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Easy one-pan meal, delicious sauce

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More and more often, I’m making sheet pan meals for dinner.

I love the ease of cooking meat and vegetables at the same time and having fewer pots and pans to clean up after we eat.

Twice last month, I cooked teriyaki chicken for Reggie and me. We both loved the flavors of the teriyaki sauce over chicken, red and green bell peppers and pineapple.

For several years, I’ve made recipes with a teriyaki sauce, but I’ve never been totally happy with the results. Usually, the sauce is thin and runny. We like a thick teriyaki sauce that coats the meat and vegetables with yummy, sticky goodness.

After several attempts, I think I’ve come up with the perfect teriyaki sauce for us. In fact, it’s now in a place of honor on the refrigerator door with the other recipes I use often.

There’s nothing difficult about this teriyaki sauce, and there’s nothing hard about the sheet pan recipe.

The teriyaki sauce is made from basic ingredients I usually have at my house: cornstarch, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ground ginger, honey and pineapple juice.

Prep work for the chicken and vegetables is quick. I cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces (not too small) as well as a mix of bell peppers. The last time I made this recipe, I used green and red bell peppers; orange and yellow would be good choices too. The pineapple comes from a can, but I’m sure fresh pineapple would be delicious.

After spreading the chicken, peppers and pineapple on the sheet pan that has been drizzled with olive oil, I slowly pour the teriyaki sauce over everything in the pan. Then I gently toss to coat the ingredients with that delicious sauce.

Although the sauce isn’t thick when it’s mixed, it thickens as it cooks in the oven. By the time the chicken is cooked through, the teriyaki sauce is thick and bubbly — just the way we like it.

I serve the teriyaki chicken with fried rice. Plain rice would also be good.

Reggie and I enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Lisa Boykin Batts has been writing a weekly food column since 2001 for The Wilson Times. Her column includes recipes she and her family enjoy.

Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken

2 1/2 pounds (more or less) boneless chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces (not too small)

2 bell peppers (I use a variety of colors, including red, green, yellow or orange) cut into chunks or strips

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks (I use pineapple in its own juice, not syrup; reserve juice for the teriyaki sauce)

Olive oil

Teriyaki Sauce

2 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1 to 2 cloves or garlic, minced

Sprinkle or two of ground ginger (I don’t measure)

3 tablespoons honey

Splash of pineapple juice from the can of pineapple

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Drizzle a little olive oil on a large sheet pan. Add chicken, peppers and pineapple and toss to spread the olive oil.

In a small bowl, add cornstarch and brown sugar and stir well to combine; I use a fork. Add in soy sauce, garlic, ground ginger, honey and pineapple juice. Stir to combine.

Slowly pour the sauce over the chicken mixture. Gently stir ingredients to coat with the teriyaki sauce. (You could mix it all together in a bowl, then add to pan.)

Cook at 425 degrees for 25 minutes until chicken is done. I bumped up the temperature to 450 in the 5-10 minutes so the chicken would brown more.

Serve with rice or fried rice.