Weekend Cooking: one-pot one-pan meals

Last week I experimented with one-pot, one-pan meals.

I do quite a fair bit of these already, like fried rice, fried noodles, but I had never really done a one-pot pasta. What I mean by that is the pasta itself gets cooked in the broth, instead of in boiling water, drained and then added back to the pot.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would work! Would it be too salty from the broth? Would there be enough liquid leftover so that the pasta wouldn’t be too dry?

But the recipe at Budget Bytes for Bacon and Spinach Pasta was really simple and she even has step-by-step photos to follow along in case you need that. You can click on the link for more details. But essentially the steps were:

Crisp up your bacon, remove, drain most of the oil (save it for something else!), leaving about a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot. Add a chopped up shallot, I also added some chopped up garlic. Then after it softens, add in the broth. I was planning to cook about 3/4 of the pasta packet (3/4 of a pound), so I added more broth than called for in the recipe. Also I have to add that my chicken broth was the kind of paste that comes in a glass jar. It was in no way a homemade chicken broth or even one of those tetrapak ones, but it still worked fine. Because of the bacon and the saltiness of the broth (at least with the broth I used), no salt is required but I did grind in some black pepper and an ‘everyday seasoning’ from Trader Joe’s. I didn’t add in Parmesan cheese either.

The kids loved it. Even the 2-year-old who is the “no vegetables!!” stage, was happy to eat the spinach, partly because he got the ‘crunchies’ (i.e. the bacon) with it. And it disappeared before I remembered to take a photo for posterity. So you’ll just have to take my word for it. Tasty. I will definitely be cooking my pasta in chicken broth again. Although I’m not sure if it will really work for all other kinds of pasta.

The other one-dish meal I made last week was a one-pan chicken and root vegetable dinner. Technically it was a one-Pyrex-dish meal. I chopped up carrots, butternut squash and celery and halved some red potatoes. A drizzle of olive oil, a few twists of the pepper mill, some shakes of garlic salt and a herb mix, and toss directly in the pyrex dish. Lay the chicken drumsticks on top, also seasoned similarly, and nestle the potatoes among the chicken.

  
I’ve read some recipes that say to lay the vegetables and chicken in a single layer, but my dish was a bit smaller than I expected and it didn’t work that way for me. I made sure to have the chicken and potatoes on top though so that they could crisp up a bit. My oven was at 400F convection. I turned the chicken drumsticks about halfway through. And I think the dish was in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.

  

  

Ta da! An easy convenient meal with minimal prep, minimal washing up, yet it has lots of flavour. You could easily add in or change it to other vegetables like Brussels sprouts, parsnips or sweet potatoes.

My four-year-old raved about the butternut squash which really surprised me! 

What one-pan or one-pot meals do you like to cook? 

 

 

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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20 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: one-pot one-pan meals

  1. I just cooked a roast chicken yesterday! I should have put the veggies on the pan an hour before the end. This looks like an easy way to eat meat, and that’s what I like!

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  2. Oooh, I’m going to have to try that roast veggie and chicken dish. I cook most of our dinners over the stovetop but usually have a pan of potatoes roasting in the oven, so may as well combine the two.

    I’ve always been skeptical of one pot pasta dishes as well but made my first one last month. It actually turned out a little too liquidy but when I had leftovers the next day it was so delicious. I’m tempted to make it ahead of time the next time I make it. http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/creamy-tomato-and-bacon-linguine/

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    1. I looked at that recipe you linked to and they do use a lot more liquid compared to the Budget Bytes one. Hers is 1/2 lb pasta to 2 cups broth and the foodie with family was 1 lb pasta to 5 cups broth and also that can of tomatoes which has quite a bit of liquid in it. I do like the sound of that recipe you linked to, but I will take note of your comment about too much liquid and maybe reduce to 4 cups of broth first. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I am all for one-pot meals, but confess that I too haven’t ever done a one-pot pasta recipe. I had the same fears as you, but now I guess I should feel confident to try it. I see both your recipe and Trish’s has bacon, which pretty much guarantees a flavor win!

    That chicken and veggie bake is perfect for busy days — I’ll put it on my list for next week.

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  4. Lasagne made from no-boil pasta can be a one-pot meal if you use everything else from a jar — but I usually make at least one meat or vegetable sauce in another pan. Almost every blogger I read this month has made a crock-pot meal, and they’re usually single-pot endeavors as well: chilli, pot roast, stew, soup…

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  5. I’ve gotten several one-pot meals from Budget Bytes in my time! I also have a creamy tomato and bacon linguine situation (I think I got it from Foodie with Family?) that has worked out well for me, and a skillet chicken rice salsa guy (from Budget Bytes also, I want to say) that I’ve only made once, but to great success.

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  6. we love one pot meals, or at least meals that dirty as few dishes as possible to make. I make something really similar to your roasted chicken bake, and I do exactly like you do – with chicken pieces lying on top of chopped veggies.

    other one pot dishes we make are lots of soups, chilis, and stews. A few years ago we invested in a non-stick dutch oven. we sear meat in it on the stovetop, add aromatics, veggies and other stuff, and then let the dish finish in the oven.

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    1. Oh yes the dutch oven. I have gazed at those for, well, for pretty much as long as I’ve lived in the US! May I ask what brand you use?

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