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April 2000 Issue
Meals in a Bowl
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Do you ever wish that all you had to do after dinner was wash one pot and the bowl you ate out of? Well, you're not alone. One of the most popular requests heard here at Seasoned Cooking is one for recipes that require one pot and little fuss. After all, you all have things to do besides cleaning bowls, pots, pans, skillets ... you get the picture.

This article is for all of you.

There are several key steps to making meals in one pot (or skillet, or baking dish). Once you've got the basics down, you can easily mix and match ingredients and spices to create new dishes for busy day meals. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Save time by storing pre-cut veggies in your refrigerator. My husband and I usually spend a little time each week chopping onions, peppers, carrots, radishes, broccoli and other veggies while we're watching TV. Just make sure you pay attention to what you're doing too!

  • Whenever possible, try using the pot you use for cooking things like rice or pasta as a mixing bowl as well. Why do extra dishes unless it's absolutely necessary? Besides, if you're making a warm meal, the hot pot will help warm all of your ingredients and blend the flavors.

  • Spruce up your tried and true recipes by trying new or unusual spice blends. Who says tandoori spices only belong on the grill or in a clay oven? Try adding Mexican or Italian spice blends to plain old macaroni and cheese and watch the smiles appear!

  • You can save a lot of time if you plan your course of action carefully. For instance, if you boil your pasta first and add some crunchy veggies near the end, you can end up with al dente pasta and crisp-tender veggies in minutes! Drain both, add your sauce to the hot pan, toss to coat and you've got dinner.

  • Take advantage of the various "helpers" offered at your local grocery store. Fast and healthy options abound at the market. Try using canned broths to add extra flavor without fat, bagged fresh or frozen veggies to save time, and pre-mixed spice blends to add extra zing to your dinner table.
Between these tips and the recipes in this article, you'll be on your way to healthy meals and fewer dishes to clean in short order. Here's what's on the menu and in the bowl: Enjoy these recipes and be sure to let us know what one-dish meals you like making. We'd love to have more great ideas for our kitchens too!
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