I am fortunate have a large, extended family that is continuing to grow and expand! We enjoy getting together every summer at a beach house that we’ve all grown up going to. This recipe serves 20-25 people depending on size of appetites and what else is served.
This beach house is the perfect place for us all to take some time to slow down from our busy lives and catch up with one another on the beach and to share some meals together.
We each take turns preparing meals for the group. Those in our family have lots of different dietary issues and preferences. Among them are celiac disease and allergies to wheat, peanuts, soy, dairy as well as those who follow a vegan diet as well as a vegetarian one. It can be a challenge to make a meal that goes together well, which will be tasty and can accommodate everyone. Luckily, I really enjoy a cooking challenge!
I wanted to make something that would be casual, “beachy” and something that wouldn’t be too heavy if it was a super hot day. I decided to do a southwestern themed meal, I thought those spicy flavors would go nicely with the casual feel of the beach. I wanted to be able to have it made the day before and just reheat it so I could enjoy the day relaxing on the beach.
Sheet pan dinners always easy, adaptable dishes that can easily accommodate a lot of people. Those in my family that eat animal protein all enjoy chicken, so I decided to use boneless chicken breast as the base of my sheet pan and work the vegetables and seasonings around that.
When I think of a southwestern meal, peppers & onions naturally come to mind, and they’re juicy so they’d help to keep the chicken moist. I decided that some taco-like seasonings” would give it the southwestern flair that I was looking for and my sheet pan recipe was on its way!
To accompany the sheet-pan chicken, I decided on a quinoa, black bean salad which would also serve as a protein filled main dish for those that are vegan and vegetarian. A large tossed salad with lots of fresh vegetables, gluten-free, dairy free corn bread, and a loaf of crusty Italian bread rounded out the meal and provided options to accommodate all everyone’s dietary issues and preferences. Mission accomplished!
Southwestern Sheet Pan Chicken for a Crowd
This meal is an easy make-ahead meal for a party or other large gathering which reheats nicely. It serves 20-25 people depending on size of appetite and side dishes served. It may also be downsized by dividing the ingredients to reach the appropriate number of servings desired.
4 limes grated & juiced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup avocado oil
4tsp sea salt
8-10 lbs boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 red onion cut into large pieces
8-10 rainbow colored peppers, seeded & cut into large chunks
3 tsp cumin
3 Tbs paprika
2 tsp pure garlic powder
2 Tbs fresh oregano
A bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2-3 rimmed sheets pans with foil & lightly grease.
Combine grated peel, lime juice, Avocado oil, sea salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder & oregano in a very large bowl and whisk until mixed well. Add peppers, onion & chicken. Stir until mixed and dressing is covering all ingredients. Pour onto prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, stir, breaking apart any pieces of chicken which are stuck together. Place pans back in oven, rotating the pans from the direction they were in originally and bake for another 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
Right before serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro and lightly toss. Drizzle chicken well with pan juices. Serves 20-25 people, depending on how many side dishes accompany it. Serve with the side dish of your choice, and a nice tossed salad. *If making in advance and reheating, reheat in a large casserole dish or roasting pan, covered, stirring occasionally to incorporate juices throughout to keep the chicken from drying out. When serving, spoon juice over chicken to keep moist.
Prep Notes: This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, paleo & Whole30 compliant