One Pot Wonders

12 Jan

In case you were wondering, I happen to be a very messy cook. A meal is only complete after I have tainted every surface of the counter with vegetable scraps, dirtied every dish I own, and boiled over whatever I was boiling on the stove… and that is putting it lightly. The only exception to this is when I make a one pot meal. The mess is minimal, the meal is quick and easy, and as always, everything is delicious.

Let’s start with the first meal of the day and we’ll easy our way through lunch, dinner and dessert.

If I could only cook in one pot for the rest of my life, this would be the one. Feel free to get me one for my birthday coming at you on January 27th.

BREAKFAST

I’m sure many of you don’t think you have time for breakfast or maybe you rely on a granola bar or bowl of cereal to start your morning right. Those options don’t cut it for me, I am hungry in the morning, especially after working out, so hungry in fact that I could eat a seven course meal  and still be ready for a snack at 10am. Whoever said you should eat like a king at breakfast, a queen at lunch, and pauper at dinner was clearly inspired by me (except for the pauper sized dinner).

Since I stopped eating eggs I have relied on grains to fill me up in the morning. I am not a fan of oatmeal so things get interesting in my kitchen.

Earlier this week I came home from my workout, tossed this breakfast together, and got ready for work while it cooked.

Breakfast Rice Pudding

1 cup brown rice, cooked

3/4 cup almond milk

1 handful raisins

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes and enjoy.

Unfortunately the morning is far too hectic for me to remember to take a picture of what I am eating so please enjoy this picture of my sweet Olive instead.

LUNCH

I am fortunate to live only ten minutes away from work, which means I get to come home and hang out with Olive every day for lunch. Typically I will eat leftovers of whatever I had for dinner the night before but sometimes I open the fridge and find that there are no leftovers! What’s a girl to do? The answer is simple, make a bowl (no pot is necessary). Poke around your fridge and find some grain, a protein, some vegetables and toss it all together in a bowl. My favorite bowl to make is a burrito bowl – I always have the ingredients on hand.

Burrito Bowl

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1/2 can black beans, rinsed

1/4 cup salsa

1/4 avocado, diced

1 handful of cilantro, torn

Toss all ingredients in a bowl or layer, whichever you prefer and nosh away.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the burrito bowl so please enjoy a photo of my cat Cleo.

DINNER

If you have been following this blog you will recall that one of my tips to eat healthy and avoid slaving away in the kitchen is to make a meal that can last a few days. My favorite meal to make that will take me through several days is chili. What I love about chili is that is so versatile, you can be as creative or lazy as you want. Chili is a great go to meal when you don’t have much in the fridge because it relies mostly on pantry items but it is also great when you want to clean out your fridge because you can dump all of your vegetables in the chili before they spoil. SCORE!

I came across this recipe on the Closet Cooking blog when I was looking for new ways to use quinoa. It is one of my favorites.

Quinoa & Black Bean Chili (adapted from Closet Cooking)

1/2  cup quinoa

1 cup water

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped (remove the ribs and seeds to reduce spiciness)

1/2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

14.5 oz crushed tomatoes

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 Tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 cup corn

salt & pepper to taste

1 handful cilantro, chopped

Simmer the quinoa in water for 20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.

Remove quinoa from the pot, set aside, and give the pan a quick wipe.

Saute onions until tender.

Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin to the pot and saute for one minute or until fragrant. If you are sauteing in water you will need to add a splash at this stage so that the spices do not burn.

Add tomatoes, beans, peppers, chipotle, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add quinoa and corn. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with cilantro and non-dairy sour cream if desired.

Would you look at that, I remembered to take a photo of the quinoa chili. Well, actually, I just now ran to the fridge and spooned the chili into a bowl and took a picture.

Recipe Tips

  • Chipotle in adobo is sold in a can. If you have leftovers through them in a plastic bag and toss in the freezer for use in future meals.
  • Try sauteing the onions in water. If you are uncomfortable doing this you’ll want to saute in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • If you are willing to use more than one pot you can cook the quinoa at the same time that you saute the vegetables. If you are unwilling to use more than one pot but you don’t care to spend any more time in the kitchen then you have to prepare the quinoa in advance.

DESSERT

Dessert! Can you believe I would even utter such a dirty word? But she’s healthy and vegan, what gives.

Get it together people!!!! I have a crazy sweet tooth that will not be denied.

Lots of people’s diets fail because they are too rigid and don’t allow for simple pleasures such as chocolate. Well that’s not going to work for me, I am going to have my cake and eat it too, in moderation.

So what type of dessert can someone make that uses one pot? Hot Chocolate.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite vegans Alicia Silverstone. By now you have probably read her book The Kind Diet and have check out her website The Kind Life, but if you haven’t, go to the library and pick it up, make yourself some hot chocolate, and have a relaxing and cozy night at home.

Hot Chocolate (adapted from The Kind Life)

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp grain-sweetened, non-dairy chocolate chips

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp maple syrup

Whisk together all ingredients in a small saucepan.

Heat gently until chocolate chips are melted, whisking occasionally.

As it turns out, I forgot to take a picture of the hot chocolate too. Good thing I have one more pet 🙂 This is a picture of Lola when she was just a wee lass.

Now go out there and dirty one pot and demand that your significant other cleans it (and give you a food massage).

BONUS MATERIAL

Because I like you here is some free advice regarding purchasing pre-packaged food.

  • When buying canned foods or broths be sure to purchase no-sodium or low-sodium items. There is no need to consume all of that extra sodium and your food will taste better when you can control the salt content.
  • When buying pre-packaged foods be sure to read the label and buy items that have the fewest ingredients.
  • In addition to looking for packages with the fewest ingredients be sure to choose items that do not have added sugar. Don’t be fooled by all of the fancy names they have for sugar (ex. high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, etc.) it’s all sugar and you should try to avoid foods with added sugar, especially if sugar has no business being there (like in salsa).
  • Reasearch brands that use whole foods, low sodium, no preservatives, and avoid sugar before hitting up the grocery store – that will make your shopping experience go much more smoothly.

Happy & Healthy Eating

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One Response to “One Pot Wonders”

  1. CBZ January 13, 2012 at 8:49 AM #

    Awww…I LOVE Cleo!

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