Mom’s casserole dish, a soup pot, or skillet: One isn’t the loneliest number

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Just in time for football season, cookbook author Melissa Clark scores a touchdown with a recipe for a one sheet pan meatball sub. Photo by Linda Xiao.

Melissa Clark was an early adopter of using a single sheet pan to whip up a meal, but she says it’s not the only way to keep dinner and clean up simple. According to Clark, many cultures use a soup pot or Dutch oven as a time-honored way of cooking. 

Adding ingredients at different times to maintain the integrity of their texture is half the battle. “It’s about how to apply heat in a smart way that gets you to this end result,” she says about frying chickpeas or bacon and removing from a skillet or pot to use for a crispy garnish later in the dish. 

With meat-free meals, easy baking, and quick suppers, Clark’s latest collection of recipes is “Dinner in One: Exceptional and Easy One-Pan Meals: A Cookbook.”

Meatball Sub Sandwiches on Garlic Bread
Serves 2 to 4

  • ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey, very cold
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 crusty Italian bread, preferably semolina, about 12 inches long
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn or cut into small pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought, for serving


  1. Place an oven rack 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high.
  2. Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and mix well. Add the meat and egg and combine with your hands until well mixed. Form into 24 meatballs, each about 1¼ inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on one side of a rimmed sheet pan and broil until golden and firm, 6 to 9 minutes (you don’t need to turn them). Turn off the broiler and set the oven to 425ºF.
  3. While the meatballs are broiling, prepare the sandwiches: Use a serrated knife to cut the Italian loaf in half lengthwise, almost but not quite all the way through, and pull it open like a book. Place the bread, cut side up, on a piece of foil just large enough to fit the opened loaf. Put the bread and foil on the empty side of the sheet pan, next to the meatballs (the foil keeps the bread from absorbing the meatball juices and getting soggy). Bake for 3 minutes to toast the bread lightly.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and brush this butter-garlic mixture all over the top of the bread. Using a spatula, push the cooked meatballs close to each other so they’re touching. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top of the meatballs and return the pan to the oven to bake for 5 to 7 more minutes, until the bread is crisp and the mozzarella is melted.
  5. To assemble the meatball sub, place the cheesy meatballs on the garlic bread, spoon a little of the marinara sauce on top, and smush the sandwich shut. Cut into pieces and serve more marinara sauce on the side for dunking.

“Reprinted from Dinner In One. Copyright © 2022 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Linda Xiao. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.” 

Beets and Greens Phyllo Pie with Feta
Serves 4

This take on a spanakopita includes beets for sweetness that matches up against a salty cheese. Photo by Linda Xiao.

  • 1 pound rainbow, red, or Swiss chard (1 to 2 bunches)
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces cooked, peeled beets, diced into ½-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 phyllo pastry sheets (from 1 package)
  • 6 ounces Brie, hand torn into small pieces (including rind)
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Place a sheet pan or pizza stone on the middle oven rack and heat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Remove the chard stems and thinly slice them, discarding the ends. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces and save for later.
  3. In a large ovenproof skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Pour most of the butter into a small bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon or so in the pan. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until the slices turn golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the chard stems and a big pinch of salt and continue to cook until the stems are tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves, tossing well, and let them cook until they wilt and any liquid in the pan dries out, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Scrape the chard mixture into a large bowl. Add the beets, dill, scallion, ½ teaspoon salt, and a lot of pepper and toss to combine everything well.
  5. Wipe out the skillet, let it cool for a few minutes (it can be warm, just not burning hot), then transfer it from the stove to a work surface or countertop. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with some of the melted butter. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the skillet, gently pushing it down to fit without tearing, allowing the excess to hang over the edges of the pan. Gently brush the bottom and sides of the phyllo with more of the butter. Repeat with the remaining five phyllo sheets, buttering each layer as you go and rotating them slightly so that the overhang falls at a different angle. Make sure to save a little of the butter for the top of the pie.
  6. Spoon the chard-beet mixture in an even layer over the phyllo. Sprinkle the Brie and feta on top. Fold the overhanging phyllo over the filling (it won’t cover it all the way, which is fine). Brush the phyllo on top with the remaining melted butter.
  7. Place the skillet on the hot sheet pan or pizza stone and bake until the phyllo is golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges for squeezing.


Not a beet fan? Substitute 1 cup of any cooked, leftover vegetables you have around: sautéed mushrooms, peppers, or onions; roasted butternut squash, eggplant, broccoli, or cauliflower; steamed green beans or sugar snap peas. Or use some cooked sausage or ham in place of the beets to make this heartier. If you’re starting with raw beets, you’ll need 12 ounces raw beets. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little water, wrap in a double layer of foil, and place on a roasting pan. Roast at 350ºF until tender, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the beets. Peel while still warm.

“Reprinted from Dinner In One. Copyright © 2022 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Linda Xiao. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.” 

Queen of the Sheet Pan, cookbook author Melissa Clark is making everything from pound cakes and meatball subs using one cooking vessel. Photo by Amy Dickerson.

Melissa Clark’s latest cookbook keeps dinner and clean up simple. Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House.