14 Kitchen Tools for the Easiest Dinners At Home (One Pot Meals & More)

Household Hacks

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Fall is always when I start dreaming of hearty meals like soups or stews, and never has the idea of comfort food seemed more comforting than now. The idea of cooking three meals a day for the family while also doing work and school from home? Exhausting even to contemplate. Luckily, some of the best meals ever conceived were built around one-pot cooking. You’ll find flavors meld and concentrate, and low and slow cooking means you’ll spend lots less time fussing over the stove; one pot meals are also fantastic for bulk cooking and freezing batches, so you’ll double your results and halve your efforts, truly a win/win.

 

Enameled cast-iron cookware is an essential part of every cook’s kitchen lineup, and it’s the single best item you can own for one-dish meals. Whether you’re making a hearty stew that will feed the family all week, prepping a low country boil that’s  sure to wow guests (with practically no cleanup) or are meal prepping for bulk grain bowls and other easy lunches, it’s truly a required item. A well made dutch oven from a brand like Le Creuset will last a lifetime, but there are cheaper house brands if the iconic French classics are out of your budget.

Featuring a one pot recipe for every day of the year, this cookbook guides users through casseroles, lasagnas, braises, chili and more, so no matter which vessel you feel like cooking in, there’s a tasty option that’s perfectly suited to it.

All that fantastic flavor and crunch without the mess of cleaning out the grease trap, air fryers have finally moved out of the late-night infomercial and into popular use. The right cookbook will have your whole family sold on great tasting homemade meals with little cleanup and no guilt.

Sheet pan cooking had a huge on-trend moment, but it’s easy to pass on that cooking style during the heat of summer; nobody wants to run the oven unless they absolutely have to. But now the weather is turning cooler, and we’re here to remind you that sheet pan cooking is for more than just frozen, pre-made foods like fish sticks and chicken nuggets, though of course it excels at those delicious after-school snacks. A favorite of many home cooks, you can find tried and tested recipes all over the web from well-known names like Ree Drummond.

In search of homey favorites, it may be time to consult the experts in affordable, filling, one-dish meals for the whole family; Grandma. Reach back into that family recipe box and reconnect with favorite childhood holiday, picnic, and potluck dishes.

Japanese style hot pots are an experience to cook and eat, and families will love how customizable this dish can be. Every step is broken down in this easy to follow cookbook, from how to make flavorful broths, to buying just the right cuts of meat for Shabu Shabu. A great option for anyone looking for filing and delicious meals without feeling stuck making the same three or four soups or chilis over and over again.

Old school slow cookers have fierce competition from high-end names, multicookers, and an endless rack of restaurant to-go menus, but this ugly duckling can still win the day. Slow cookers are cheap, reliable, extremely easy to use— most of them only have four settings, max— and are still the easiest way to host a party where the host gets to actually party, instead of spending their entire day in the kitchen. They’re also ideal for students, singles, retirees, and anyone who wants to come through the door at dinner time to find their meal ready and waiting.

The ideal companion for stir-fry, a wok is perfect for weekend meals, and there’s no better use for leftover rice, meats, and vegetables than to breathe new life into them as a delicious stir fry. This wok has a traditional rounded base, so while it works nicely over commercial grade stoves in the hands of an experienced chef, electric stove owners should opt for flat base models instead.

Learn how to master wok cooking and expand your abilities as a cook with this James Beard award winning cookbook. A memoir, a repository of culinary inspiration, and a bible for stretching every ingredient to it’s greatest height, it will transform your approach to cooking, and stir-frying especially.

Cheaper meals, fast and easy. Tasty, one-pot dishes like chili, cassoulet, bolognese, chicken soup, the sorts of rib-sticking goodness that grandma spent all day cooking now come together in less than an hour. If your pantry is featuring a little more rice and beans these days, buying an Instant Pot means you can turn those plain grains into a mountain of delicious meals.

Enjoying that perfect outdoor fall weather always makes me keen to fire up the grill, and as a dish saver it can’t be beaten. It’s easy enough to dirty only a set of tongs making a meal for the family while grilling, but if you’re willing to venture a single extra item, a grill basket can open up more fruits and vegetables to the convenience of grill cooking.

On particularly warm and miserable days, dinner can’t afford to generate any heat at all, and layering a beautiful salad can still be a nourishing and pleasant meal for the whole family. Pack in some gorgeous in-season fruit, layer your proteins, and let everyone choose their favorite dressing, and you’ve got a dinner nourishing dinner that still leaves plenty of appetite for guiltless before bed snacking.

Whether in the firepit or the fireplace, scouts shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy cooking with coals. This three legged dutch oven features an 8 quart capacity, perfect for feeding the family. You can rustle up an entire breakfast on chilly mornings with this traditional little oven, complete with potatoes, eggs, bacon and cheese, but it’s also magical for overnight ham and beans, or even baking a loaf of bread.

Beautiful, functional, and massive, paella pans are not only useful for cooking their namesake dish, they’re the perfect vessel for making one pot meals for a crowd, no matter what you’re throwing together. From couscous to quinoa and everything in between, you’ll find yourself reaching for this cast iron hybrid of a pot and a pan whenever there’s company coming.


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