The Utimate Guide to One Dish Meals

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to One Dish Meals. Here you will be provided with tips and tricks on how to create the perfect pot of goodness for your family. This type of meal is suitable for any day of the week and as often as you like.

Whether you are trying to feed your family on a budget or want to take the hassle out of meal preparation, cooking one dish meals are an awesome way to provide a full balanced meal in just a single pot.

We will cover everything from the basic ingredients of a one pot meal, to handy pieces of kitchen equipment to have.

The Benefits of Cooking One Pot Meals
The Basic Components
Staple Kitchen Equipment
Ideas to Store Leftovers

Recipe Examples
Super Budget Friendly Recipe
One Large Pot Recipe
Casserole Dish
30 minute Skillet Dinner
Vegetarian Recipe
One Dish Breakfast Idea
Kid-Friendly Recipe

The Benefits of Cooking One Dish Meals
These types of meals are much more than just convenient. They tend to be extremely tasty due to the combination of inredients, flavors and textures harmonizing in one incredible blend. Below are just a few reasons why one dish meals are such a hit and why making them on a regular basis is such a good idea.

1. They are Nutritionally Complete, considering if they have been made with enough different ingredients on the food pyramid, you have yourself a well balanced meal. One pot meals typically include your protein source, carbs and vegetables. This may explain why eating them does not become overwhelming or tiring, as they are made with enough ingredients to nourish the body and excite the taste buds.

Moms may worry that their families are not getting enough nutrients from these meals, but adding enough veggies and protein can supply all the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal health.

2.Less Pots to Wash.A pan for the pork chops, a skillet for the potatoes, a medium pot for the green beans and a small pot for the gravy. It sounds absolutely delicious, but could you imagine the clean up afterwards and having to cram the leftovers somewhere in your fridge? Not to mention, pots and pans are heavy and large and they are hard to fit inside of a dishwasher.

Throwing all of your delicious ingredients into a single pot greatly cuts down on clean-up time. Instead of having to wash 4 pots, you are left with one.

3. Takes Hassle out of Meal Preparation Depending on the amount cooked and the size of your family, a one pot meal can provide quick lunches and dinners for the next few days. Simply store them in the fridge in the same pot (if possible) and put it back on the stove the next day to re-heat. Or place some in a tupperware container for your little ones lunch.

4. They are Budget Friendly. Some of the most delicious single dish meals call for only a few ingredients. Lets not forget one of the most popular, spaghetti! This staple, one dish dinner requires only pasta, marinara sauce and ground beef. Rice and bean combinations are also very cheap and tasty. You can provide your family with healthy meals that equate to just a few cents a peice.

The Basic Components of a One Dish Meal

If you plan to make these meals frequently, it is important to make sure they are well balanced. A complete meal should include a starch, a protein and a vegetable.

Your starch is the base of the meal and can be anything from a pasta or macaroni, to potatoes or rice.

The protein source will include a meat, or possibly beans or tofu for a vegetarian option.

Vegetables can incude tomatoes, onions or carrots, depending on the recipe.

Lastly,you will want to use a sauce or seasonings of choice, again, depending on the recipe.

Grocery stores also offer a wide variety of pre-packaged one skillet meals that call for just a few extra preparation ingredients, such as milk, butter and ground beef.

The possibilities are truly endless and you can become your own chef.

Side dishes are completely optional and may accent the meal. For example, a simple garlic bread for a pot of chicken alfredo pairs well. Or perhaps a tortilla for a pot of spanish rice and beans.

Staple Kitchen Equipment
The beauty of preparing one dish meals is that they take hardly any cooking equipment. A crockpot or a stock pot, a large skillet or a glass casserole dish are recommended kitchen staples, depending on the type of meal or recipe. An incredible stand-alone meal can be created in any of those items.

If you do not already have one, a crockpot is a wonderful investment for busy moms on the go. They are the “jack of all trades” when it comes to cooking appliances. These babies can cook just about anything imaginable while your family is gone for the day. Toss in the ingredients, press a button and a warm meal is prepared by the time your family is ready to enjoy dinner.

Other kitchen equipment to consider includes good chopping knives and maybe a board for veggies and meat and storage containers for leftovers.

Ideas to Store Leftovers
Depending on the nature of the ingredients used to make the meal, many one pot meals can stay fresh in the fridge up to one week.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, if you would like to freeze leftovers, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Meals that include mayo or cream based sauces do not freeze well. This include recipes that require alfredo sauce, milk or cans “cream of”. These types of meals should be stored in the fridge for a maximum of 3 to 4 days.

2. Food will remain safe indefinitely while frozen. Whether your food contains cream or not, you can still freeze it and unthaw it when you are ready to eat it.The freezing temparatures prohibit the growth of microorganisms that create foodborne illness and spoilage. However, this does not guarantee the quality will remain the same. If freezing your food, make sure it is in a zip lock bag or air tight container and try to re-heat it within a few weeks.


Spaghetti is probably one of the most well known, one pot meals in the history of one pot meals. With just a few items, you have yourself an incredibly tasty dinner.

16 oz. of spaghetti pasta
3 Tbs. of olive oil
5 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. of cooked shredded chicken (can used canned)
Salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (optiona)

1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and add spaghetti. Cook pasta until desired texture is achieved. Drain.

