One-Pot Wonders: 7 Comforting Dishes to Make for Dinner

Cooler weather has many of us craving thick, hearty dishes that warm us to the bone. But cooking up comfort food can sometimes be a lot of work, particularly on busy weeknights when you don’t have the time or energy to whip up complex meals and then wash piles of dishes. Fortunately, making comfort food doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming — you can make filling and inviting meals that require minimal prep time and only one pot. Thanks to these 7 one-pot wonders, cooking dinner has never been easier.

Source: iStock

1. Chicken and Dumplings

You’ll be hard pressed to find a dish more comforting than Martha Stewart’s Chicken and Dumplings. Using just one pot, you’ll combine chicken thighs, dumplings, and veggies galore, creating a dinner that will be on the table in an hour. It yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 1½-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup (spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or ¾ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas

Directions: In a Dutch oven, or a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat butter over medium. Add onion, carrots, and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly; season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken in pot; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ¾ cup flour, dill, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. With a fork, gradually stir in ½ cup milk to form a moist and soft batter. It should be just a little thicker than pancake batter and should easily drop from the tip of a spoon. Set aside. Stir peas into pot. Drop batter in simmering liquid in 10 heaping tablespoonfuls, keeping them spaced apart. Cover and let simmer until chicken is tender and dumplings are firm, 20 minutes. Serve.

Source: iStock

2. One Pot, Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

This kid-friendly favorite is now cook-friendly too, thanks to WhiteOnRiceCouple.com’s recipe. Something to keep in mind when preparing this dish: Make sure the flame is low and you continue stirring while the elbow noodles cook; this will ensure your mac and cheese turns out rich and creamy. It yields 3-4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups large elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 cups low-fat milk, or more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, for flavor
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for final season later
  • Generous dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • Additional toppings: bacon bits, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, diced tomatoes
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions: Place raw elbow macaroni in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let drain. In medium sauce pan, add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder, and nutmeg. On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes to a simmer. Once mixture comes to a simmer, immediately turn down heat to low. Macaroni will slowly cook in the milk.

Continue to stir the mixture frequently so that macaroni will cook evenly and absorb milk evenly. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed. When milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese of your choice. Stir the cheese evenly into the macaroni. Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This rest period will allow macaroni to plump up and absorb any excess milk. Take a final taste, and add additional salt to taste. Before serving, stir one final time to mix everything together.

Source: iStock

3. 15-Minute Lasagna

Kevin & Amanda delivers a delicious dinner dish that takes 15 minutes to make and requires only one pan. If you feel up to dirtying one more dish, we recommend making AllRecipes.com’s Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread to serve alongside your lasagna.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (9.6 ounce) bag pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles, or ½ pound cooked pork breakfast sausage
  • 8 ounces (about 10) lasagna noodles, broken into fourths
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste, about ½ teaspoon each
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls

Directions: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until browned. Drain excess grease if necessary. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant. Evenly add the pre-cooked sausage, lasagna pieces, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water over the skillet. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes over medium to medium-low heat. Shake the skillet occasionally to evenly distribute the noodles as they soften. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Top with mozzarella pearls and broil for 3-4 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Source: iStock

4. Pot Roast with Carrots, Shallots, Mint, and Lemon

Fill your kitchen with warm flavors by preparing Cooking Channel’s Pot Roast with Carrots, Shallots, Mint, and Lemon. It might be best to prepare this dish on the weekend or for holiday get-togethers; it only requires 10 minutes of prep time but must be left to simmer for 3-4 hours. We promise it’ll be well worth the wait, though — this is a prime example of comfort food at its finest.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5 pound) chuck blade roast, silver skin removed
  • Salt
  • 1 pound slab pancetta, large dice
  • 10 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 48 ounces beer (preferably porter or IPA)
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 2 lemons, zest only

Directions: Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight. Pull the meat out an hour before cooking to take the chill off of it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, render the pancetta until slightly crispy. Remove and reserve. Dry off the meat with a paper towel and begin to brown it in the same pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side; remove and reserve.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots, carrots, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and sweat until slightly caramelized and the vegetables start to release their aromas, about 4 minutes. Add the coriander, thyme, and bay leaves, and continue to sweat for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the cider, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to get all of the caramelized bits into the sauce. Add the beer and bring to a simmer.

Add the beef back in along with the pancetta. The liquid should be about three-quarters of the way up the meat. Baste the meat with the liquid, top with a lid and place in the oven until tender, basting every hour, for 3-4 hours. Skim off any excess fat and gently remove the meat to a platter. Spoon the vegetables on top and garnish with the torn mint and lemon zest.

Source: iStock

5. Turkey-and-Pinto-Bean Chili

Chili is a must for those crisp and bitter evenings. Food & Wine’s recipe helps ease the biting cold by using zesty seasonings, including cumin, chile powder, and chipotle powder, to warm you up. It yields 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 large carrot, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
  • ¾ cup lager
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped chives, for garnish

Directions: In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the turkey and cook over high heat, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Stir the turkey and cook until no pink remains, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the cooked turkey to a bowl and repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and the remaining turkey.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the onion to the pot. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano, and chipotle powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Return the turkey to the pot. Stir in the carrot, bell pepper, tomato puree, beans, and lager and bring to a boil. Stir in the stock and vinegar, cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper and serve, garnished with chives.

Source: iStock

6. One Pot Mexican Rice Casserole

Mexican food is made easy with this Damn Delicious recipe. You can also make it super nutritious by loading it up with vegetables and using brown rice rather than white. This mouth-watering meal tastes great by itself or as a delightful dip for tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned, or roasted
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions: Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in zucchini and corn until tender and heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes, rice, chili powder, cumin, and 1½ cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 15-18 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted through, about 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Source: iStock

7. Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Pot pies are quintessential for cooler weather, but can often be too time consuming to quickly pull together. With iVillage’s recipe, however, you can easily make a fabulous-tasting pot pie that will be on the table in less than an hour. Puff pastry and rotisserie chicken make this dish a breeze to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow or Vidalia onion, minced
  • 2 large celery stalks, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick coins
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1½-inch lengths
  • ½ pound red or small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2½-3 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
  • 1 large egg

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe, heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browning. Stir in the carrots, green beans, and potatoes, then add the chicken broth. You may not need all 3 cups of broth; only add as much as you need to barely cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the broth is slightly reduced and absorbed, then taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.

Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and stir into the mixture. Add the chicken and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry and gently use a rolling pin if needed to stretch it to the width of the skillet. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Remove the skillet from the heat and place the puff pastry over the vegetables and sauce, tucking the edges of the pastry into the skillet to completely cover the filling. Brush the pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden. Let the pot pie rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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