Did you know that by cooking meals at home you’re more likely to consume fewer calories, less fat, sugar, and sodium compared to a takeaway or a dinner out? You might complain that sometimes you need a break and that you’ve just had enough of making dinner for everyone as well as doing all the dishes but before you go out and grab a pre-made bite to eat, make a healthy meal in one pot.
Cosy, familiar, and easy to make, modern one-pot recipes are far away from those uninspiring students or campers’ meals. In fact, nowadays variations on the theme mean both creative cuisine and sustainability while maintaining the simplicity and energy savings of one-pot cooking.
For those midlife women not familiar with the concept yet, one-pot meals don’t necessarily have to be in a pot; try cooking everything in a pan, a tray, a slow cooker, or a sheet pan. A one-pot meal also doesn’t require hours of cooking: it is as comforting as it is convenient and can be easily adapted to be vegetarian, meat-lovers, or the seafood special, depending on what you add in. A great way to be more sustainable at home, too.
In her latest cookbook, “One: Pot, Pan, Planet“, Anna Jones, for instance, invites us to enjoy flavourful, climate-friendly meals combined with small, manageable, daily steps that can help make the world we live in better for future generations.
It’s a pivotal time – she explains -There is much to be done, but there are millions of people waking up to the situation making small daily repeatable changes. They may not seem much as individual acts but every small act adds up. The focus on recipes that are cooked in one pot, tray or pan, for instance, means that the recipes are not only easy but they are also more sustainable as they only require one heat source and less washing up so save on energy which is a dimension of sustainability that’s not often thought about.
The key to successful one-pot cooking? Building flavour through simple techniques while relying on a well-stocked pantry, and the right equipment like a proper pot, ideally a deep, glossy, cast-iron one that will work as well in the oven when making cassoulets, casseroles and bakes as it does in the stove for stews, soups, tagines and “carby” dishes.
If you’re not sure you’re ready to dive in and outfit your kitchen for the full one-dish experience – suggests catering queen Martha Stewart-, then start with these three essentials: a good skillet, a sturdy rimmed baking sheet, and a Dutch oven or stockpot. Once you are convinced that this style of cooking is worth the investment, consider tricking out your kitchen with the other great options for one-dish cookware that can be found ahead.
There are several methods for preparing everything in one dish. From techniques like deep frying to steaming to slow cooking, the possibilities are endless, yet the procedure is pretty much the same for each meal: you can vary the ingredients to suit your taste or to use up the leftovers.
The great thing is that you can make just about anything in a pot, so you’re not limited to soups and stews. Think chicken and veggies infused with garlic and lemon in a Dutch oven, or a seafood and sausage-stuffed paella simmering in a large pan, pasta packed with vegetables, protein-rich stews, and cheesy whole-grain bakes. The most important thing is learning the art of layering food according to its consistency and cooking time.
Here at CrunchyTales, we all love those one-pot meal recipes that include rice because it’s easy to cook, quick to make, and extremely versatile even better when combined with prawns, fresh ginger and vegetables. However, we can’t deny we are also recently obsessed with Anna Jones’ Crispy Tofu & Broccoli Pad Thai which brings together crispy tofu, lots of greens, a tamarind-heavy sauce, roasted peanuts and crispy onions. In case you prefer sticking to a meat-based recipe, then try stir-fried rice noodles with minced pork and black bean, otherwise, opt for Carla Snyder‘s recipe ‘Orange Chicken Stew With Red Pepper & Sweet Potatoes‘ from her book One Pan, Whole Family: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals. You will be pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavours.
Above all, eat seasonally and support your local farmers’ markets as often as you can. By buying more varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, and pulses you’ll help support biodiversity, too.