Back in the ’70s, beef ruled the day, or the dinner in this case. America loved its red meat. Sure, chicken made its way onto the dinner table, but mostly somewhere in between Tuesday night sloppy Joes and Saturday night steaks.

In the past few decades, though, that’s changed. Now chicken rules the roost and beef is more and more on the back burner.

While a chicken has lots of parts, the current trend seems to lean heavily on the side of white meat, which has its pluses and minuses. It’s leaner, and if you’re working with boneless, skinless breasts, it can be quicker to cook. On the minus side, it can be hard to cook without making it tough and dry, and it can lack a depth of flavor.

Because chicken breasts have taken center stage for so long, thighs and legs have often been overlooked. That’s unfortunate. Chicken thighs and legs are moister, more flavorful and more forgiving in the cooking process. You can leave them in the oven or on the stove a little longer and still get a juicy, tender result.

The forgiving nature of dark meat makes it perfect for a sheet-pan dinner that relies on high heat to cook all the ingredients quickly and brown them beautifully.

Such is the case with Sheet-Pan Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Dinner. This fast and easy complete meal is made with chicken leg quarters, which is simply the leg and thigh together.

A brightly flavored mixture of lemon, rosemary, garlic and olive oil coats the chicken, along with baby Yukon Gold potatoes, green beans and a scattering of lemon slices. The entire dinner is cooked on one sheet pan. Whoever is on dish duty will be eternally grateful.


Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at Follow her on Twitter ­at