Sheet pan meals are a great time saver, but if I’m being honest, I don’t love them quite as much as freezer meals.
They’re fast and easy, for sure, but in my experience they still involve more prep (chopping, seasoning) and clean-up compared to a freezer meal for which I’ve already done the bulk of the work (lasagna = pop it in the oven and done).
That is…unless I could create a sheet pan meal that was also a freezer meal. Can. It. Be. Done?!??
Up for the challenge, I took this month’s Recipe Redux theme as an opportunity to try it out.
We love throwing ingredients together on a sheet pan and roasting for a simple sheet pan dinner. They make busy weeknights a bit more manageable. (And clean-up isn’t bad either!) Show us your healthy take on a sheet pan meal.
And the results were great! An added bonus is that this was much faster to prep than most freezer meals. I timed myself and had three freezer/sheet pan meals ready to go in 20 minutes! The key is buying frozen ingredients, prepping them while still frozen and cooking them while still frozen. And yes, that includes the salmon!
It’s perfectly safe to cook frozen salmon!
In fact, the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Institute even has an entire campaign called Cook It Frozen to encourage consumers to do this more often. Seafood is very often flash-frozen shortly after it’s caught, so it doesn’t really matter if you buy it defrosted at the store, you defrost it yourself or you cook it from frozen. I like the cooking frozen option because I don’t have to remember to use up thawed seafood or defrost it in advance!
Even better? Since all the main ingredients start out frozen, you can just prep them whenever you find yourself with a spare 20 minutes and not worry about the ingredients you purchased going bad because you didn’t have a chance to get to your batch-cooking session.
Prep this meal whenever you find yourself with a spare 20 minutes.
I prefer cooking frozen salmon in foil packets (en papillote) both because it steams the fish and keeps the seasonings in place in the freezer. Don’t worry if you see a lot of liquid once you open the packet, or “white stuff” a.k.a. coagulated protein. Both are perfectly normal; the liquid results from being trapped in the sealed packet and the white stuff is hard to avoid no matter how you cook salmon.
I’ve kept it simple with lemons and black pepper, but you can use this method with any seasoning combo you like. Try jarred pesto or harissa or your favorite spice rub. Heck, make each of the three packets a different flavor!
Some notes on buying frozen salmon: I look for packages where the fillets are packed individually, not frozen together, since I would have to thaw the package in order to get them apart. Skin on or skin off doesn’t really matter.
Do you have a go-to meal that’s easy to prep and clean up? I’d love to hear about it!
Lemon Pepper Salmon with Garlic Green Beans
- 6 5-6 oz. frozen salmon fillets
- 2 lemons sliced into rounds
- 48 oz. frozen green beans three 16 or two 24 oz. bags
- 6 tsp minced garlic either 6 garlic cloves, minced, or 6 garlic dots*
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 3 10 oz. packages frozen rice optional
Spray three ~18-inch long pieces of aluminum foil with oil. Place two frozen salmon fillets on each piece.
Drizzle fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place lemon rounds on top of each fillet.
Fold one side of the aluminum foil over the salmon and seal the edges tightly to create a packet.
Divide the still-frozen green beans into three gallon sized zip-top bags. To each bag, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp minced garlic and black pepper to taste. Push the air out of the bag, seal it and massage the seasonings into the beans.
Into three more gallon sized zip-top bags, place one salmon packet, one bag of green beans and one bag of frozen rice (optional). Label and store in the freezer until ready to cook.
To cook: Preheat the oven to 450 Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the salmon packet in the center of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove to add the green beans. If you're using a meat thermometer, this is a good time to insert it into the fish. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145 F.
Before opening the foil packet, allow fish to rest for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the rice.
Serve and enjoy!