2. Return to the stove over low heat and add the olive oil, garlic and cooked chicken. Stir over heat for about 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Add salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to taste.

This recipe takes about 30 minutes and serves 4 to 6 people.

Recipe source:


There is nothing quite like a hearty pot of chili on a cold day. Who would have known that there could be such an array of flavors and textures in just one simple pot. Of course you can enjoy this with cornbread, but you surley won’t need it.

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
2 1/2 tbs. chili powder
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. minced jalapeno peppers
1 29 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 16 oz. can of chili beans
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown beef and sautee the onions and peppers at the bottom of a large pot over medium high heat until beef is fully brown, drain excess fat.

2.Add remaining ingredients, except the beans, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add beans and heat through.

Recipe Source:


Casseroles are pretty incredible. You can take just about any dinner idea and transform it into a casserole. These are simple to make and make awesome leftovers for the next day.

1 10 1/2 oz. can of cream of mushroom
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peas
2 5 oz. cans tuna packed in water, drained
2 cups cooked egg noodles
2 tbs. bread crumbs
1 tbs. melted butter

1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Combine the bread crumbs and butter and set them aside. Add the other ingredients to the casserole dish and mix well.

2. Bake the mixture in the oven for 20 minutes (or until it’s hot) and mix it again. Evenly sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the casserole.

3. Bake for at least 5 minutes or until the bread crumbs are a golden brown color.

Recipe Source:


With a handy skillet, you can make anything from desserts to stir-frys. Just strategically combine the ingredients, cook it up and dig in! This Buffalor Chicken and Potato dinner can be made in just one skillet and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

2 lbs. of very small (or chopped) potatoes
8 to 16 oz. chicken stock
3 tbs. butter
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled and shredded.
16 oz. buffalo wing sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 diced stalk celery
1/2 cup ranch dressing or thinned sour cream

1. Using a 12 inch cast-iron skillet, cover the bottom of the pan with the potatoes. Pour the chicken stock over the potatoes and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover skillet and allow the potatoes to simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Remove skillet cover and simmer for 5 more minutes. Cut butter into 3 even sections and distribute evenly over the potatoes. DO NOT STIR THE POTATOES. Continue to cook them over medium heat until all liquid has evaporated from the skillet and the potatoes begin to brown. Using the bottom of a clean glass cup, gently press down on the potatoes to flatten them. Allow them to brown for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Combine the buffalo sauce and pulled chicken in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well until the chicken is completely covered. Place the mixture into the microwave until it becomes hot.

4. Evenly spread the buffalo chicken mixture over the potatoes in the skillet. Sprinkle the blue cheese crumbles and diced celery on top, then drizzle with the ranch dresing or sour cream.

Recipe Source:


We cannot forget about our non-meat eating friends. There are plenty of vegetarian meals that can be made in a single pot. Good ‘ol Beans and Rice are always a staple.

2 cans black or red beans
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 diced jalapeno
1 diced yellow onion
5 cloves diced garlic
2 cups water
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Directions: Toss all ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. Continute to simmer until rice has absorbed all the water. Cover with a lid and let it sit for 5 more minutes. Use a fork to fluff up rice.

Optional: You can brown the vegetables and spices prior to putting them into the bean and rice mixture.

Recipe Source:


The mornings can be hectic sending the kids to school and heading to wok. When you do not have time to cook a full course breakfast, try these One Skillet Potatoes. They are quick, easy and absolutely delicious.

3 large potatoes
6 pieces bacon, chopped
1 cup diced onion
1 4 oz. can green chiles
1 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash potatoes thoroughly and poke holes in them with a fork. Place them into a microwave and heat until tender. Once they are cooled, dice them into small pieces.

2. Cook the bacon pieces in a skillet, then remove the bacon. Using the leftover grease in the pan, combine the onions and chile and fry until the onions are fully cooked. Add the potatoes. Stir the mixture well, the sprinkle the bacon pieces and cheese on top. Cover with a lid on low heat until the cheese if fully melted.

Recipe Source:


Little ones tend to be a bit more picky when it comes to their food. Sometimes less is more when it comes to kids. Macaroni and cheese is always a hit! With this one, you can simply toss the ingredients together (following the instructions) and you don’t even have to use a strainer. How easy is that?

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup water
1 tbs. butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
16 oz. elbow pasta
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mascarpone

1. Combine the milk, water, butter and salt into a pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

2. Add the elbow pasta and cook until tender or al dante. Make sure to stir frequently.

3. Remove pot from heat, and stir in the cheese and mascarpone. Continue to stir until cheese is fully melted and distributed evenly over the pasta.

Recipe Source:

And there you have it! The Ultimate Guide to One Dish Meals. You can be as creative as you wish because the possibilities are indefinite. You can prepare these meals for every day of the week.

Key Points to Remeber:
*They are well balanced
*Quick and easy to make
*Can be prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner
*They reduce the amount of dirty dishes
*Can be stored in your fridge or freezer
*Are budget friendly

So next time you are dreading to cook that full course meal for dinner for your family, just remember that there is always a way to make it a One Dish Meal.