The Art of Cooking: Quick & Easy One-Pan Meals

Whether you are running late, pressed for time, or you just don’t want to spend your entire evening in the kitchen, your stove is the answer to quick and easy meals your whole family can enjoy. From breakfast to dinner, you can have great food on the table in minutes. Just grab your pan and a spoon, and turn up the flame.

My “Breakfast Skillet” was discovered by my growing aggravation with standing in the kitchen making everyone in my family individual omelets. This recipe is very simple, takes only a few minutes to make, and will serve your whole family. Perfect for weekday mornings when everyone has their own place to be and very little time to spare. I usually accompany this omelet with cottage cheese and fruit, or some toast.

Breakfast Skillet

¼ cup bacon
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ onion, sliced
1 pepper (green, red or both) diced
handful mushrooms, or 1 small can
6 eggs
A few tablespoons milk (makes eggs fluffy)
Salt & pepper
Cheese of your choice

1. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook on medium heat in a large skillet until almost done.
2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until onions start to get soft.
3. In separate bowl, beat eggs, milk, and salt & pepper until blended. Add to skillet and mix once; let cook.
4. When egg starts to set around the edges, take a spatula and gently lift the edges of the omelet and let the liquid egg run to the bottom. Do this until the egg no longer runs, then flip.
5. Top with cheese and let melt. Cut into 6 wedges. Serve.

Salads are great for lunch because they take very little time to prepare, and don’t weigh you down for the rest of the day. My favorite is Grilled Shrimp Salad, but you can use just about any kind of meat you want. Just sauté it with your favorite seasonings and throw it on some greens.

Grilled Shrimp Salad

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning
4 Tbs. butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Salad greens, vegetables
Vinaigrette dressing of your choice

1. In a small bowl, toss shrimp with cayenne pepper until mixed
2. Melt butter on low heat, then add garlic; let simmer for about 30 seconds
3. Turn heat to medium, add shrimp and lemon juice; cook for about 3 minutes until shrimp are opaque.
4. Spoon shrimp onto salad greens and vegetables, top with dressing.

The most versatile recipe I have ever learned has to be cream sauce. Once you know the 3 key steps, you can twist and turn it all you want to fit your own ideas. I usually add 5 crushed cloves garlic (will not have overwhelming garlic taste) and 1 chopped onion, then sauté with butter in step 1. Then I add some pepper and chopped, cooked chicken in step 3. Finally, I serve it over pasta or rice. It’s that simple!

Basic Cream Sauce

1 ½ sticks butter
1 ½ cups flour
About 3 cups milk

1. Melt butter in saucepan on medium heat.
2. While mixing, add flour gradually until it has a “thick paste” consistency
3. Slowly add milk while stirring. Bring to boil while constantly stirring, then remove from heat. If sauce is too thick you can add more milk.

Image by: John Evans, SXC

1 thought on “The Art of Cooking: Quick & Easy One-Pan Meals

  1. Hi Christine, here’s some other simple cooking ideas for dads…..

    Jeff-the-chef and his restaurant team of dads from Eleven, at Kings St wharf, Sydney have delivered the following recipes based on healthy ingredients, fun factor and ease of preparation :

    Meatballs (also works for sausages)

    Any grade of mince
    Grate 1 x carrot and 1 x zuchinni: then mix with mince
    1 spoon of either molasses or maple syrup
    Salt and pepper
    Olive oil
    Get the kids to grate and mix. Dad, you cook on a fry pan to your liking.
    Serve as a sandwich, make a sausage roll by baking the sausage (already cooked) in filo pastry for 20 min, or eat plain
    Add dips like tommy sauce or healthy options such as hummus
    Bolognaise sauce

    Use the above mince meatball recipe(add gared garlic, onion and capsicum)
    Add 1 tin of tomatoes then cook
    Add tommy sauce toisweeten
    Serve with pasta of your choice. Add garlic bread on the side

    Use mince from above
    Grab a box of lasagna sheets from supermarket
    Layer the sheets in a greased baking dish
    Alternatively add, mince and sheets until you get to the top
    Grate cheese (you can use cheddar, Parmesan or pizza cheese) in between the layers
    Bake for 40 min on 180 Celsius
    TIP: For added Italian flavour add smoked pork rashes, bacon or pork mince in with the mince recipe above


    Buy pizza bases or use Lebanese bread
    Top the pizza base with tomato paste
    Add whatever you like, (use old vegies, grate then apply)
    TIP: Check your local pizza shop menu for inspiration (theres bound to be one in your letter box)
    Add loads of cheese
    Best cooked on a pizza stone (you can buy one for around $10 – lasts for life)
    Bake in oven for 20 minutes
    Pancakes (savory ; don’t add sugar or sweet : add sugar)

    3 eggs
    250 grams plain flour
    0.5 litres of milk: add milk gradually
    TIP: rest mixture for 15 minutes to allow the gluten to buld up; makes ‘em damn good!
    Spray pan with canola oil to stop burning ( has the goodness of omega 3 and is cholestorel free)
    SAVOURY: add grated whatever you like, layer and stack for ideal presentation
    SWEET: add sugar, jam etc..
    TIP: Save pancakes in the fridge for up to 4 days. use for roll-ups in kids lunches
    Vegie patties

    Mix grated vegies in a bowl
    Add 1 egg to bind mixture
    Roll in bread crumbs
    TIP: if mixture is too runny add extra vegies or breadcrumbs
    Fry to your liking
    Use tommy sauce, soy or sweet Thai chilli as dipping sauces

    Kids love the breadcrumbs, so have them to the coating per below:

    Buy schnitzel meat cuts from butcher or supermarket (or you can buy breaded cuts but then you leave the kids nothing to do).
    2 eggs (beat in a bowl)
    1 plate of plain flour
    1 plate of bread crumbs
    Dip meat in flour, then flour then coat with crumbs (must be done in that order)
    Fry on a high heat

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