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Cuba Try: 8 Easy-Peasy One-Pot Recipes That Will Impress

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Some of us just don’t the time or energy to read through extensive recipes for extravagant meals. Some of us hate cooking for one. A lot of times, we just hate having to clean up after we’ve slaved over a hot stove. What if I told you that you actually can make quick, delicious meals for your household without having a mountain of cookware to wash after?

The following recipes (all measured for four servings, because who doesn’t love leftovers) can all be made using a single pot or skillet, and are fast and fuss-free, ensuring that you have a scrumptious homemade meal on the table much sooner than you’d imagine – except for the slow-cooked jambalaya. Read on!

1. Mushroom and tofu ramen

Who can turn down a slurptastic bowl of noodles?

This vegan-friendly bowl is the perfect soul-soother after a long, tiring day at work.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons cooking oil
450 grams of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
450 grams of firm tofu, cubed
6 cups of vegetable broth
4 handfuls of fresh spinach
4 packs of instant/ramen noodles (don’t use the seasoning)
4 stalks of green onion, sliced    

Directions

1. Pour the cooking oil into a pot and sauté the mushrooms and tofu over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft, the tofu golden brown, and all the moisture in the pot has evaporated.
2. Add the vegetable broth, and turn up the heat to bring the broth to a boil. When boiling, add the ramen noodle and cooking for about three to four minutes.
3. Turn the heat off, add the spinach, and stir until the spinach is wilted.
4. Put the ramen into serving bowls, garnish with the green onion, and serve.

2. Beef nachos skillet

Now #TacoTuesday can be any day of the week.

Nachos are always a good time, and if you’re crafty in the kitchen, you can use whatever leftovers you have in your fridge to put this dish together. 

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the taco seasoning

1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

For the skillet
1/2lb of ground beef
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
150 grams of tortilla chips
60 grams of shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced

Directions
1. Combine the ingredients for the taco seasoning in a bowl.
2. Heat up a skillet and add a little bit of oil to it. Then, add the ground beef and cook over medium heat until fully brown.
3. Add the taco seasoning from Step 1 along with the black beans to the beef. Continue to stir over medium heat for about three minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir until they start to go soft. This will take around four to five minutes.
5. Add the tortilla chips to the skillet and stir in with the other ingredients. If you want your chips crunchy and to be eaten in classic nacho style, add them in after the following step.
6. Throw in the shredded cheddar cheese and let it melt for about two minutes.
7. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top, and serve.

3. Vegetarian minestrone

Delicious Italian minestrone soup with a slice of crusty bread is the stuff of dreams!

One can never go wrong with a hearty bowl of soup. This one is chock full of nutritious vegetables. In this recipe, you can omit the veggies you don’t like, add the ones you do like, and even throw in a meat protein should you want that. Just remember to cook it for longer so that the meat is cooked all the way through.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
1.5 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
2.5 cups of vegetable broth
1/2lb of zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup of green beans
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Directions

1. Add the olive oil to a large soup pot. Throw in the onion, garlic, and carrots and sauté until the onions soften and become translucent.
2. Add the tomato paste and sauté for three minutes. Allow the paste to coat the bottom of the pot but don’t let it burn.
3. Add in the kidney beans, chickpeas, diced tomatoes (with its juices), Italian seasoning, and vegetable broth. Make sure it’s properly combined. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Add the zucchini and green beans. Stir, and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Finally, add the lemon juice, chopped parsley, and salt to taste. Serve!

4. Creamy spinach mushroom pasta

A serving (or three) of creamy ecstacy.

All the cream and carbs in this dish definitely make #MeatlessMonday worth it. *cue Homer Simpson drooling*

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 cups of vegetable brother
1.5 cups of milk
250 grams of linguine (or your pasta of choice)
1/4 lbs of fresh baby spinach
450 grams of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon of salt to taste
Freshly-cracked black pepper to taste

Directions
1. Put the butter in a deep pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
2. Add the vegetable broth, milk, salt, black pepper, and pasta to the pan. Make sure the pasta is fully submerged. Place a lid on the pan, allow it to simmer, then turn down the heat to low.
3. Let the pasta cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente, and make sure to stir so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Make sure the liquid stays at a simmer. The sauce may appear thin but will thicken as you add the remaining ingredients.
4. Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat. Add the spinach and mushrooms to the piping hot pasta and stir until they wilt.
5. Add two tablespoons of parmesan to the pan and stir into the pasta. Add the rest of the parmesan to the top when serving.

5. Chicken congee

Name a better pairing than congee and yoo tiao… we’ll wait!

