Washing up is the worst part of cooking, fact. While making an elaborate meal with loads of different components can be a lot of fun, the tidying up is not. We would not like to be responsible for the washing up on MasterChef, that’s for sure.
That’s one of the many reasons one-pan meals are so great. Just one pan means minimal washing up (especially if you use it as a bowl too – don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone) and it means there’s just one thing to focus your attention on, so less chance of disaster.
Throughout our GuaranT Good Food series, we’ve been showing you our top cooking hacks, and one-pan meals are up there with the best of them. All you need is a Tefal Thermo-Spot, and you’re good to go.
All successful days need to start with breakfast, so we’re starting with a one-pan recipe suitable for brekkie, but also for a tasty snack at any other time of day you fancy.
You only need one pan to make a frittata, and this one from Gluten-Free Cuppa Tea is packed with protein (ham and eggs), iron (spinach) and important vitamins and fibre (tomatoes), so it’s got pretty much everything you could want from your first meal of the day. And there’ll only be one dirty pan to come home to after work – result.
Classic beef stroganoff
Just because you’re only using one pan, it doesn’t mean you have to make something super basic. Dinner parties can be stressful enough, making sure everyone’s constantly got enough wine in their glass so as not to notice the slight smell of burning, trying to keep everyone entertained while you dash to the shop for a bought cake because yours collapsed in the oven, and so on.
A one-pan meal, like this beef stroganoff from Lucy Loves, keeps things simple, but it still looks (and tastes) really impressive. And it means when your guests have gone home, you can collapse on the sofa, without a mountain of washing up for the next day. Wonder-ful indeed.
Italian fish stew
Another recipe that seems a lot more complicated than it actually is, is this Italian fish stew from You Say Tomato. You need just the one pan, and just 40 minutes of your evening, and you’ll quickly have a super sophisticated meal on the table.
Pack your stew with veg and even sliced potatoes for extra filling power and you won’t need to serve anything extra with this dish at all. Simply ladle into bowls and tuck in with a spoon. Mop up any leftover sauce with crusty bread – that doesn’t need an extra pan, so we’re allowing it.
Pasta needs cooking in a separate pan to the sauce, right? Wrong! For a one-pot pasta dish, you do need to cook your pasta first, but once it’s done and you’ve drained the water away, you can add all of your other ingredients to the saucepan, letting your little bows or swirls or Thomas the Tank Engine shapes (you’re never too old) soak up all of the lovely flavours.
This one-pan cheeseburger pasta from Slimming Eats cleverly incorporates all the flavours of a cheeseburger into a pasta dish, which feels really indulgent, but is actually pretty healthy, as it’s just veg, lean meat, pasta and a bit of cheese.
Top tip: Once all of your meat is cooked through, sprinkle the pan with cheese and pop it under the grill for a gorgeous crispy pasta bake, without any extra washing up.
Jambalaya is traditionally made with chicken and smoked or spiced sausage, like chorizo. However, chorizo can be pretty fatty, so if you want a leaner option, this recipe from The Kitchen Shed is great.
It uses low-fat sausages alongside the usual rice, vegetables and spices for a fusion dish with a difference, and it’s a perfect midweek one-pan wonder that will go down a treat with the whole family.
Well, we guess it could be compared to a kind of curry risotto. You start by cooking your vegetables and making your curry sauce, and then you add in your rice, letting it cook through in the sauce, rather than in a separate pan of boiling water. Genius. Of course, you can make a meat version too, if you like.
Mushroom and chocolate (?!) risotto
Talking of risotto, it’s another one-pan classic. Vegetable risotto, salmon risotto, and chicken and bacon risotto are all family favourites, but have you ever made a mushroom and chocolate risotto? Well, why would you have?
But you should! Green Gourmet Giraffe has a really unusual, but actually really tasty, recipe for this dish, which simply has to be tried. The chocolate is used to add depth to the flavour of the meal, in a similar way to how it’s sometimes included in a chilli to make the sauce richer.
With plenty of herbs and smoky paprika in the dish too, it has a totally unique taste, and it’s suggested that you serve it with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Yes, that’s official permission to eat chocolate and cheese at the same time.