Tray bakes are one of my favorite easy dinners.  I know an hour long cooking time doesn’t sound easy but follow me for a second.  You have some minimal chopping (five minutes max), a few minutes of tossing items to coat, and then you walk away for the rest of time prep time.  See isn’t that easy?

Now keep in mind, this is more of a method than a recipe.  You can change out the potatoes, vegetables, meats, or spices to suit your tastes.  I like to mix and match sweeter items, like yellow onions or corn cobs, with spicier elements like kielbasa or Cajun seasoning.  I like having those flavor balances given that this dish can feel heavy as everything is roasted together.

The basic idea is to combine chicken thighs, sausage, potatoes, and vegetables together on one tray and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour.  I also toss the vegetables with at least salt and pepper, but usually I use something to suit the theme based on the sausage and other ingredients.

The singular most important thing you must do, no matter what flavor combinations you use, is to evenly spread the ingredients across the tray.  It is critical that you don’t pack the tray too full or the dish will not cook correctly.  Other than that, customize to your hearts content sweeties!

The recipe below is my favorite flavor combination (well for the moment anyway!).

4 chicken thighs (bone in and skin on)

½ pound kielbasa sausage, cut into four pieces

2 pounds new red potatoes, halved

1 large yellow onion, quartered

1 head broccoli, cut into large florets

4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tsp paprika

3 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat a jelly roll pan with about 1 tbsp of the olive oil.  Rub the chicken skin in the oil and then turn back skin side up before placing in the pan (I usually use the chicken to help coat the pan evenly).  Place the sausage in the pan as well.  In a medium bowl, add all the remaining ingredients and toss to evenly distribute the oil and spices.  Empty the bowl into the pan and spread evenly so that it is in one layer.

(Betty note – I like to put the chicken thighs and sausage in the four corners and the majority of the vegetables into the center so it cooks more evenly.)

Bake for an hour or until the chicken skin is golden brown and the potatoes are fork tender.  Occasionally when I put too much in the pan, it will take an additional 15 minutes to cook through.  Remove the tray from the oven and let rest for about 5-10 minutes to make it easier to serve.  Serves four.

Love and getting down to the basics,




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