We've all been there, staring into the endless abyss that is the dirty dishes… paralyzed by the thought of cooking even as our stomachs beg for sustenance. 1 pan meals are a perfect way to make budget-friendly meals in a short amount of time with very little cleanup. These are low stress and super-hard to mess up, and come out tasting good.
Start with the prep. Good thing is a lot of this is already ready to go, just need to throw things together in the pan (in the right order). For those with a little more time and energy you can slice & dice fresh veggies for your meal. Set everything out you will need and measure out the portions according to the following guide.
1-handful of your Protein Source (Lean Meat, or meat substitute)
2 handfuls of colorful veggies, sliced and diced.
1 thumb tip of cooking fat (oil, butter, grease, etc…)
½ cup of water
Whatever Seasoning blend you like.
Pan & Lid and a stirring utensil
Put in your cooking fat and preheat the pan at medium-high. When your pan is heated and the cooking fat is melted (but not smoking) put in your veggies. Saute’ your veggies in the pan, stirring & flipping occasionally on medium-high until they are starting to browned and become aromatic. Splash with ¼ cup of water (or cooking wine for extra pizzazz!) and stir to deglaze the pan.
Once the veggies are ready, toss in your protein and the other ¼ cup of water. Stir and cover the pan. Stir occasionally to keep stuff from sticking. If it begins to stick, add a splash of water and stir. If the Protein was frozen it will take about 5-6 minutes usually to heat thoroughly, and if thawed it’ll take half that time to cook.
There are tons of options at this point. You can stuff this in a wrap or get fancy and eat it with a salad. Cook some rice or potatoes if you need some extra fuel for the day. Toss in some salsa and stuff it in a taco. Add some pasta sauce and drop it on a serving of your favorite pasta. The only limitation is your imagination (and lets be real, budget & time constraints).