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One Pot Wonderful

By Dawna Matthews

It’s often difficult to do all the tasks and activities we have on a daily basis. One of the most important things on my to-do list is to make a delicious meal for my family and I to enjoy. I find it easier to have a menu plan on what to cook during the week, but sometimes need something as my back-up that is super easy but still delicious and soul- satisfying. I cook a one pot meal and find it meets my requirements.

What is a one pot meal? A one pot meal is exactly what it sounds like- a meal that requires only one pot to cook it in. This vessel can be a Dutch oven, a skillet, a pot, or any number of things and all the ingredients are prepared in that “one pot” and create magic- also know as dinner. Think about all the cultures which use this method- Italy has risotto, Spain has paella, North America has mac and cheese- all yummy, versatile, and easy. One pot meals still give you self satisfaction of home cooking, combined with easy techniques and minimal clean-up, and nearly always contain a starch, protein and vegetable all together. I particularly love they can be easily adapted and interchangeable to be vegetarian, meat-lovers, or the seafood special, depending on what you add in.

One-PotWhy Should You Go One-Pot

  • It’s simple- not everyone has time to prepare three different dishes- a starch, protein and vegetable- every night. The one pot meal allows for creativity, while keeping things simple and easy to clean up.
  • It’sgotflexibility-The all-in-one preparation lends itself adding what you have on hand and modifying the recipe to meet dietary needs and preferences. It’s like traveling the world in one pot.

• It’s easy to Clean-up- Cleaning after the one pot meal minimal and fast. Most meals require the clean up of the pot, a knife, and cutting board.

One pot meals are wonderful whether you love to cook or just need to get through the weeknight and feed yourself or a crowd. They help expand your culinary horizons while maintaining simplicity and are so approachable and open to change.

One of my favorite things to cook in one pot is rice. I like to vary it with the vegetables I have on hand. Also, you can add chicken or tofu to round it out if you like. Here is a basic rice recipe I use- adapted from my grandmother. The beauty of this dish is you can add or change it depending on what you have on supply or like. I have added zucchini, fresh corn, and black beans. Mix it up and see what happens!

mexican-rice

Mexican Rice
1 1/2tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
11⁄2 cups white rice- I prefer medium grain
1 cup bottled chunky salsa (or homemade if you have it) 2 cups vegetable broth
salt to taste
11⁄2 cups frozen peas

Preparation (45 minutes):
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a medium (3 quart) ovenproof saucepan over medium heat.

  1. Add the oil and rice. Stir frequently until the grains of rice turn from translucent to milky-white. Add the salsa, broth, and 1⁄2 tsp salt (Add chicken if using).Stir and let the mixture come to a full boil.
  2. Cover the pan and set in the middle of the oven. Bake 20 minutes.
  3. Uncover, add the peas (and tofu if using), and return covered to bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5
  4. more minutes. Fluff the rice. Adjust the salt to taste and enjoy.

Do you have any one-pot recipes you would like to share? We would love to see what you green-moms cook up.

About Dawna Matthews

Dawna is a yoga teacher, writer, domestic goddess, and lover of life. She tries to celebrate all the joys given to us in this world by dancing, singing, cooking, and gazing up at the sky. Dawna believes green living is a way of coming back to the self- a simple yet deeply satisfying dance of gratitude to mother earth and each one of us. She lives in Colorado where the mountains are a perfect backdrop to each day. She twirls daily.

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