We all have those days when just thinking about having to wash a mound of dishes makes us want to cry, let alone creatively developing a spectacular gourmet meal every night for our families.
Convenience is the reason that takeout seems like the perfect answer to a long day. But dinner doesn’t have to be difficult, and you can whip up a simple, nutritious one-pot meal in the same amount of time, with minimal clean up and avoiding the extra unnecessary calories from eating unhealthier take-out.
A lot of meals can be made in just one pot and do not have to be boring or bland. All the ingredients cook at the same temperature and work well together. Stewing anything works for one-dish meals and broth or liquid serves to flavor all the other ingredients. And while not necessarily always super-quick, a one-pot meal can still cut down on cooking time. Best of all, you can make one complete meal with a protein, vegetable and starch all in one.
One benefit of the one-pot meal is flavor infusion. Infusion cooking means that everything goes into the Dutch oven at the same time, in a high heat oven, without lifting the lid, so that the moisture from the vegetables are released, and the herbs and spices infuse the meat with flavor. You can create light dishes, or something hearty and filling and use up whatever ingredients are already in your fridge, cutting down on food waste.
Finally, why confine yourself to a Dutch oven? You can cook on just a sheet pan, too. Roast your pork chops on one side, and your vegetables, onions and garlic on the other side, and voila! Another version of a one-pot meal.
The possibilities are endless, so try a one-pot meal for a weeknight win.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hourIngredients
32 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup pearled barley
3 cups Swiss chard, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Season chicken with salt and thyme.
3. Heat a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and stir for a minute. Add tomatoes, including juices, and barley; bring to a simmer.
4. Place the chicken thighs in the pot and add enough water to just cover the chicken (1- 2 cups). Return to a simmer then transfer to the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Remove pot from the oven and fold in the chard. Cover the pot and return to the oven for 15 minutes.