A couple of  generations ago, casseroles were the weeknight meal of choice when you needed to get dinner on the table with a minimum of dishes to do afterward. Skillet and sheet-pan meals are our modern-day version, minus the omnipresent tin of condensed soup that bind noodles, meat and veg together in creamy, salty deliciousness.

Heavy sheet pans and parchment allow for all manner of ingredients to bake or roast together — meat, fish, potatoes and other veggies, grouped according to baking time or added to the sheet as required — with minimal clean-up. Sheet pans are large enough — especially compared with a standard 9×13-inch Pyrex baking dish — for hot air to flow around your food and help them roast evenly. Similarly, a large skillet — cast iron or not —makes quick work of ground meat, chops, chicken breasts or thighs without even needing to preheat your oven. Since the pandemic has inspired many of us to seek out nostalgia, particularly in the form of our childhood dinners, here are a few you may have grown up with, in various forms, and are worth making a comeback.

Check out Julie’s other recipes in our ode to the meat-eater series: Pan Sausage & Pierogi and Sloppy Joes.

Crispy Chicken Schnitzel

There are few tastier meals than crispy schnitzel; once you get the hang of it, it’s the sort of thing you can whip up quickly, making enough for one or two or six (it’s easy to scale up or down). Eat it straight-up with a squeeze of lemon, or pair it with a salad or leftover veg or stick it between two slices of squishy bread (spread with mayo) and call it a sandwich.
Servings 4
Author Julie Van Rosendaal


  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (125 ml)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups dry breadcrumbs, fine cracker crumbs or panko (500 ml)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional (125 ml)
  • canola oil, for cooking
  • lemon wedges and parsley, for serving


  • Flatten the chicken thighs: place between two pieces of parchment and pound with a mallet (or the bottom of a thick bottle, or other flat surface) until they’re about half their original thickness.
  • Put the flour into a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Crack the eggs into another shallow dish and beat them with a fork, and put the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a third.
  • Set a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a generous drizzle of oil.
  • Dip each chicken thigh into the flour to coat, then into the beaten egg, and the breadcrumb mixture. Cook in the skillet for a few minutes per side, until deep golden.
  • Serve sprinkled with parsley, with lemon wedges to squeeze over top.