By Dawna Matthews:
It seems everyone I know is busy. Our lives are filled with family, friends, school, work, and everything in between. Oftentimes it seems inconvenient to cook and clean up dishes, and more convenient to eat on the go; but, as we all know, fast food tends not to be as healthy. I’m here to tell you that you can make nutritious, tasty and quick meals at home, all in one pan.
What is a one-pot meal? It is a meal that requires only one pan, skillet, pot, or slow cooker to make delicious and simple meals. The beauty of one-pot meals is that they combine easy techniques and can be as simple or intricate as you wish, depending on what you are inspired to create. They generally can be prepared in advance and can be easily adjusted to what you have on hand in your kitchen. Easy to clean up afterward, one-pot meals often require the clean up only of the skillet or pot, knife, cutting board, and plate. Lastly, they are convenient and help you to avoid making trips to restaurants and fast food chains.
I like to experiment in the kitchen and am constantly switching ingredients to what is seasonal or on hand. Here is one of my favorites for you to try.
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, olive oil, or ghee
- 11⁄2 cups white or brown rice — I prefer medium grain
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes or bottled chunky salsa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 11⁄2 cups frozen peas**
Preparation (45 minutes): Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a medium (3 quart) ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and rice. Stir frequently until the grains of rice turn from translucent to milky-white. Add the tomatoes (or salsa), broth, cumin and 1⁄2 tsp salt (Add protein such as chicken if using). Stir and let the mixture come to a full boil. Cover the pan and set in the middle of the oven. Bake 20 minutes.
Uncover, add the peas, cover and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 more minutes. Fluff the rice. Adjust the salt to taste, add pepper, and enjoy.
**Feel free to add what you have on hand. Some suggestions are onion, zucchini, mushrooms, black beans, or corn.
A recent favorite of mine this winter is an exotic Moroccan inspired one-pot chicken couscous. It’s a warming and satisfying meal that is fast to prepare. You can find it here: http://weelicious.com/2014/04/02/one-pot-chicken-with-toasted-couscous-recipe/
For numerous reasons, slow cooker meals and other one-pot entrees are becoming increasingly needed in today’s busy world. They offer convenience as well as an effortless way to nourish your family and yourself. They allow you to come home to a warm meal or prepare one quickly. They add creativity and innovation in the countless combinations you can put together — all in one pot, pan or skillet. Additionally, there is less mess to clean up and more time for relaxation, which is something we can all get happy about. I invite you to add one-pot dishes to your weekly repertoire so you can feel good about what you eat as well as add more free time to your schedule.
Do you have any one-pot recipes you would like to share? We would love to be inspired by you.