weeknight easy button or just another encrusted pan to soak/ignore?

Of the many online “what to cook tonight?” crazes during the pandemic, tossing everything on a sheet pan and letting it ride at 450° was near the top. I was late to that party mostly because every time I read the words “sheet pan” a hilarious image popped into my head: Tina Fey devouring an entire sheet cake as a coping mechanism for our collective national angst. She called it sheet-caking and it is utter perfection. Thus sheet-panning was born, and I smile every time I do it. Thank you, Tina.

“…it’s a grass roots movement, Colin, all the women I know have been doing it once a week… ” ~ Tina Fey sheet-caking on the Weekend Update

So like the month I made 13 consecutive Japanese dinners or the great sausage run of ‘21 or last September’s endless lemon-fest, I enjoyed a good, long stint with the old sheet pan…until there was a minor revolt. As my Great Aunt Cardo would say, it was “too much muchness.” But I’m off restriction so I brought it back this week for a command performance of this easy favorite:

Crispy Noodles with Hoisin Chicken and Baby Bok Choi


  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 4 Tbs sesame oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3 blocks of instant ramen, seasoning discarded
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2-3 heads of baby bok choi
  • 1/2 cup peanuts or cashews


Combine hoisin sauce, 2 Tbs sesame oil, garlic and sesame seeds. Add to chicken thighs, coat thoroughly and marinate about an hour.

Preheat oven to 450°. Put the ramen blocks in a large bowl and cover with 8-10 cups of boiling water. Drain noodles after 5 minutes and set aside.

Toss drained noodles with 2 Tbs sesame oil, 1 Tbs vegetable oil, a pinch of Kosher salt, soy sauce and nuts. Spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray and add seasoned ramen noodles, spreading them evenly on the pan.

Add the chicken thighs carefully to the noodles, sort of snuggling them down so they are touching the pan, not sitting on top of the noodles. You want to ensure they brown. Roast in bottom rack for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and roast 5 minutes more, but check a piece for doneness. (I have also grilled the chicken thighs separately and added to the noodles at the every end. I really like a browned, crispy texture.)

Meanwhile, slice the bok choi into long vertical strips and toss with 1 Tbs vegetable oil and a pinch of a Kosher salt. Lay the bok choi slices on top of the noodles and chicken, and roast for about 5 minutes on upper rack, watching carefully. What you want is green and crispy but not burned so be vigilant. Serve while hot and crispy!

Ps. Total girl-crush on Tina Fey. duh.

One thought on “sheet-panning…

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