The one dish meal, while an inventor cannot be named, probably began life during prehistoric times, when whatever foods were available were thrown into a pot and cooked for the tribe’s dinner. Soups and stews made with harvested vegetables and hunted game were most likely the first one dish meals. As cooking processes advanced from an open fire to microwaves and convection ovens, the one dish meal has survived and thrives for busy families.
One dish meals provide the cook with a way of feeding the family without a lot of fuss. Because only one dish or pot is used in the preparation, after meal cleanup is quick. One dish meals also allow for the combining of various leftovers into a new meal that is fresh and appealing to eat.
Types of one dish meals can range from simple soups to elaborate meals, such as Beef Stroganoff or Italian Lasagna. Many one dish meals are considered to be comfort foods with macaroni and cheese topping the list. Pot pies, another popular one dish meal, are most often made with chicken or turkey and vegetable leftovers from previous meals. The crock pot revolutionized one dish meals with the idea that a busy cook could have dinner waiting to be served when returning home from work.
Most one dish meals usually combine a protein, one or more vegetables and a starch such as pasta or rice. These meals can be oven baked or cooked on the top of the stove. Since most meals are prepared by simply combining ingredients, one dish meals are a good way to introduce children to cooking.
One dish meals can be made to feed a single person or a crowd. Many pot luck meals include numerous one dish meals meant to serve a number of people. Casserole dishes that can be warmed up in minutes are a popular way to introduce yourself to new neighbors or help a friend who is ill.
Chicken in Mushroom Sauce
- 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen small whole onions
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
- 1 -14 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and halved
Remove skin from chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and ground black pepper. In 12-inch skillet, cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken.
Add carrot and onions to skillet. Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add vermouth, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Return chicken to skillet. Pour broth over chicken; sprinkle with parsley, thyme, and rosemary.
Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, adding mushrooms during last 10 minutes of cooking.
White Bean and Sausage Stew
6 to 8 servings.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 3 medium carrots, finely diced
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 large rosemary sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add the tomato paste and oregano to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.
When the beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with additional vinegar and olive oil.
Vegetable Beef Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 pound beef stew meat (such as chuck) or lamb stew meat (shoulder or leg), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth or water
- 1- 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 small parsnips, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, leaves included, thinly sliced
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus more leaves for garnish
- 8 sprigs fresh basil, plus more leaves for garnish
- 1 large zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 ounces angel hair pasta (capellini), broken into small pieces (about 1/2 cup), or orzo, preferably whole-wheat
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and turmeric; stir to coat. Add meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and the meat is no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Add broth (or water), tomatoes and their juice, parsnips, carrots, celery and saffron. Tie parsley and basil sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender, 45-50 minutes.
Stir in zucchini and cook, covered, until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add pasta and cook until soft, 6-10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta. Discard the parsley and cilantro sprigs. Season with salt (start with 1 teaspoon if you’re using beef broth; add more if you’re using water) and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley and/or basil leaves, if desired.
Oven Roasted Brisket and Vegetables
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 1 lb. potatoes, quartered
- 5 oz mushrooms, sliced (about 2 to 2 1/2 cups)
- 2 1/2 pounds lean beef brisket, trimmed, use the flat half
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Spread onion slices and garlic on bottom of a non-stick roasting pan; top with carrots, potatoes and mushrooms. Arrange beef over vegetables.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar.
Pour tomato mixture over brisket and vegetables; tightly cover with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast for 2 hours and then remove from the oven; uncover, stir and use pan juices to baste meat.
Return brisket to oven and roast for about 1 hour more, uncovered, basting every 15 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Serve meat and vegetables with sauce spooned over top.
Winter Vegetable Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 cipollini onions (pearl onions can be substituted), peeled
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- One 1/2-ounce bundle of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano
- One 2 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
- 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat and add onions; cook, stirring, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add stock and herbs; simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add squash, carrots, potatoes and fennel; cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add green beans and cook, covered, about 5 minutes more. Remove cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
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