a pan and hoping it all cooks evenly in the same amount of time is pointless – you might as well use a slow cooker. Different foods take different amounts of time to cook, and unless we’re talking soups and stews, very few things should all be cooked together for the same amount of time.
Doing it in stages also prevents the problems caused by an overcrowded pan – the main problems being that your food steams instead of roasting, and some parts will be undercooked while others will be overcooked. Starting with the potatoes lets them get nice and tender with a bit of crispy skin before you add the corn and carrots. Letting those veggies cook and only adding the shrimp and butter for the last 5 minutes means you end up with perfectly done shrimp and a fresh salty-spicy butter sheen on everything. My pictures do not adequately capture how pretty this is, and certainly not how good it smells.
That tasty butter also gathers in the bottom of the dish and make a fabulous spot to dunk a chunk of fresh bread if you have some handy…I just tried a new recipe to use some of my sourdough discard and it was one of my favourite loaves yet.
Just meant to be dunked in melted, seasoned butter!
The only thing not to love about this recipe is how hard it is to cut cobs of corn. Do NOT, under any circumstances, think whacking a cob against the cutting board with the knife stuck halfway through will be helpful…don’t ask me how I know. Grab your sharpest knife and your strongest friend, and take breaks as needed for the good of your hands. Or, y’know, cook the corn separately and eat full cobs, but the smaller mixed-in version is pretty fun :)
- 1.5 - 2 lbs baby potatoes, halved (or quartered if quite large)
- 2 tsp minced garlic, divided
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 4 large ears corn, husked and cut into thirds
- 1 cup fresh or frozen baby carrots
- 2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ¼ tsp celery salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 and line a large baking pan or sheet pan (at least 11x15") with foil. Spray foil lightly with cooking spray.
- In large bowl, combine cut potatoes with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, and ½ tsp of salt. Stir to coat, spread evenly in baking sheet, and roast for about 25 minutes, until almost tender and starting to brown.
- While the potatoes bake, use the same bowl to combine the corn and baby carrots with another Tbsp of olive oil, remaining salt and pepper.
- After 25 minutes, add the corn and carrots to the potatoes on the baking sheet and stir gently. Roast another 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir together melted butter, spices, and remaining 1 tsp minced garlic. When corn and carrots are tender, remove pan from oven and spread the shrimp over the veggies. Drizzle the butter mixture over everything, especially trying to hit the shrimp and corn.
- Roast everything for another 5-7 minutes, until shrimp are pink. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over top, if desired.