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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hungry? Try These 10 One Dish Meals

One dish meals are great for those times when you just can’t muster up the motivation, energy or time to cook an elaborate meal. Lately, this is me, so here I am offering up some help in the kitchen!  Instead of needing to gather up several items to create a meal, one dish meals allow you to feed yourself and your family bountifully with just one delicious dish.

One dish meals can vary a lot in preparation time, number of ingredients and complexity of the recipe. Some one dish meals can be quite complex and gourmet. So this list includes both simple recipes and a few more complex one dish meals.

I'd like to clone Rachel Ray and install her in my kitchen, but, well, that hasn't worked out yet.  So, here are today's top ten picks for the one dish meals.  (Note: These are not complete recipes with measured ingredients, cooking times, etc.  Rather they are suggestions to get you thinking about which recipe to look for.  You may already have your Grandmother's favorite recipe in a box in the kitchen, or you may be like me, surrounded by cookbooks, but finding what I want on the ever-so-helpful Internet!) 

Meal #1: Chili

Chili is a fantastic way to cook up a meal that’s delicious, filling and fast. There are many different recipes you can choose from to create the perfect taste. It’s a very flexible recipe. You can add more garlic or onions to add more kick. You can add more chili powder to give it spiciness. You can add a bit of sugar to make it a little sweeter. You can use meat or go vegetarian.

One great thing about chili is how easy it is to cook up an enormous batch. Since all the ingredients just go in one pot, you can easily cook up a lot more than you need for one meal. The rest can serve as leftovers for the rest of the week.


Meal #2: Chicken Noodle Soup

If you’re in a rush and want something yummy and satisfying quickly, chicken noodle soup does the trick. Cooking the whole meal takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

If you’re really in a hurry, this meal can be prepared without much fanfare. Just throw the noodles in chicken broth, along with some vegetables, and simmer.

If you have a bit more time, you can fry some of the ingredients going in your soup before throwing them in the pot to boil.

If you want to get more complex, you can cook up some Chinese Noodle Soup or Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup instead as well. These take more time to prepare, as both have ingredients whose flavor needs to be gradually released into the soup.

Meal #3: Cream of Celery Soup with Bacon

You might not think that bacon, celery and cream soup would go well together. Surprisingly, they do. The contrast between the bacon’s salty texture and the celery’s clean texture creates a very nice blend of sensations.

Preparing cream of celery soup with bacon is a bit different than how you’d cook other soups. You start by frying the bacon on the bottom of the pot itself. The bacon will release fats that’ll help flavor the cream soup.

After the bacon is done cooking, you throw in the rest of the ingredients (onion, garlic, celery, etc.) Finally, you add the cream soup and then add the bacon back on top once the soup is finished.

Best of all, most of the cooking for this meal doesn’t need much attendance. After the bacon is fried and the soup is in the pot, you can spend your prep time reading a book, catching up on work or doing leftover dishes.

Meal #4: Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

This dish uses the flavors of root vegetables to flavor the chicken, as well as the grease from the chicken to flavor the vegetables. This dish offers a fragrant symphony of incredible flavors. It’s also quite an easy dish to prepare.

Cooking this dish is no more difficult than slicing up all your vegetables, placing it on the bottom of an oven-friendly dish and then placing the seasoned chicken on top.

The actual vegetables you choose depends on your tastes and what you have in your fridge. Try to get a mix of contrasting flavors. For example, beets for sweetness, onions for tanginess, potatoes for starch and so on. These flavors when combined with the chicken’s richness will bring out and incredible taste and aroma.

Meal #5: Chicken in White Wine

This meal was first popularized by cooking roosters in red wine. Chefs found that this particular way of preparing a rooster resulted in ever so tender meat. Today, instead of using red wine we use white wine and instead of using roosters we use chicken. But the effect is the same: A tender, juice and flavorful dish.

To cook this dish, you’ll need a Dutch oven, which is basically a very large pot. You cook the in the pot first to add flavor to the grease. Then you cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side to brown the chicken, again in the pot. Then you remove the chicken, lower the heat and cook the rest of the ingredients.

This dish is a relatively complex and time consuming dish to prepare. Cook it on a day when you have a bit of time to spare. The cacophony of flavors will absolutely make it worth your while.

Meal #6: Sausage, Pepper and Onion

This recipe falls under the “medium” difficulty and time-spent category. The dish is quite filling and once you’ve made it a couple times becomes quite easy to make. You can use different kinds of sausage meats, like garlic sausages or cheese sausages to change up the flavor of the dish. For an unconventional meal, you can even go for chicken sausages or Italian sausages.

To make this meal, you’ll need a high sided skillet or Dutch oven. You cook the sausages first in water and olive oil, then add the peppers, onions and other ingredients. The recipe comes with chili peppers and parsley, which you can of course replace according to your personal flavor preferences.

Meal #7: Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan (one of my all-time favs) is a baked chicken dish with yummy pasta sauce on the outside and soft tender chicken on the inside, topped with cheese. If you’re handy with the oven, it’s quite a simple dish to prepare.

You start by seasoning the chicken on the outside. You coat each piece of chicken with eggs, flour, salt and pepper then fry it up to make it and nice crispy. Then you pour the pasta sauce in your baking tray, place the chicken on top and add cheese and other dressings.

Put it in the oven and wait for the cheese to melt. That’s all there is to it!

Meal #8: Lasagna

An old standby standard in one dish meals, lasagna can be as elaborate or simple as you want. You can make it vegetarian and add all kinds of vegetables like colored peppers, mushrooms, carrots and more. Or simply go meaty and cheesy.

You can save time by using a premade sauce or cooking your sauce in batches and freezing them for when you need. In addition, most recipes don’t require that you precook the noodles because the sauce cooks the noodles during baking. 

Meal #9: Taco Pie

This is a truly fast and easy one dish meal. If you’re feeling lazy or in a hurry, this dish serves as both a delicious meal and a time saver.

Preparation is simple: First, you fry the ground beef in a skillet with your taco seasoning. If you want to add additional vegetables like onions or tomatoes, just throw them in the pan as well. You can use a premade pie crust and add your taco ingredients, top with cheese and you’re ready to bake. Drizzle with salsa, sour cream and guacamole when it comes out of the oven.

Meal #10: One Pot Chicken with Mango and Couscous

This meal is both sweet and extremely delicious. It’s also very healthy, as both couscous and mangoes are full of all kinds of high quality vitamins and minerals. To top it off, it’s quite easy to make.

Start by cooking your onions and your chicken. Add in the tomatoes, then the mangoes. Make sure to get all the juice from the mango in the pot. As you cook the mangoes, more juice will come out and seep into the couscous and chicken.

Then add chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Add the couscous, wait 10 minutes and your meal is ready!


These are ten fantastic one-dish meals you can cook up whenever you’re pressed for time or just don’t want to put that much work into preparing a multi-course meal. 
What are your go-to recipes for meals in a hurry?

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  1. Love these wonderful one pot meals! There are lots of cloudy..gloomy fall days that just call for this kind of


    1. Hi Gert! You are so right. These are comfort foods to a lot of folks, so maybe we should keep this list handy for just such a day!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

  2. Oh I DO love me some one pot meals!

    1. Keetha - I do too..lazy cook that I am! LOL
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

  3. Hi Grace. Yummmm! I am reading your blog on one pot meals at the wrong time...I haven't Anyway, I copied most of these recipes & put them in my recipe file in order to have them when I need them. They all sound so good. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Marje - Glad you liked the recipes/ideas. Chili is always my favorite cold weather quick meal!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

  4. So much yummy in one place!!! Homemade chicken noodle soup is one of my favorite things. xo


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