Try These 15 One-Pot Meals for Cost-Effective Convenience
Whether you’re single and starting out, planning on camping for the weekend, or simply don’t feel that much like making a multi-pan meal on any given night of the week, one-pot meals are a great way to have something satisfying without making a huge mess. There are three main strategies for serving one-pot meals, all of which are addressed here in this article. Read on. (See also: How To Find Time for Home-Cooked Meals)
One-Pot Meals in Crock Pots
The slow cooker is great small appliance to press into service when you are trying to serve one-pot meals that don’t require you to stand and slave over a stovetop. These five suggestions satisfy a variety of food preferences and also provide you with significant resources to explore slow cooking further if you so desire.
Chicken and Dumplings
One great way to save money on poultry is by stretching the meat servings into stews, which are classic one-pot meals. This recipe for chicken and dumplings in the crock pot comes from Budget Savvy Diva.
Coq Au Vin
French food fans will love the coq au vin recipe on Julie Rains’ list of easy crock pot recipes published previously here on Wise Bread. The meal includes meat, broth, and veggies resulting in a hearty one-pot meal with European flair.
Meatless Stuffed Peppers
Typically prepared with ground beef, this dish can also be prepared sans meat as the recipe listed in my vegetarian crock pot recipes clearly demonstrates. If you love green peppers and find a great weekly deal on them at your local grocery store, why not experiment by adding this entree to your lists of one-pot meals and meatless dishes?
Dumplings don’t float your boat? The list of ideas for savory Crock Pot soups is mind boggling. Two easy and inexpensive ones are the smoky pinto and brown rice soup recipe listed in 25 Ways to Enjoy Beans and Rice and an easy bean and veggie version using frozen mixed vegetables, tomato sauce, and your choice of seasoning.
This makes the short list of favored one-pot meals in many families due to its saucy gravy built into the meal as well as its use of affordable carrots and inexpensive beef along with potatoes, onions, and other cheapie grocery items.
One-Pot Meals in Casseroles
This is about as homespun as it gets. Casseroles have served many of us for years as side dishes and also as hearty one-pot meals. Whether you prefer a cheesy shrimp and veggie casserole or the stronger flavors of beef with Mexican seasoning, a sturdy casserole can serve as your vessel to greater grocery savings. Here are a handful of examples to get you started.
Roasted Chicken Legs and Veggies
Most people think of chopped meats when they think of casserole meals, but the truth is you can prepare them with whole cuts like chicken leg quarters and drummies as long as you have your entire meal in a dish that you can bake at one time. This recipe for roasted chicken legs with potatoes and kale from Food and Wine is one such example.
As long as you include enough veggies in your recipe such as frozen spinach, mushrooms, or even shredded carrots, the end result is a lasagna you can in good conscience add to your short list of one-pot meals. This spinach and veggie lasagna from Taste of Home is a great place to start.
This is farm fare at its heartiest and can be prepared with a variety of proteins from chicken or chopped beef to shrimp or veggie sausage. For a look at a number of different ways you can prepare pot pies, check out Linsey Knerl’s piece entitled Put It in a Pie for Fast Frugal Food.
Chili and Taters
There are a couple of different ways you can go with this. One way is to do a mashed potato topping with a chili base in your casserole dish. Another is to use potato puffs as suggested in this list of Tater Tot casserole ideas.
Suppertime isn’t the only appropriate venue for casseroles. Morning meals are up for grabs too. One fun suggestion is the breakfast cobbler featured in this list of breakfast casseroles. Other interesting options on the list include breakfast nachos and biscuit pies.
A third option for one-pot meals is prepare them in a skillet. You can do this on the stove, in the oven, or even over the campfire. Following are five ideas for trying this out yourself at home.
This easy paella recipe from Martha Stewart allows you to enjoy seafood inexpensively, yet still serve a sexy and elegant dinner to guests at your next dinner party. Serve with sangria and a starter of shrimp and cocktail sauce.
While you can certainly spend the bucks and purchase hamburger or tuna helper at the store, there are also ways to create your own affordably, as this DIY article from The Simple Dollar explains. Once you are armed with your homemade helper, you can get creative with your base ingredients to develop different combinations such as chicken and veggie Alfredo, tuna and peas with cream sauce and noodles, ground beef with seasoned tomatoes and macaroni, etc.
Chicken and Italian Beans
If having all of your meal items mixed together doesn’t suit, consider prepping individual items in different parts of the pan. This bachelor’s pan-roasted chicken breast with Italian beans and tomatoes from the Art of Manliness shows you how.
Those who enjoy having breakfast for dinner as a way to work around busy morning schedules can easily whip up a breakfast hash of potatoes, turkey sausage, peppers and onions. When it’s nearly done, scrape it to the side of the pan and toss in an egg. Voila. Breakfast in a pan.
Very few one-pot meals are more affordable than fried rice, which is why I included it in one of my previous articles on frugal freezer meals over on Financial Highway. The ingredients can vary, but a good place to start is by including leftover rice, scrambled eggs, chopped veggies, garlic, and perhaps a meat of choice such as ham or chicken.
You may not choose to enjoy one-pot meals every night of the week, but for those times when you want less mess and less fuss they are helpful recipes to have on hand.
Do you have any go-to one-pot meals that you enjoy on a regular basis? What are some of your favorite ingredients to include?