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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Cover the pan and set in the middle of the oven. Bake 20 minutes.
- 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
- 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.