Chef Tom – Sheet Pan Dinners

The trifecta for good, everyday eating

  1. Ease in the kitchen
  2. Bold flavors
  3. Healthy ingredients

Pulling out a sheet pan, choosing a lovely protein, adding a tasty combination of vegetables (and sometimes fruit), a healthy fat (which is NOT BY ANY MEANS a self-canceling phrase), some fresh herbs and yummy spices, and that’s it.

Sheet Pan Dinners

Plop everything into one pan and set it in the oven on a high heat. Line the pan with foil or parchment paper, even a Silpat sheet, and there’s hardly any clean up at all.

As one of my favorite chefs (Melissa Clark from the New York Times), says:
A sheet pan takes the concept of a one-pot meal and flips it onto a pan. It saves time, makes clean-up easier, and doesn’t require expensive equipment or fancy ingredients. Just start with your protein of choice, then add vegetables, fat and flavorings, and roast at high heat until everything is golden brown. Tips and Techniques.

Sausages, Caramelized Shallots and Apples

Sausages, Caramelized Shallots and Apples

6 shallots, trimmed on both ends and peeled (about 6 ounces)

2 crisp apples (preferably one tart, like Granny Smith, and one sweet, like Fuji)

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or whichever flavor you like)

3 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the shallots lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Core the apples and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss apples and shallots with the olive oil, mustard and rosemary

Place the shallots and apples on a prepared sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, until the shallots are just starting to brown at the edges.

Meanwhile, place the sausages on a plate. Using a fork, prick a few holes in each sausage. Drizzle the sausages with olive oil and toss to coat. Arrange the sausages on the pan, evenly distributed, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the sausages and tossing the apples and shallots with the juices released from the sausages halfway through, until the sausages are browned and cooked to 160 degrees and the shallots are tender and caramelized.

Transfer the sausages to a serving platter. Pour the vinegar over the apples and shallots, and toss well, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Transfer to the serving platter with the sausages, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

Maple-Mustard Roasted Chicken with Squash and Brussels Sprouts

Maple-Mustard Roasted Chicken with Squash and Brussels Sprouts


1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, divided

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

4 (10-oz.) bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

4 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 lb.)

3 large shallots, peeled and quartered

1/2 acorn squash, seeded and cut crosswise into slices

8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided


Place a large, rimmed baking sheet in oven; preheat oven to 425°F (leave pan in oven as it preheats).

Combine sage, mustard, and syrup in a small bowl; brush evenly over chicken breasts. Carefully remove pan from oven. Add chicken to pan; bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Discard any juices from pan.

Add butternut squash, shallots, acorn squash, and Brussels sprouts to pan with chicken. Top vegetables with butter, oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper; toss.

Spread in an even layer around chicken. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove bones from chicken before serving; discard.

Roasted Niçoise Salad with Halibut

Roasted Niçoise Salad with Halibut


1 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces

2 (12-oz.) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained

5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 lb. green beans, preferably haricots verts, trimmed

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

1 1/2 lb. skinless halibut fillets (or any firm fish you’d like)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, preferably Meyer

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer

1/4 cup basil leaves (from about 1/2 bunch)


Place a rimmed baking sheet on center rack of oven; preheat to 450°F.

Toss potatoes, artichokes, 3 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Arrange in an even layer on preheated sheet and roast, tossing once halfway through, until nicely browned, about 18 minutes.

Toss green beans, olives, 1 Tbsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in same bowl. Season fish on both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, then coat with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

Remove baking sheet from oven and push potatoes and artichokes to one side, taking up about a third of pan. Place fish on another third, then bean mixture on remaining third. Roast until fish is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl.

Flake halibut into pieces and transfer to a platter. Serve with roasted vegetables and sauce alongside. Top with basil.


A potpourri of interesting finds on the intertubes. And some music.



Part of the world just celebrated their ancient version of the Christmas holiday, St. Stephens Day. One the eve, which is usually December 5th, there is a wild and wooly  – read dark and scary – happening in villages and cities throughout Eastern Europe called Krampusnacht, or Krampus Run.

Krampus is the Bad Cop to St. Stephen’s Good Cop. His job is to bring a whip made of birch to punish the bad children, and if need be, stuff the little buggers in a bag.

I was fascinated with the costumes, particularly the traditional hand-carved wooden masks.

This is SO not our Christmas with the nice little elves, a polite Santa, and five weeks of rampant consumerism.

Big hairy bodies, devil faces, huge terrifying teeth and horns, large cowbells strapped to their waist, they walk through the crowd and terrorize the onlookers by whipping their legs, mussing their hair, and causing general mayhem.

Here’s a taste:

Terrifying Krampus Run

Japanese Ska Band

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

Caught these fellows on my FB feed and found them hilarious, although the band is pretty darn tight, and a lot of brass. Love me some Ska. Brings back memories of being high and doing the Carleton at Punk clubs listening to the likes of Madness and The Specials.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra – “Skaravan” on Room Service


I’ve never been a gamer, but I’ve heard tell. Check out the animation in this clip. Incredible. A visual feast.

The One-Winged Angel

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – The One-Winged Angel! – Nintendo Switch


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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