Here's one of my kitchen secrets: parchment paper. Yes, I know it's basic, but believe it or not, I really didn't start maximizing the utility of this product until a few years ago!
You can pick up a roll of parchment paper in the grocery store for about $3. You'll find it in the aisle with waxed paper, foil, and plastic wrap. I always bake my cookies with commercial grade 1/2 sheet baking pans lined with parchment paper. For years I used Silpat. Silpat is a wonderful reusable silicone baking mat with many uses beyond baking cookies, but it isn't cheap ($26/sheet) and it is kinda stinky (like burned rubber) when it gets hot in the oven. Silpat also needs to be washed after each use and I'm not about doing dishes. I tried parchment paper about 4 years ago after my mother accidentally took a knife to my Silpat in an attempt to cut freshly baked pepperoni bread.
I use parchment paper to line pans of brownies and pumpkin bread. You can bake savory foods on it without worrying about using extra oil to prevent sticking. When you are finished with your recipe, you simply throw the paper in the trash. I've found that it's much easier to lift dense quick breads, bars, and desserts out of pans when I line them with parchment and let the paper overlap out of the sides of the pan.
Parchment paper equals easy cleanup, smooth baked surfaces, and an instant non-stick surface. If you hate scrubbing pans or washing dishes in general, but you love to bake and roast, try parchment paper.