Congee or rice porridge is an Asian favourite and can be customised to your liking in myriad ways. This variation of chicken congee with lots of ginger and pepper is particularly great for when you’re not feeling well.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 cup of uncooked jasmine rice
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 inches of fresh ginger, sliced
3 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 lbs. of bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed
5 cups of water
Salt to taste

Toppings

2 green onions, sliced
A handful of cilantro (optional)
A handful of peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil

Directions
1. Start by placing the uncooked rice at the bottom of a small rice cooker pot. Layer on the garlic, ginger, and mushrooms. Lay the chicken on top, and finally, add the five cups of water.
2. Close the rice cooker and let it cook until the rice cooker switches to the ‘keep warm’ setting.
3. Let it sit for about five minutes before opening the lid. Remove the chicken pieces, shred the meat, and remove the bones. Put the shredded meat back into the pot and stir.
4. Add salt to taste, but leave room for the salt from the soy sauce you will use to top the porridge.
5. Ladle the congee into a bowl, and top with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sliced green onions, cilantro leaves, and chopped peanuts.

6. Slow-cooked jambalaya

Tasty, tasty comfort in a pot.

This insanely flavourful Louisiana classic will take quite some time to rustle up, but trust us when we tell you it’s worth all the time and effort! Note that this recipe is best made in a slow cooker, but if you don’t have one, a Dutch oven or heavy casserole dish on the stove works just as well.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients

1 celery, finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 green capsicum, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
250 grams of smoked sausage, sliced
1 chicken thigh, boneless, skinless
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1/4 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
250 grams of canned diced tomatoes
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of uncooked long-grain white rice
2 green onions, sliced
Black pepper to taste

Directions
1. Put the celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic into the pot. Add the smoked sausage along with the chicken thigh, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper.
2. Pour the diced tomatoes and the juices all over the meat and spices. Add the chicken broth and the chopped parsley. Stir briefly.
3. Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and let it cook for about two hours.
4. When the liquid is boiling, remove the chicken thigh and quickly replaced the lid. Shred the chicken thigh and stir it back into the pot.
5. Add the uncooked rice and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until you see that the rice is tender.
6. Stir to fluff up the jambalaya, sprinkle the green onions, and serve!

7. Veggie-loaded barley soup

A slice of crusty bread definitely takes the veggie-loaded barley soup up a notch.

Barley isn’t a staple grain a lot of us grew up with, but it’s highly nutritious, and very tasty when included in savoury dishes such as this soup. Feel free to substitute any of the veggies below for your favourites.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1.5 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
250 grams of canned diced tomatoes
2 medium carrots, diced
1/3 teaspoon of dried basil
1/3 teaspoon of dried oregano
4 cups of vegetable broth
3/4 lbs of russet potatoes, diced
2/3 cups of frozen green beans
1/3 cup of frozen corn
1/3 cup of frozen peas
2/3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions
1. Pour the olive oil into a soup pot and add the onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for about five minutes.
2. Add the carrots, canned diced tomatoes with their juices, barley, basil, oregano, pepper, and vegetable broth into the pot.
3. Stir everything together to combine and cover the pot with a lid. Let the broth go up to a boil on medium-high heat. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down, and let it simmer. Stir occasionally.
4. Add the diced potatoes and allow to simmer until the potatoes and barley are tender.
5. Add the green beans, corn, and peas. Stir until the veggies heat through.
6. To finish off, add the lemon juice, and then salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

8. Chimichurri chicken and rice

A whirlwind of flavours to tantalise your taste buds.

This dish is an explosion of bright and fresh flavours in your mouth – quite the pick-me-up after a tiring day or week.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the chimichurri

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For the chicken and rice

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 yellow onion
2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup white rice (long-grain or jasmine, it’s up to you)
1.5 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Directions
1. Make the chimichurri first by combining the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the cilantro, parsley, and garlic.
2. Cut the chicken breast into very small pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Heat up the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Use this to sauté the chicken until golden brown.
3. Remove the chicken and replace it with the onions. Sauté the onion until translucent. Then, add the diced tomatoes and cook until they become mushy.
4. Reintroduce the chicken to the pan and add the frozen peas, uncooked rice, water, and salt. Stir well to combine thoroughly.
5. Close the pan with a lid and turn up the heat to medium-high. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 to 18 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
6. Fluff the rice, and then pour the prepped chimichurri over the rice. Gently fold to combine.
7. Add salt if necessary. Garnish with some fresh parsley or cilantro, and serve.

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Eliza Thomas
Eliza is the editor of Zafigo. She loves long-distance travel, cold weather, and the beach. Her favourite city is Los Angeles and she believes no other country has a better food scene than Malaysia. You're welcome to try and change her mind.