Delicious one-pot meals for busy people?
November 10, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Please share your best one-pot or slow cooker recipes that make a big hearty batch of simmering deliciousness that you can eat for a couple of days after.

My husband and I both work and are also in grad school. I've gotten in the habit of hauling out the stock pot or slow cooker and making a big batch of soup or stew on Sundays. We can then pull that out and have it with nice French bread or throw it on rice or noodles when we are in a pinch for time on weekday nights, and still feel well-fed. Here are things I already make:

Turkey gumbo (perfect for turkey leftovers, too!)
Easy coq au vin (I use chicken pieces with skin on.)

Snowflaky detail: husband doesn't care much for beans, though he will still eat them sometimes.

Thanks for sharing!
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 226 users marked this as a favorite
2-3 boneless chicken breasts
one container salsa
one large can of pinto beans, rinsed (leave these out or make on side if he doesn't want them combined with chicken)
taco seasoning, optional

Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-5. Shred chicken with forks. Delicious on tortillas. Make a "family size" package of yellow rice. Makes a ton of food. Leftovers for sure.
posted by Fairchild at 7:44 AM on November 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

Hard to avoid self-linking with a question like this! So, here are a few that I really love:

Hungarian stuffed cabbage

East African Sweet Pea Soup

Crypto-Jewish Brazilian Yellow Stew


Leek Soup with Peas and Sauerkraut
posted by 168 at 7:54 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Food and Wine magazine had a whole article about slow-cooker recipes a couple years back; I made this turkey/ancho chili/corn soup that year (a Thanksgiving on my own) and it was delicious. They have other slow-cooker recipes here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on November 10, 2012

There was a whole thread on this topic a week ago. Here.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:57 AM on November 10, 2012

This is a popular topic.
posted by supercres at 7:59 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

The trinchado recipe we use modifies beautifully for slow cooking, and the trick is making sure that the meat is browned before it goes in the pot. If you can get your hands on piri-piri sauce or peppers, that will give you the right kind of heat.

I haven't gotten around to writing up my family's version, but this chicken adobo recipe is modified for a slow cooker and sounds close enough. I will tell you that our secret ingredient is a pinch or two of curry powder, which adds a lovely complexity to the dish.
posted by evoque at 8:02 AM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

There's a bit of out-of-pot prep, but chile verde is one of my family's favorite one-pot-and-eat-it-for-days meals.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:09 AM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

ingredient quality is king!

Get yourself a couple pounds of grass fed stewing beef (chuck works well). Ask for some marrow bones as well. Try to get the meat cut up into one inch cubes. do NOT remove fat or connective tissue.

Get a few heirloom carrots, some parsnips, and if possible, some heirloom tomatoes (3 large ones should suffice).

Pick up about a litre of beef stock - ask your butcher if they have real beef stock made fresh from bones. If not, kitchen basics makes a good beef stock.

You'll also need salt pepper, thyme, rosemary.

finally, get a couple tablespoons of some organic extra virgin coconut oil (nuteva is excellent) or beef tallow or lard or red palm kernel oil.

chop up the veggies, onion, and tomatoes.

Heat up a big saucepan to medium, put in the oil, saute onions.
Throw in meat, and toss around for a couple minutes until the sides are not fully pink.
Add in bones, tomatoes, stock, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme (i don't chop the rosemary and thyme up).

Cover, and bring to a simmer, then reduce temperature to a very low value - enough to maintain a BARE simmer - so you should only see an occasional bubble poking through the surface. If your temperature is too low, the meat will be too tough to enjoy. Make sure there are occasional bubbles breaking the surface. You may need to hover over the saucepan for a couple minutes to verify, and it really helps to have a glass lid so you can see through it!

Leave covered for a few hours (i like 6-8 hours if possible, but 4 should be fine).

about 90 minutes before you want to end the process, add in the carrots and parsnips. You may need to play around with the temperature to restabilize the bare simmer once you lift off the lid to add the vegetables.

posted by spacediver at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

oops, one mistake in my post - if u opt for the palm oil, do NOT get palm kernel oil, just palm oil. You want to avoid palm kernel oil at all costs :)

here is more info
posted by spacediver at 8:18 AM on November 10, 2012

You can actually cook an entire chicken in a crockpot.

Day 1: Put the chicken with ~1 cup water in the crockpot. When you get home, take out the chicken, eat whatever you want to eat. Strain the broth in the crockpot using cheescloth. Refridgerate broth and leftover chicken.

Day 2: Use some of the leftover chicken in a recipe such as tacos, tortillas, enchiladas, stir fry, toss in BBQ sauce, whatever.

Day 3: Use what's left of the chicken and the broth from Day 1 in a soup or stew.

I know this was pretty generic, but you can do a lot on Day 2 and Day 3... this was meant as kind of a starting off point - you can sub in your own favorites.
posted by RogueTech at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2012

Response by poster: My apologies if this is too close to other recent questions. My search-fu is not deficient; I'm also looking for things I can make in the stock pot. I don't mind tending it; I actually like that, because it's part of my Sunday groove. I do also realize that slow cooker recipes will often work on the stove.

