Tin pan dinners are a fad that I never get bored of. With endless possibilities, it’s a great technique for getting dinner on the table and spending less time washing dishes afterwards.
Here’s a fun idea that has all the ingredients you need to cheer you up on a busy weeknight: veggies, protein, and crunchy pasta. It’s a highly customizable recipe, so consider the ingredients here as suggestions only. Find a vegetable combination that you like. Broccoli, carrots, and cabbage are pretty much always in our fridge, and that’s why I used them here. You could try peppers, mushrooms and onions. Swap the tofu for thinly sliced chicken, beef, or pork and spread it on the pan as you add the noodles. You can use any Asian noodle you have in your pantry. We like to buy the big bags of fresh egg noodles in the fridge – there is a thin and a thick variety. Neither needs to be boiled, just quickly soak in some hot water and drain. Any leftovers add up to a salad with fun texture and a hearty, salty flavor.
Fry sheet pan
Enough for 4 people, but can easily be enlarged or reduced
1 pound extra firm tofu
I am willow
Olive oil (or another light oil you like to use for frying)
Broccoli, carrots, and cabbage (or a mix of other veggies) for 4 people
About 1 pound of pasta
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Set a pot to boil (if your pasta needs to be cooked).
3. Slice the tofu in four, then quarter again for 16 large pieces. Place it between a folded, low-lint tea towel, then place a cutting board on top and gently press down. Drain some while you work on the next steps.
4. Peel and thinly slice the carrots. Cut the cabbage into slices about one centimeter thick. Cut the broccoli into large pieces and slice the stalks.
5. Toss the vegetables with a drizzle of oil and sprinkle with salt.
6. Drizzle the tofu with about 1 tablespoon oil and turn to coat. Then spread with soy sauce.
7. Place tofu and vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, cook (or soak) the pasta. Drain well, then toss with a little oil and salt to keep them from sticking.
9. Remove your veggies and tofu from the oven. Turn the tofu over and slide the veggies over it to make room for the noodles. (You may need to use a second sheet pan.) Divide the oiled noodles out and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring the noodles about halfway with tongs.
10. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
11. To serve, gently toss the tofu, noodles, and vegetables with tongs. Pour the sauce over it.
For 1? Choose the amount of veggies, tofu, and noodles you want to enjoy, and reduce the sauce to the simple ratio of: 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine.
Anne Willhoit is an educator, community volunteer and avid baker who enjoys creating recipes using new techniques from scratch and inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. Find her on Instagram at @aawillhoit or send her a request to FromScratchKS@gmail.com.