But you can avoid this, even without turning to takeout. With a single pan, you can make tasty meals on the stovetop with enough to feed your family and maybe have leftovers throughout the week
Here are three recipes and a few tips to make a great single skillet meal, with little cleanup required. If you want to round out the dinner, you can always add a salad or side dish, but that might mean a few extra dishes in the sink.
A Southwestern skillet
When chef Shon Foster of restaurant Wood Ash Rye in St. George, Utah, is looking for a go-to meal to quickly feed his family, he makes this semi-homemade version of enchiladas. Using a rotisserie chicken, instead of making your own roast chicken, cuts back on time and will still result in a delicious dish full of layered southwestern flavors.
Skillet Stacked Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chiles
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30
- 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
- 1 cup chicken stock (plus all of the juice in the bottom of the rotisserie bag)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 can green chiles, diced (4 ounces)
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped, divided in half
- 1 green onion sliced thin, whites and greens separated
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced and divided in half
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Chihuahua cheese
- 1 12-ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 24 corn tortillas (6 inches in diameter, white or yellow corn)
- 1 mini head of Romaine lettuce, shredded
- Vegetable oil spray
1. Prepare the cilantro, green onion, Roma tomatoes, cheese and garlic.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine, sour cream, green chiles, half of the cilantro, sliced whites of the green onions, half of the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, cream of chicken soup and garlic.
4. Whisk until all ingredients are well combined.
5. Spray a light coat of oil in the bottom of the cast-iron skillet.
6. Place six tortillas in a circular pattern to create the bottom layer (think of it like layering lasagna).
7. Scoop a cup and a half of the mixture from the bowl into the skillet and spread evenly.
8. Sprinkle an even layer of shredded cheese and chicken.
9. Repeat steps 6 and 7. (Note: You will repeat this process three times, six tortillas each layer, plus the mixture, cheese and chicken.)
10. On the last layer, add the mixture and chicken and cheese only (no tortillas).
11. Set the skillet on medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes.
12. Once the skillet is hot, place it into the oven for 20 minutes.
13. Remove pan from the oven and top mixture with reserved tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and shredded lettuce. Optional: Add diced avocado.
14. Cut into equal portions and serve.
Note: These make great leftovers. The enchiladas must be chilled uncovered until cool and then wrapped or sealed in an airtight container or plastic bag. They will hold their shape well. In the morning you can make chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican breakfast dish, by adding eggs and a little hot sauce.
An all-day egg dish
For any one-skillet meal, Anna Francese Gass, chef, recipe tester and author of the Heirloom Kitchen, always recommends using a cast-iron skillet because it stays hot and cooks more evenly. (These pans also last a really long time if you take care of them well.) Her take on the classic Italian dish Eggs in Purgatory is a great option for dinner or brunch and can be served right out of the skillet.
Eggs in Purgatory
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3 (2 eggs each)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 6 large eggs
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 cup chopped basil, for garnish
- Crusty Italian bread, for sopping
1. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for one minute. Pour in tomato sauce and turn the heat to medium-low.
2. Simmer for five minutes, to heat the tomato sauce.
3. Using the back of a spoon, carve out six holes in the tomato sauce, add a drizzle of oil into each hole, then crack an egg into each divot. Add salt and pepper to each egg.
4. Cover the pan and let cook until eggs are set to taste (three minutes). Check after two minutes if you want your egg on the runny side.
5. Remove the lid and generously grate the Parmigiano Reggiano over the eggs.
6. Serve right from the skillet, sprinkled with chopped basil.
7. Spoon each egg onto the plate with lots of sauce, for sopping up with bread.
A healthy twist on chicken and rice
This meal, from executive chef Cory Morris of restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You, is healthy and simple to make. His pro tip: “For recipes that require long cook times, always cook with bone-in proteins.” This way, the meat won't dry out quickly.
In just one hour you'll have your protein, vegetable and grain ready to go, with only one skillet to clean.
Lemon-Turmeric Chicken Thighs With Farro Risotto
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in (6 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1. Season chicken thighs with turmeric, salt and pepper.
2. Sear chicken in a cast-iron pan over medium heat with olive oil. Cook 4 minutes each side.
3. After the thighs are seared, remove them from the pan.
4. Add the diced onion to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to caramelize.
5. Add farro and cook until lightly toasted, then add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
6. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by half (about 3 minutes).
7. Add seared chicken and chicken stock to the pan.
8. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to a simmer.
9. Place aluminum foil over the pan loosely and cook for 45 minutes.
10. Remove foil, add broccoli and cook for 5 more minutes uncovered.
Note: If you want to get a crispy finish, put the pan under the broiler in your oven.
Samantha Lande is a contributing writer who covers food, health and human interest stories for several national publications. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, on Allrecipes, the Food Network and more.