When time is at a premium, simplify midweek dinners with a balanced one-pot meal. Dinner in a dish - kettle, skillet, saucepan, casserole or pie plate - has plenty of appeal. It requires only a few minutes for assembly, and then simmers or bakes with minimal attention until mealtime.
Served hot, one-pot meals help warm winter-chilled bodies and satisfy hearty appetites. And the possibilities for food combinations and creative cookery are unlimited.
The following selection of recipes uses dry and canned soup bases and salsa for quick, concentrated flavor. The first is vegetarian; the others contain modest amounts of meat and fish.
These single-dish meals offer plenty of appeal for the eye and the palate - particularly when a little effort is made to adjust seasonings, arrange ingredients and add a quick garnish.
Lentil and Rice One-Pot Supper
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup rice
2 cups sliced carrots
3 cups water
1 packet of vegetable broth
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
Wash and pick over lentils. Place in large saucepot with rice and carrots. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until rice is done, 20 to 30 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 313 calories (12 percent from fat), 54 grams carbohydrate, 16 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 309 milligrams sodium, trace cholesterol.
Time: 5 minutes preparation, 30 minutes cooking.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 3/4 cups (1 large) chopped onion
6 to 8 ounces lean ham, cut in thin strips or diced
1 1/2 cups rice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 or 2 pinches EACH dried saffron and cayenne (red) pepper
1 1/2 cups very hot seasoned vegetable or chicken broth
1 pound package frozen cooked and peeled shrimp, thawed, rinsed and drained
2 cups seeded and chopped plum tomatoes
10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded jarlsberg or other Swiss cheese
Heat oil in a large, heavy non-stick skillet with lid and saute garlic, onion and ham over high heat 4 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add rice and saute three minutes longer.
Add turmeric, saffron and cayenne to hot broth and quickly stir into rice along with shrimp, tomato and peas. Mix gently to blend. Sprinkle cheese evenly on top, cover tightly and cook over medium-low heat 15 minutes. Turn heat to low for 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Time: 5 minutes preparation, 40 minutes cooking and standing.
Country Cupboard Soup
1/2 pound boneless pork loin (or two boneless pork chops), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup sliced potatoes
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 tablespoons sugar
Black pepper, to taste
4 cups water
28-ounce can tomatoes, crushed
1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed
Dash red pepper sauce
Heat oil in Dutch oven and brown pork, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook gently for 30 minutes. If desired, serve with cornbread.
Yield: 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 169 calories (21 percent from fat), 11 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 580 milligrams sodium, 23 milligrams cholesterol.
Time: 10 minutes preparation, 30 minutes cooking.
12 ounces lean ground lamb, beef or turkey
1 cup salsa
8-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
8-ounce carton light sour cream
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon flour
Non-stick vegetable coating spray
3 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup chopped tomato
Shredded cheddar cheese and salsa, optional
In large saucepan, cook ground meat until no pink remains. Remove from heat; drain well. Stir in 1 cup salsa and the drained beans. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix sour cream, chiles, 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the flour.
Spray a 10-inch pie plate or quiche dish with non-stick spray. Place one tortilla in prepared dish. Top with 3/4 cup of the meat mixture and 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Top with a second tortilla and repeat with 3/4 cup meat and remaining sour cream. Top with a third tortilla and remaining meat.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve. Top each serving with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato. Garnish with additional cheese and salsa, if desired.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Time: 15 minutes preparation, 30 minutes baking and standing.
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