Try healthy sheet pan meals with a dynamite sauce to make your life easier during the holiday season. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

This is the time of year when we don’t always have time to take proper care of ourselves. There are so many extra things to do, so many places to go, and so much rich, sweet food to eat. And it’s cold outside. Before we know it, we’re run down, on the verge of a cold or the flu, and we would give anything to just spend a day on the couch drinking tea and napping.

I’m here to help you not get to that point. You know I can be all about butter, cream and chocolate, but let’s pause for a moment and nourish ourselves with an easy sheet pan meal. All we need are some healthy winter vegetables laced with flavorful sauce. On the side, let’s have a crisp green salad featuring seasonal fruit.

For your sheet pan meal, you can cut up the veggies ahead and store them in a container or Ziploc bag in the fridge until it’s time to roast them. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand – cubed white potatoes, beets, carrots, cauliflower, winter squash and Brussels sprouts cut in half are all good choices, too.

Turkey kielbasa or sweet Italian sausage instead of the chicken sausages are also winners for your main course, or you can leave the meat out altogether and serve a protein on the side.

The accompanying tahini sauce recipe makes extra, which is a good thing because you’ll want to drizzle it over everything from now on, or open the container when no one is looking to slurp down a spoonful or two.

And this salad is equally delicious – perfection, really, whether it be for a refreshing lunch or incorporated into your entertainment menu over the holidays to come. Like the tahini sauce for the entree, this salad dressing can be made ahead. Try walnuts or hazelnuts instead of pecans in your salad if you prefer. Just remember to toast them. Blue cheese or Gorgonzola is a delicious option as well.


Take good care as we move into the weeks to come. Cookie baking is on the agenda for next time.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at or 504-0545.

Fall vegetables with sausages

1 (11-ounce) package chicken sausages, sliced into thick rounds

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 pound broccoli florets

1 bell pepper, cut into chunks

1/3 large red onion, cut into chunks


3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasonings

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place sausages and prepared vegetables on sheet pan. Add olive oil and seasonings. Toss well to combine then spread vegetables out in an even layer.


Roast until vegetables are slightly caramelized, about 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Serve tahini sauce on the side.

Yield: 4 servings

Tahini sauce

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons tahini

1/3 cup water, plus more if needed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


4 teaspoons maple syrup

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sriracha, to taste

Blend all ingredients together until a smooth sauce forms (leave the garlic whole), adding more water as needed until the desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more sriracha as needed.

Store leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to 10 days.


Yield: 1 cup

November salad

6 cups spring greens

1 large tart red apple, chopped

1 large red pear, chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped


1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Place all ingredients in a large bowl.

Yield: 4 servings

Apple cider vinegar dressing

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons honey


2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Drizzle dressing on salad and toss.

Yield: 1/2 cup

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