Dinner Without the Mess: 6 Ultimate 1-Pot Recipes (2024)

"Oh, I love to cook, I just never like to do the dishes afterward," you'll often hear people say if you ask them about cooking during the workweek.

If you take joy in cooking - reveling in the fragrance of fresh herbs, hearing the sizzle of fresh meat hitting a hot pan, and finding calm in the systematic rhythms of slicing, dicing, and chopping on a wooden cutting board - then you probably look at cooking as a great way to decompress after a long busy day.

If you take joy in eating - and it's probably safe to say that, like most people, you do (especially if you are here with us) - then you're also excited at the thought of a home-cooked meal made with fresh ingredients, shared with family or loved ones right before curling up on the couch in front of the TV.

The thing is, though, nobody takes joy in the chore that comes afterward - doing the dishes. That's why The Daily Meal has rounded up 6 great recipes for you to try that won't leave a pile of dishes in the sink.

Give these a shot and you might just find yourself cooking more often during the week.

Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Golden Raisins (pictured above)

The summer after she graduated, Phoebe and her mother traveled around Morocco together. She invented this sweet and savory chicken stew shortly after she got back, and it was her contribution to the second cook-off with Keith, captured on the blog in January 2009. Since then, she has revised this tagine to include sweet potatoes, which means you don't need another carb to make it a complete meal. Still, couscous and quinoa are great (if you don't mind another pot), but a loaf crusty bread to soak up the juices works even better.


3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each halved
1 ½ tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
About 1 quart chicken stock
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted in a 350 degree oven until fragrant and golden, keeping an eye on them so they don't burn (optional)


Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Coat a large pot or Dutch oven with a thin layer of olive oil. Heat it over high heat and brown the chicken, in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. If the chicken sticks to the bottom, don't worry - this will help develop the flavor of the sauce. Remove the browned chicken from the pot and set it aside in a mixing bowl.

Add the onions to the same pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and sauté until translucent, making sure to scrape up any remaining drippings from the chicken, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cumin, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Cook until the spices are fully incorporated and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, and add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Toss to combine.

Pour in enough stock to submerge all the contents (this may be less than 1 quart, depending on the size of your pot) and bring to a summer. Turn the heat back down to low and cook, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, the longer the better.

During the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, add the sweet potatoes, submerge them in the liquid, and cook until tender.

Add the raisins, half the cilantro, and the lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Spoon the tagine into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with some of the remaining cilantro, sprinkle with the almonds (if using), and serve.

Recipe Details

Note: You can make the stew through step 5 and then refrigerate it overnight. Just reheat it for 30 minutes over medium-low heat before your guests are due to arrive, and continue with the remaining ingredients.

For a Vegetarian Squash Tagine: Omit the chicken, and substitute 3-4 diced zucchini or yellow squash. Double the chickpeas, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken.

Adapted from "In the Small Kitchen" by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine (William Morrow, 2011).

Servings: 10

Shrimp Bouillabaisse

Traditional bouillabaisse is a marvelous dish that requires many kinds of seafood and a lot of time to make. My quicker version delivers all the thrills of the original but uses only shrimp, plus fennel and edamame. Yogurt adds a sense of the characteristic creaminess, and buttery garlic bread completes the meal.

Click here to see the Shrimp Bouillabaisse Recipe.

Pot-Roasted Chicken with Slab Bacon, Celery Root, and Rosemary

A heavy Dutch oven. Piney rosemary. Sweet celery root. Salty-rich slab bacon. Crushed juniper berries. Homemade broth. Calvados. A good chicken. This is my roast chicken mantra. Say it to yourself a few times, make it once or twice, and it might become yours as well. Use a high-quality bird (I like to use Murray's); those with a solution added for flavor not only taste inferior, they dilute the bird's delicious juices.

Click here to see the Pot-Roasted Chicken with Slab Bacon, Celery Root, and Rosemary Recipe.

Venison Bourguignon

Bourguignon is a well-known French recipe typically made with beef. I've used venison - a more flavorful, less fatty protein - but kept the cooking method the same, resulting in a healthier dish with the same warm, comforting taste.

Click here to see the Venison Bourguignon Recipe.

Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas

Liquid smoke takes basic bean and tofu enchiladas to a new and unbelievably delicious level. I use the enchilada sauce in my cookbook, but any canned or bottled fat-free vegetarian enchilada sauce will do.

Click here to see the Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe.

Lisa's Delicious 3-Bean Chili

Chili doesnt always have to be about big chunks of beef. Using three different kinds of beans for that hearty effect, this recipe is not only vegetarian but also vegan-friendly.

Click here to see Lisa's Delicious 3-Bean Chili Recipe.

-Will Budiaman, The Daily Meal

Click here for more amazing 1-pot meals

Dinner Without the Mess: 6 Ultimate 1-Pot Recipes (2024)


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May 11, 2020

What is the zero waste diet? ›

A zero waste meal plan is just like any other meal plan except it prioritizes reducing food waste along with saving time and money. It helps you to be very mindful about what you have in your kitchen so there's less likelihood something goes to waste.

What is the general rule most foods should be cooked to select one? ›

In general, food should be cooked to a temperature of at least 75 °C or hotter. When food is cooked, it should be eaten promptly, kept hotter than 60 °C, or cooled, covered and stored in the fridge or freezer.

What is a silent dinner? ›

A silent dinner, as the name suggests, is a dinner at which the guests and host do not speak, write, or use technology devices (e.g. phones). The dinners typically last for at least two hours, and guests are expected to stay and participate for the entire time.

What to do when nothing sounds appetizing? ›

Easy comfort food:
  1. Grilled cheese and tomato soup.
  2. Mac and cheese with frozen peas.
  3. Scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit.
  4. Toast with peanut butter and banana.
  5. Cereal with milk and fruit.
  6. Canned stews or soups.
  7. Spaghetti and frozen meatballs.
  8. Ramen with added tofu and spinach.
Apr 8, 2023

How come I'm hungry but nothing sounds good? ›

Feeling hungry but not knowing what to eat can be a frustrating experience. That aimless wandering through the kitchen can be caused by a wide variety of factors including stress, medications, rigid food rules, and even nutrient deficiencies.

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  3. Grab Plenty Of Dishtowels. ...
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  4. Make a bench-top bin. ...
  5. Clean while you wait. ...
  6. Use a pastry scraper. ...
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  8. Keep a cloth handy.

How do you fry on the stove without making a mess? ›

1) Use a deep, wide pot like a stockpot (or a dedicated deep-fryer) and enough oil to submerge the food you'll be frying. But leave at least 4 inches between the top of the oil and the lip of the pot to avoid spillovers and reduce splatters. A wok with long sloping sides also works great for deep-frying.

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  5. Freeze extra ingredients and leftover meals.
Sep 19, 2018

How do you cook efficiently for one? ›

Halve recipes and use leftovers.

This allows you to only make the amount of servings you want. For me, I usually make two servings of any recipe to either share with someone that night, or save for lunch leftovers the next day. This allows me to cook often without being overwhelmed with leftovers.

How do you eat healthy when cooking for one? ›

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  4. Use leftovers. ...
  5. Minimise mess with the microwave. ...
  6. Choose healthy, ready-made meals.
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How do you plan meals for one person? ›

Plan to Use Every Ingredient You Buy
  1. Pick an ingredient or two from your fridge or pantry that you need to use up.
  2. Think of a dish that uses those ingredients, then add what you don't have to your list.
  3. Think about what you'll have leftover from that recipe. ...
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