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What could be easier than breakfast, lunch or dinner, all in one dish? With everyone looking for ways to spend what free time we have, these delicious, no-fuss meals are the perfect way to still enjoy our free time while spending less time in the kitchen.
When entertaining at home, one-dish meals can reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen, allowing more time for you to enjoy the company of your guests. Try doubling a recipe and keep a second meal on hand in your freezer. Just add a hearty roll, salad or dessert to finish off the menu. When time is at a premium, potpies and casseroles are an easy and convenient entrée. Just pop them in the oven and go about your business. Meals done in a slow cooker will give you even more time.
One-dish Breakfast Meals
Breakfast scrambles are easy to make—just mix up some hash browns, eggs and bacon and fry them all together in a pan until bubbly. Or make a frittata with some leftover spaghetti; add that to a buttered pan and pour some beaten eggs over it. Don’t mix it up! Just wait a few minutes and then flip it over until done. Top with some Parmesan cheese and sliced green onions.
Sausage and Cheesy Grits Casserole
2 cups water
1/2 cup quick-cooking grits
3-1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1-1/2 pounds mild bulk pork sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained
Tomato wedges (for garnish)
Fresh parsley sprigs (for garnish)
In a medium pan, bring water to boil; stir in grits. Return to boil; reduce heat to low, and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese, stirring until melted.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, thyme and garlic powder; stir well. Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot grits mixture into egg mixture; add remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage. Pour into a lightly greased 11x7-inch baking dish. At this point, you can refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set. Garnish with tomato wedges and parsley. Makes 6-8 servings.
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup frozen hash browns with onions and peppers
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1-1/2 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add potatoes and oregano and cook about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in spinach, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender and spinach is wilted. Reduce heat to medium-low.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until blended; stir in cheese. Pour over potato mixture. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until eggs are set and browned on bottom. Place skillet in oven and broil about 2 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove and serve. Makes 4 servings.
One-dish Luncheon Meals
Looking for something quick and delicious for lunch? One-dish salads, whether hot or cold, always make for a great change-of-pace. Add sliced steak, shrimp, crabmeat or any kind of deli meat for an enjoyable entrée.
Fettuccini and Salmon Salad
1 pkg. (8 oz.) spinach fettuccini
1 cup refrigerated dill dip
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen green peas, thawed
4 green onions and tops, sliced
1 can (14-3/4 oz.) red or pink salmon, skin and bones removed, flaked
Cook fettuccini as directed on package; drain. In a large bowl, toss fettuccini, 1/2 of dill dip, peas and onion slices. Top with flaked salmon. Serve immediately with remaining dill dip. Makes 4 servings.
Cool Avocado Soup
1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped
1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1 green onion, chopped
2 Tbsps. plain yogurt
2 Tbsps. fresh mint
4 tsps. limejuice
1-1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 radish, chopped
Place the cucumber, avocado, onion, yogurt, mint, limejuice, salt, pepper, cumin and 1 cup cold water in a blender; process until smooth. Chill for at least one hour. Serve garnished with chopped radish and any remaining mint leaves. Makes 4 one-cup servings.
One-dish Main Meals
What could be easier than dinner in just one dish? This full-flavored dish can be prepared in just one skillet.
Sweet and Sour Chicken with Figs and Stuffed Olives
2 tsps. olive oil
8 small (bone-in) chicken thighs
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsps. cornstarch
2 tsps. packed brown sugar
3/4 cup dried figs, each cut in half
1/4 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
5 oz. baby spinach or arugula
In a non-stick 12-inch skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt; cook, turning once, until chicken is browned and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife, about 8-10 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add garlic to skillet and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, mix broth, vinegar, cornstarch and sugar in a cup with whisk or fork. Add broth mixture to skillet, bring to a boil and let it bubble, stirring, until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet and sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in figs and olives; return chicken with any juices to skillet and heat through.
Arrange spinach or arugula on four plates. Spoon chicken mixture over the greens.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.