One-Pot Meals
Easy Dinners With Little Clean-up Needed!

Dinnertime is getting more and more hectic. Between juggling a busy schedule, working late, homework, and a million other things, it seems hard to get everyone around the table at the same time, let alone make the meal yourself. However, it is possible! It’s also really important for you and your partner or your family to have this time to catch up and bond.

One-pot meals allow you to get a family dinner in without a ton of prep work or cleanup. They are simple to throw together, provide great-tasting meals, and are easy to clean up after since they only involve one pot. They’re also great for beginners in the kitchen because the recipes are simple to follow and there is not too much going on at once.

Here are five one-pot meal recipes that you are sure to love! What’s great is that they are adaptable, too – it’s easy to swap out ingredients and flavors to, say, give something a Southwestern kick or a Mediterranean feel, or turn up the spice levels. I like to make a meal as written the first time, then make my own adaptations later to make it even better (and more suited to my family’s taste!). Think of these as rough drafts that you can turn into masterpieces!

Sweet and Savory Porkchops - One-Pot Meals

Sweet and Savory Pork Chops

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

This cozy dish takes about 20 minutes to make and is delicious. The cinnamon and apples make a great sweet and savory addition to the pork chops.

Timing is everything to get this recipe ready before your meat gets cold. There is a French expression for this, mise en place, which essentially means “to put everything in its place.” With your ingredients portioned ahead of time, you can just grab them and throw them into the pot when needed. I like to move the pork chops to a warm plate with some kind of cover over it. Then I keep it on a burner I’m not using to keep it warm. Some people like to keep things warm by preheating their oven to a fairly low temperature and stowing them away inside while you cook the rest of the recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 medium apples, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once warm, cook pork chops 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove chops and keep warm.
  2. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Add apples, pecans, and brown sugar mixture to the pan, along with the remaining butter. Stir occasionally until apples are tender. Serve over pork chops.

Beef Stew with Vegetables

Recipe adapted from The Food Network

Though this recipe takes quite a bit of time, it’s well worth it, and it also allows you to get things done while it’s cooking. When I make this recipe (or other stews like it), I am always super productive: I start my laundry, I wash dishes, I catch up on my reading. Sure, my stomach is rumbling the whole time, but staying busy while I cook keeps me from snacking, and it makes my apartment smell amazing! This stew is perfect for a chilly evening.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 parsnips, sliced
  • 1 turnip, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • parsley for garnish to taste

  1. In a pan, heat oil and butter and brown the beef. Once brown, remove from pan.
  2. Put garlic and onions into the pan and cook about 3 minutes until soft. Add the beer, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, paprika, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Return beef to pan, cover, and let simmer on low heat about 1½ hours until beef is tender. Add broth as needed.
  3. Add carrots, parsnips, and turnips. Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables cook and liquid is reduced.
  4. If stew is too runny, remove a cup of water from the pan and add the flour to the water. Then, add that mixture into the pan and stir. Simmer until stew is thick and meat is tender. Add parsley and serve.

Spicy Linguine And Shrimp - One-Pot Meals

Spicy Linguine and Shrimp

Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Your next go-to for date night! This shrimp and linguine dish has a little bit of a kick to spice things up. If you have trouble finding watercress, you can substitute baby spinach or arugula.

In case you need it, here’s how to easily devein your shrimp.

What you’ll need:

  • ¾ pounds linguine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ pounds peeled and deveined large raw shrimp, tails removed
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 bunches watercress, stems removed and torn
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

What you’ll do:

  1. Cook pasta as you would regularly. Keep ¾ cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta (reserving the water). Wipe the pot out with a paper towel.
  2. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add shrimp, garlic, red pepper, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook about 3-4 minutes until cooked through, mixing occasionally.
  3. Reduce heat and add the pasta, watercress, lemon zest, and half of the pasta water. Cook about 1-2 minutes and toss so the sauce coats the pasta. Add more cooking water if needed.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

This recipe has all the flavor of a bacon cheeseburger, but in a warm and hearty stew! This is so adaptable – swap in your own favorite veggies, or kick the spice up a notch by adding hot peppers.

Once you are done cooking the bacon, here’s a trick for easily removing the grease from the pan without having to deal with pouring the liquid anywhere: Use a pair of tongs and a wad of paper towel to soak up the grease. Let it cool on a plate (I usually just use a dish that is already dirty – no sense in dirtying something new) and toss in the trash.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
  • 12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 bacon strips

What you’ll do:

  1. Cook the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain. Once cooled, crumble into smaller pieces.
  2. Cook beef, onion, and pepper over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes. Break beef into crumbles and drain. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Then, add flour and stir until blended.
  3. Gradually stir in milk. Put in potatoes, water, and bouillon. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add cheese and stir until melted. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

Pizza Pasta - One-Pot Meals

Pizza Pasta

Recipe adapted from Yellow Bliss Road

All of the classic pizza toppings are in this perfect dish that combines pizza and pasta. If you have kids, they’re going to love it! This dish works great for leftovers, too, so make more than you need and save the rest in portioned containers for later.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-ounce package of pepperoni
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 2 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups small, dry pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pot. Add onions and peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add Italian sausage and pepperoni. Cook until sausage is done.
  3. Add pasta, beef broth, pizza sauce, a pizza sauce jar’s worth of water, tomato paste, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and stir in most of the cheese. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve with green peppers and cheese sprinkled on top.

Tips and Tricks for Cooking One-Pot Meals

As you can see, one-pot meals make for simple and delicious family dinners. Here are some ways to make them even better:

  • Invest in a great pot for your one-pot meals. Make sure it is nonstick for easy cooking and large enough for meals with multiple ingredients. This will become a staple in your kitchen.
  • Don’t throw all of the ingredients in at one time. Different ingredients take different times to cook. Usually meat will go in first, then the other ingredients gradually, to build flavor.
  • Make more than you need and freeze the leftovers in pre-portioned containers. You’ll have another easy meal for another busy night.

Now you know how to put together five delicious one-pot meals – time to go create your own culinary masterpieces!

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