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6 Quick, Healthy, One-Pot Dishes

These easy, quick, one-pot dishes have tons of flavor without all the excess calories.

One of the biggest barriers to eating healthy is time. When you factor in the amount of time it takes to shop for ingredients, prep, cook, and clean up after the meal, the idea of getting in the kitchen to make a nourishing dinner can seem daunting to say the least. However, the solution lies in one-pot (or one-skillet, or one-pan) meals. All of the cooking takes place in one tureen so it’s fast, easy, and convenient, and since you’re controlling the ingredients, you can make it much healthier than most take-out fare you reach for on busy nights.

Salsa Chicken

This dish couldn’t be easier — especially since it is all prepared in the most underutilized kitchen gadget--the almighty slow cooker. This meal is fast, incredibly easy, delicious, and healthy. Simply place 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a crock pot, top with 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 jar of salsa, 1 cup frozen or fresh corn, 4 cups spinach, 1/4 cup water, and a tablespoon each of chili powder and cumin. Simmer on low for 6 hours or high for 2 hours. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime juice.

Single-Pan Pasta

Pasta, veggies, fresh herbs, and gooey cheese. What’s not to love? In a large skillet with high sides, combine 12 ounces whole-wheat pasta, 12 ounces halved cherry tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 medium onion (diced, about 1 1/2 cups), 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 2 sprigs fresh basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 4 1/2 cups water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently, for about 9 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Add in a can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. Stir until hot throughout. Garnish with more fresh basil and some reduced-fat Parmesan cheese. Voila!

Fabulous Frittata

Eggs provide eggs-cellent, high-quality protein plus 13 vitamins and minerals. In a large oven-safe skillet with high sides, heat 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté 2 cups of your favorite seasonal veggies, diced. Remove from heat and spread veggies in an even layer across the bottom of the skillet. Add in 3 whole eggs and 6 egg whites, scrambled, seasoned with salt, pepper, and your favorite dried herbs and spices over the veggies. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup reduced-fat cheese of your choice. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until eggs reach 160 degrees F in the middle. Garnish with fresh herbs, salsa, hot sauce or light sour cream.

Spicy Seafood Stew

Seafood is an inherently-lean source of protein and adding veggies, herbs and spices keep this dish light but flavorful. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add 1 medium onion, diced, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add 3 cloves garlic, minced, and sauté 1 minute more. Add in 1 can diced tomatoes with juice, 1/4 cup vegetable or seafood broth, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch crumbled saffron threads, and 8 ounces fresh green beans or zucchini (1-inch cuts). Simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Add in 4 ounces scallops, cook for 2 minutes. Add in 4 ounces shrimp, cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Serve with crusty whole-grain bread or whole-grain croutons.

Cheesy Pork Chop & Roasted Veggies

Roasting veggies really takes their flavor to a whole new level. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. In a large roasting pan, sear 4 4-ounce boneless loin pork chops (sprinkled with salt and pepper) about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chops from pan, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon tomato paste. Add 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme and 2 cloves minced garlic and toss to coat 4 cups chopped veggies of your choice. Bake 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Place pork chops over veggies and bake 10 minutes more or until the thermometer reads 145 degrees F in chops. Remove from heat, sprinkle with 1/4 cup reduced-fat feta, gorgonzola, or blue cheese. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!


[Image via Shuterstock]

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