Love the ideas posted so far. Thanks for your time, y'all!
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 8:33 AM on November 10, 2012

I got a lot of great recipes out of Slow Cooker Revolution. My favorite recipe is Thai style Chicken stew. You might see if your library has a copy, so you can check out a few recipes.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:49 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

1 large and 1 small can of diced tomatoes

1 large and 1 small can of kidney beans

1lb ground beef or turkey (fresh or frozen) or tvp fake meat or no meat/just skip it.

1 Organic spicy chili packet (I forget the brand)

Cut up onions and garlic

Throw it all together and cook on low 7-8 hours. I don't think it can over cook. (No need to precook or saute anything)
posted by vitabellosi at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2012

I suppose this is techinically a two pot recipe, but the second pot is rice. I know the combination of ingredients sounds a bit odd, but I promise, I've never had anyone not like this. The recipe is very loose - you can scale it up pretty much indefinitely. It is cheap. It requires no chopping and no attention, you just need to be in the house while it cooks. TBH, I've never tried it in a slow-cooker (I make it on the stove) but I don't see why you couldn't.

Roughly as told to me, Filipino Chicken Adobo:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 2-3 cloves diced/minced garlic (fresh is always best, but I generally use ~2 tsp of the pre-chopped stuff as it's faster and this isn't really a "garlic" recipe.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 lbs chicken thighs (boneless is technically fastest, but with the bones is fine as well and a little cheaper sometimes)
Remove any skin or excess fat you can see from the chicken thighs. Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot. Make sure the chicken is fully immersed in liquid by using water to bring up the volume. Simmer 2-4 hours. The meat should now be falling apart (it will look a bit like shredded pork) - use a spoon to break it up a bit. If you used chicken thighs with bones, fish the bones out with a spoon or tongs. Serve with slotted spoon on rice.

A couple notes:
  • Be careful while eating not to bit down on the now soft peppercorns or you will have a surprise pepper bomb go off in your mouth.
  • For storage, you'll want to discard most of the liquid. Store separately from rice.
  • This is not a low-fat recipe and the fat will solidify in the fridge. You can discard it before you reheat the chicken - it doesn't add much to the taste, might as well save the calories.
  • Unless you really love pineapple juice, spend the extra buck and get the small cans instead of the single giant one. Otherwise you have to drink like half a gallon of pineapple juice.
  • Whoever gets the bay leaf wins! Feel free to come up with an appropriate prize.

posted by maryr at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

Pulled pork

Pork shoulder (remove net if it comes with one)
Liquid (maybe 1/3 cup): can be broth, beer, wine, cider, or orange juice
About a 1/2 cup of spice rub: I use whatever I have around, but it always includes a lot of smoked paprika and a little brown sugar

Rub meat with spice rub. Put meat in crock pot, with liquid at the bottom. (The liquid is just to keep it from drying out.) Cook on low for 9-10 hours. (It will look done before this, but keep going.) Pull apart with a fork. Devour in sandwiches or piled on rice. BBQ sauce optional.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:47 AM on November 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

Two recipes I rather enjoy:
Beef Bourguignon
Turkey Chili (beans can always be substituted for corn, more meat, celery, etc)
posted by jmd82 at 10:45 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for brisket. (I use half the quantity here, and instead of tomato juice, I use a 14.5oz can of chopped tomatoes. Don't leave out the tomatoes, you really need the acid in the tomatoes to tenderise the meat.) If more liquid is needed (it usually isn't) I add a little stock later in the cooking. If it's too liquid, I'll thicken it with a little powdered mashed potato.

I've made this in both the slow cooker and in the oven in a Dutch Oven, and it's been delicious every time, with lots of leftovers which taste better the next day. And it's low fat and low carb too.

I also make Wordwoman's pulled pork above - but use Coca Cola (with sugar - not Diet) as the liquid, and add half a jar of BBQ sauce with an hour to go.
posted by essexjan at 11:24 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Bryanna Clark Grogan's Locro is quick and easy to make.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2012

The Best Chili Ever. It's epic. The only bad thing is how fast it goes compared to other meals.
posted by tatiana131 at 12:41 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the Ethiopian chicken stew from A Year of Slow Cooking. You can leave out the eggs to save on a pot, I tend to throw in some lentils or chickpeas to bulk it up a bit.
posted by penguinliz at 1:15 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This wouldn't work for a throw stuff in the pot as you're dashing out the door, but since you said you're going to be doing this on a Sunday for several meals, and because this is definitely a recipe that tastes so much better the next day, I'm going to (again) recommend Mollie Katzen's Carrot Cashew Curry. I'm assuming that because you're doing this on a Sunday that you're okay with some chopping of veggies, some measuring of spices, and a little stir-frying before you put it all in the crock pot.

I haven't tried it in a crockpot but I think it would work. After the 5-minute saute at the beginning of step 2, dump in crockpot with orange juice, cayenne, and red bell pepper, and give it a good stir, and let it go on low for maybe 6 hours or so.

Oh, and for slow cooking, you should probably chop the potatoes and carrots into bite sized chunks instead of thin slices. You may also need to add a little more o.j. or other liquid.

I put in the yogurt and cashews at the end of cooking, but before putting it in the fridge. This may be why it's so much better the next day. It gives a chance for the yogurt and cashews to marry with the spices and other flavors in the curry.

It's great with basmati rice, especially if you splurge and throw a teensy bit of saffron into the rice before putting it on the stove (or into your rice cooker).
posted by marsha56 at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2012

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