When you just don’t have time to make a multi-course dinner, one-pot wonders save the day. These are ideal for nights when you don’t have much time or energy, and need a hearty dinner option. Many of these ideas are also budget friendly. The kids can get in the kitchen and help out with these meals too.
Poor Man’s Pot
This is one of the easiest, tastiest and most filling one-pot wonders you can make. It is also very budget friendly. You will need 1 head of cabbage, 1 onion, 1 potato per person and 2 pounds of bulk pork sausage (also known as country style sausage). Start the sausage in the biggest pot that you have. Once it is almost completely cooked, add peeled and cubed potatoes. Let the potatoes soak up some of the sausage fat for flavor. From here, add the cabbage, onion and a clove of garlic.
The only seasoning you need here is 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper to taste and ½ teaspoon celery seeds. If you do not have celery seeds, just chop some celery or celery leaves for added flavor. Let everything cook in one pot, stirring it every 10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender (and slightly browned) and the potatoes are cooked through.
Stir-fry is simple and can all be done in one pan. The thing about stir fry is that there is no right or wrong as far as ingredients go. You really don’t want to use a ground meat, but if that’s what you have on-hand, make small meatballs instead of leaving it loose. Put all of your ingredients into one pan, and using frozen stir-fry veggie mixes is also fine, with about 1 cup of meat stock. Let it cook about 15 minutes and you’re ready to eat. You can make a microwavable rice for the side so that you can direct your attention elsewhere.
Simple Tomato Basil Pasta
This dish has floated around the Internet for a couple of years. All you need is 1 pound of pasta, 1 can of diced tomatoes with basil and oregano, fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, basil), salt, pepper and about a tablespoon of olive oil. You can add to this dish and add chicken breast tenders to the pot, or tear in store-bought rotisserie chicken just before you serve it. Improvise a little bit and add in multi-colored bell peppers, broccoli or mushrooms for more flavor.
Soups are simple and require only one pot. It is best to start with your meat, to start the flavor profile, and remove it from the pan. Then add your vegetables, butter and flour for a roux if you plan to make a cream based soup. It is important that your vegetables are all the same size so that they finish cooking at the same time. Soups are an “everybody in the pool” meal where you start it, get everything in the pot and forget about it for an hour.
These simple one-pot wonders can be customized to your family’s preferences. They are easy to prep and allow you plenty of time to tackle other tasks, like homework or laundry, as they cook. Remember to taste these dishes as they cook to see if the seasoning needs to be adjusted.
What is your favorite one pot wonder?