- Food and Cooking
One Pot Meals For Busy Families
From the Discovery Of Fire To Soup Making
After mankind found fire in a lightning-struck tree or during another such event, he and she got warm and began to experiment with cooking meats found on the hunt -- I wonder how many legs of giant deer they burnt back then? There were bound to be mistakes.
The next step may have been to roast wild vegetables as the Australian Aborigines have done for millennia. Their bush tucker is still delicious. and so are foods roasted similarly in African and Middle Eastern countries.
Stone Soup in Other Cultures
At some point, pots were fashioned and meats and vegetables were combined with water, juices, or milk to create soups and stews that we modify for fun and fortune (on the Food Network) today. Many of these new dishes enter into the Culinary Olympics held in Germany every October.
My favorite soup related sotry is the tale that Captain Kangaroo used to read on the air for decades: Stone Soup. It was about soldiers that came to town and convinced all of the poor villagers to donate their small bits of food to a communal soup pot that fed everyone very well. Stones are used in some traditional soups of small cultures in some places today. For additional fun, there is Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup Restaurant in Burlington, Vermont, which is a great Culinary School Hub where Alton Brown learned chef skills. It is a great place for food and careers.
I hope you enjoy the following recipes for delicious one-pot soups and stews that will warm you and your family while keeping you well fed.
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 25 min
- Ready in: 45 min
- Yields: 6 to 8 Servings
One Pot Meal
Mexican Pork Stew
- 4 T Olive Oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 2.5 lb Pork shoulder roast, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Cup Chopped Onion
- 1 Cup Corn kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Jalapeno Peppers, cut into rings and seeded
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Green Olives
- 14-15 oz Canned Tomatoes, crushed or diced – spicy, if you like
- 1/2 Cup crushed Pineapple, drained
- 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth or your favorite kind
- 1/2 Cup Prunes, diced small
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 T Flour and 2 T Butter, softened – add together and mix well, then add to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes and stir at the end of the process, if a thickener is needed.
- If you like, serve with cilantro seasoned rice, tortillas, salsa, lettuce, shredded cheese, lo-fat sour cream.
- In a large skillet, brown the pork with 2T of the oil, in batches.
- Remove meat to a holding plate. If you have a lot of fat in the skillet, remove some of it and saute the onions and jalapenos until onions are soft.
- Scrape all the good browned bits up from the skillet and add all of the remaining ingredients.
- Cover skillet and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Thicken the sauce if needed (see Ingredients above)
- Re-season and serve with warm bread of any type. Corn bread, whole wheat rolls, or the Skillet Bread from the recipe given below are good with this meal.
Make Bread in a Skillet
Wheel Bread – 12 Servings
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ Cup warm spring water (I prefer it to tap)
- 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
- In a large bowl, stir flour, baking powder and salt.
- Slowly and gradually add water to form a sticky dough, but no overly wet..
- Turn the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead it for 10 times --Keep adding flour until it loses its stickiness.
- Shape dough into 2 balls and flatten them.
- Place one dough at a time into melted butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Flatten dough with fingers to cover most of the bottom of the pan and cook for 5 - 8 minutes. Lift an edge with a knife and look for golden brown color. When you achieve it, flip the dough and cook 5 minutes.
- Remove from pan and cut each into 6 pieces.
One-Dish Pork Dinner - Serves 6
- 2 Pork blade steaks = 1.5 pounds weight, trimmed, boned, and cut into cubes
- 1Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 16-ounce package of fresh mushrooms, cut in half or quarters
- 1 Butternut squash peeled, seeded, cut into cubes
- 1.5 Regular size cans of lo-salt chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1
- 10-oz package frozen pearl onions
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch for thickener with 1/2 Cup spring water (I prefer it to tap water)
- 12 Broccoli tops (not much stem)
- Warm up the olive oil over medium-high heat in a standard skillet (with a lid for later) and then add the mushrooms and sauté to a golden color.
- Add pork cubes and sauté until brown, then add in the squash cubes, broth, salt, and pepper and stir.
- Next, heat to the boil and reduce heat to low to simmer under cover 45 minutes.
- In a small kitchen bowl, place the cornstarch and water and stir to mix completely. Stir this thickener into the skillet and mix well, then add pearl onions.
- Heat to the boil again and then reduce heat to low. Cook under cover another 15 minutes.
- Next, stir in the broccoli and again cover and simmer 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- To serve, make dumplings and cook on top of the stew, uncovered until done [optional]. You can also serve this stew with any type of bread or rolls.
Southwestern American Stew – Serves 8
This is a unique and tasty dish that uses Pork, Sweet Potatoes and Corn.
- 1.75 pounds of Pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 Cup all purpose Flour
- 1 Cup chopped red (purple) Onion
- 2 Cups fat-free chicken broth or your favorite kind
- 1 10-ounce can chopped Tomatoes with green chilies (Mexican style)
- 1.5 pounds of Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon Chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
- 1Tablespoon Cilantro
- 1 4-ounce can diced green Chilies, drained of juice
- 1 16-ounce package frozen Corn kernels
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional condiments for serving – lo-fat sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese.
- In a bowl, place the flour and toss the pork with a fork.
- In a large pot or skillet coated with cooking spray, brown the pork over medium heat.
- Next, add in the onion and cook until just tender.
- Add in the broth, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, diced green chilies, and corn.
- Bring the whole mixture to the boil and lower the heat to simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, from 35-45 minutes total.
- For a thinner stew, add additional broth or some spring water.
- Season to taste and serve with cornbread or your favorite rolls.
Stews and Soups
American Cashew Chili
This recipe calls for Cashews, but Hazlenuts can be used, as Native Americans have done and even raw Peranuts have been substituted with success (add a little more salt).
- 2 T Olive Oil for the saute
- 3 Cups dark or light Kidney Beans
- 4 Medium or 2 Large Onions, chopped
- 2 Green Bell Peppers or one red and one green
- 2 Large Ribs Celery
- 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon EACH of basil, oregano, cumin, salt
- 1 T chili powder
- 2 regular sized cans of stewed tomatoes and juice
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 to 1/2 Cup Dark Raisins
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Saute onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic together in oil.
- Add all of the spices and fry into the onion mixture, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add the tomatoes, pepper, bay leaf, cashews, and raisins and stir well.
- Add the beans, stir, then simmer covered for 30 min.
- Add the vinegar at the end of the cooking process and stir. Re-season if needed.
- Remove bay leaf and serve with warm bread.