One pot meals are the break I’m looking for these days. The delicious smell of dinner waiting to eat and the peace of mind knowing you have just avoided the madness of getting dinner ready for a family. The trick to one pot meals is to keep it simple! Save the elaborate stuff for when you have the time and energy to entertain or you want to try something new that typically ends with the fridge being unloaded on your counter and a mountain of dishes to be washed. I am not saying don’t try something new that you haven’t cooked before with a one pot meal but it can also be a great way to use up some stuff in the fridge or pantry. I will say this though – Do not dump random ingredients into a pot thinking it will be good. Spend some time figuring out what is going to most satisfy you, after all it is about coming home to something already complete and delicious that you know is going to be good and make you happy!
One pot meals don’t have to only fall under the stew category, although stews can be incredible and totally satisfying. There are many variations on the one pot meal such as Jambalaya, Paella, a variety of chicken skillets, mac and cheese, chicken curry, meat sauce, to name a few. One pot meals can involve a slow cooker, leaving ingredients to happily cook together for hours while you carry on about your day, a skillet, or standard sauce pot. One pot meals can be as simple as spending 20-30 minutes using up what you already have in your fridge combined with some staples in your pantry. Putting a pasta or a chili together is pretty safe but that still requires focus and organization at the end of the day when exhaustion has started to set in.
After a strong cup of coffee in the morning I know I can get stuff done pretty quickly and getting that slow cooker fired up and filled with tasty ingredients first thing in the morning leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment, what better way to start your day! Let’s not forget to mention that it’s always exciting to come home to see and smell what has transpired over the course of a few hours in the slow cooker.
One of my favourite experiments with one pot meals is to try out a variety of ethnic flavours. Try to use up some different spices that have sat in your collection untouched, except for that one dish you bought them for six months ago. Indian flavoured dishes are best cooked slowly over time, ideal for the slow cooker. Thai style noodle dish with hot broth. Asian flavoured ground beef lettuce wraps. A favourite in our house is chickpea, sweet potato curry in the slow cooker. When I am tight on time I buy a pre roasted chicken and add the pulled chicken to the curry for some extra protein. Don’t over complicate your next one pot meal, keep it simple, it’s about feeling like you got a bit of a break in the kitchen but still got to enjoy something delicious and healthy!
Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry, slow cooker style!
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 TBSP fresh ginger
1 tsp olive oil
1 13 ounce can coconut milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder (of your choice, spicy or mild)
1 TBSP honey
½ tsp crushed red peppers
2-14 ounce cans chickpeas, drained
3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
In a fry pan add the oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté about 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add everything from your fry pan to a blender, add all the spices, honey and coconut milk. Blend away. I like to pulse it so everything is combined but still a bit chunky.
Add the sweet potato and chickpeas to the crock pot and pour your blended ingredients over top. Mix it up with a spoon so everything is coated and season with salt. Turn the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
This curry can be served over rice, quinoa or have it on it’s own. I like to add shredded chicken and cilantro. Enjoy!