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French onion soup and other time-saving one-pot meals

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Time-saving One-pot meals

Thirty-minute meals are a blessing on busy nights when you need to get the family quickly fed. However, those fast recipes rarely consider the time you have to spend cleaning up - that 30-minute dish may actually end up taking over an hour to finally get the kitchen back in order. Wouldn't it be nice to only have a single pot - and maybe a bowl or cutting board - to clean up after dinner? Here are three fabulous one-pot meals that won't keep you laboring over the sink.

French Onion Soup

Time-saving one-pot meals

Though the cooking time of the following one-pot recipes take longer than 30 minutes, the cooking time is spent simmering on the stove or baking in the oven. That means, you can start the meals and then attend to other things. These intoxicatingly fragrant meals will have your mouth watering in wait to sit down and feast.

French Onion Soup

Serves 6

A bowl of fragrant and flavorful French onion soup topped with a cheese toast is nothing short of bliss on a cold afternoon. Beef broth adds a rich depth to the soup but vegetable broth can be substituted to make the dish vegetarian.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, halved, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups beef or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 small baguette, cut into 2-inch thick slices (you should have 6 slices)
1-1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:
1. Place butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onions and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to combine. Add wine to deglaze pan, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add sherry and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast. Flip slices over and sprinkle with cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Place cheese toasts in the bottom of 6 warmed bowls. Ladle soup over and serve.

Smoky Beef Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (canned)
6 cups beef broth
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed

Directions:
1. Whisk together flour, chili powder and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Brown beef, stirring often to brown all sides.

2. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chipotle and broth, stirring to combine.

3. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour. Add kidney beans and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until meat is very tender. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.

Garlic Chicken Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped shallots
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat oil in a medium-sized ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat and brown chicken. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until shallots are softened. Add chicken to mushroom mixture and sprinkle with flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

3. Stir in wine and broth, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Add bay leaf, thyme and sage. Season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in beans.

4. Cover casserole and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Discard bay leaf. Spoon into wide shallow bowls and serve hot.

More time-saving meals

Quick and easy recipes
Quick tips to make meals in minutes
Healthy one-pot meals
Hearty one-pot meals for autumn
Rustic French cooking: One-pot meals

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