When it’s time for the dinner dash, a meal prepared in one pot, pan or skillet is a real timesaver. From flavourful soups to simple roasts, these fuss-free meals are fast, easy and convenient. Plus, our handy tips and how-tos will show you how to make the most of each cooking method.
Dutch Oven or Large Pot
It may seem old fashioned, but a Dutch oven cooks everything from juicy meats to crusty bread in a jiffy. The thick bottom prevents heat from escaping, while the hefty lid locks in moisture, making it ideal for braising or stewing. It’s also incredibly versatile: use it to roast meats in the oven or simmer soups and chili on the stovetop.
Tip: Tender vegetables (such as peas and peppers) and delicate herbs disintegrate if cooked for too long. For a recipe with a long cook time, add these ingredients toward the end of the cooking process.
Try it tonight: Our Brazilian Feijoada-Style Meat & Bean Stew has tender morsels of beef and cured chorizo, gently slow-cooked to perfection in the oven with garlic, orange zest and cilantro.
Also known as a Crock-Pot, this handy appliance creates wholesome meals that require minimal effort. For most recipes, layer ingredients (denser root vegetables on the bottom, meat and liquid on top), plug in the cooker and let it do all the hard work. The steady heat is known for making tougher meats fork tender, but it can also be used to bake bread, potatoes, meatballs, pizza and even cakes.
Tip: Go easy on the liquid. With a tightly sealed lid, water won’t evaporate from a slow cooker. When adapting recipes, reduce liquids by one-third and ensure that they just cover the meat and vegetables.
Try it tonight: For a mouth-watering dinner the family will devour, we suggest our Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Sage Butter & Onions. Simply set the pre-marinated chicken on a bed of onions and broth in the slow cooker and let it work its magic.
Other tasty choices:
Slow Cooker Smokey Applewood Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball Chili
Why use multiple pans when one is enough? A steel or cast iron skillet works hard in your kitchen: it conducts heat well and some are oven-safe. It’s also great for dishes served straight from the pan, like quiches and stir-fries. The pan’s consistent heat produces tender meats and richly roasted vegetables with a crunchy crust. It also transfers easily from the stovetop directly into the oven – saving the need to wash an extra set of dishes.
Tip: Before searing meat, make sure the pan is pre-heated so it maintains a steady temperature. Caramelize your meats and poultry first and then layer in remaining ingredients.
Try it tonight: Making our Beef & Mushroom Skillet Lasagna is easy – one pan and 40 minutes is all you need. Tender ground beef is caramelized, then cooked with sweet red peppers and meaty cremini mushrooms in a skillet with tomato sauce and lasagna noodles broken into smaller pieces. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan and broil until golden. Delizioso!
Baking sheets aren’t just for cookies! Exercise their power for quick-roasting veggies and thin cuts of poultry, pork or fish (but make sure they’re boneless). Cooking a meal on a single baking sheet ensures the entire meal is ready at once. It also eliminates the need to transfer ingredients from one dish to another, which means only the baking sheet needs cleaning.
Tip: Make cleanup even easier by lining the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. This will save you precious time otherwise spent scraping off caked-on food. Once cooled, simply remove the lining and give the baking sheet a rinse with soap and water.
Try it tonight: Our Broiled Dijon Crusted Sole with Lemons is infused with fresh dill and sharp whole grain Dijon mustard for a fuss-free way to add fish to your weeknight menu. Using a foil-lined baking sheet, season the fish and arrange lemon slices beside each fillet. Broil until the sole is opaque and flaky and the lemons are lightly charred.
A staple in Chinese cooking, the wok steams, smokes, deep-fries, boils and stir-fries at a high heat. Plus, it’s incredibly fast: while prep work (like chopping ingredients) is usually involved, the actual cooking can be done in less than 20 minutes. Once the wok is sizzling, veggies tenderize and meats are gently caramelized. Pre-cooked rice or noodles round off the meal. Make a double batch at dinner so you have lunch ready for the next day.
Tip: To cook evenly, slice veggies and tender cuts of meat into uniformly sized pieces. Once they’re in the pan, frequently flip ingredients to prevent burning. Since stir-fries cook quickly, place all the ingredients close to the stove for easy access.
Try it tonight: Thai green curry paste and coconut milk bring a fiery-sweet kick to stir-fried beef and vegetables in this hearty Thai Green Curry Beef Stir-Fry.