Your Baking Sheet: 2 Ways To Use It Like a Pro -To Make Your Favorite EATS in Record Time

Baking sheet with pinapple, bell peppers and chicken fingers

Time-saving tips in the kitchen are plentiful online but only a few become part of my process when I test recipes for the Cafe’s menu.

Like when I learned the savvy ways the pros use a sheet pan (aka baking sheet) to save time when they cook – I was all-in on that action!

I will share every baking sheet tip my brain has absorbed in an upcoming Cooking Pro Jumpstart workshop…

In the meantime, here are two simple ways to use a baking sheet (like a pro) to save significant time when making your favorite EATS.


Imagine prepping the Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from the Cafe’s menu.

Peel the squash on the cutting board and there will be no room to cut the squash. Cut the squash on the cutting board and you will have no space to chop the other vegetables for the soup. A-NOY-ING.

“Eh…you’re missing an “N”

Hmm….brings back memories of that grade 7 spelling bee mishap.

Any-whoo…what the pro would do (that’s you) is place a baking sheet beside your cutting board.

This way you can place your scraps at one end of the baking sheet, and your prepared ingredients on the other end to keep your cutting board free-and-clear of clutter.

Prepared ingredients on one end of sheet pan, food scraps on the other end.

Soup ingredients go in the pot. Scraps go straight into the composter (yay!) or green bin (awesome!) or trash (boo!).


This also works when cooking frozen chicken fingers, frozen fish strips, frozen patties, frozen hash browns…frozen whatever you want to cook and crisp.

But let’s use frozen fries as an example.

Typically, the first instruction on a frozen fry bag is to preheat the oven to 450° F (don’t ask why I know that).

Cooked Frozen Fries on a  sheet pan.

When the oven reaches around 430°F, what the pro would do (aka, you) is place your baking sheet in the oven with no fries on it.

This way when the oven hits 450° F, you can put your oven mitts on and remove the hot baking sheet from the preheated oven, and immediately (and carefully) spread your frozen fries on top of it.

The sizzle will sound like you are crisping your frozen fries in a deep-fryer!

Now put your oven mitts back on, and place the sizzling fries on the baking sheet in the oven so they can fully cook and crisp.

This speeds-up the process because placing frozen fries on a room temperature tray will cool the baking sheet and sadly increase the time it takes for your fries to crisp. 😭

Tell a friend to tell a friend to tell a friend!

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Your Baking Sheet: Two ways to use it like a pro - to save time when you cook.
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Brent Garell testing the food at College Recipe Cafe

Brent Garell (hey that’s me!) leads the team at College Recipe Cafe. He is the author of The Cook-a-Palooza Experience and 15-Minute Money Saving Meals for Students. Or check out his online cooking classes at Cooking Pro Jumpstart.

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