What are your favorite one-dish meals?
- LulusMom Aug 21, 2012 08:02 AM
I'm in a cooking funk. I've heard that others are too. One thing that always makes getting dinner on the table is knowing that there is only one pot to clean up. So I'm looking for suggestions for one dish meals. I don't need meat in mine, but I do want a carb and a vegetable (others may well not want the carb, but definitely want the protein and vegetable). I don't want to have to make rice on the side; I don't want to have to make a salad. I want it all in one pot or stir fry, and bonus points if there is enough that leftovers can be sent the next day in lunchboxes.
Looking forward to hearing your favorites.
Stir fry is not the same to me without rice.
Anywho, anything in my slow cooker or pressure cooker comes to mind.
Hawaiian style Oxtail soup, Corned Beef with vegetables, Osso Bucco, Paella, chili, any soup really.
Stir-fry's are great one dish meals. If you buy fresh noodles you can avoid having to pre-cook any rice or noodles to add as carbs. My favourite uses a sauce made from sesame oil, soy sauce and little bit of chicken (or vegetable) stock. All I do is saute my choice of veggies, then add minced garlic and ginger and cook until aromatic. Then I add the sauce. So easy and quick.
Pasta is always good. Try cooking up some tagliatelle, drain and then toss in basil pesto. Super simple, you could even saute some onions and mushrooms before putting the pasta back in.
Then you have stews, casseroles and dishes like chili.
We cook in one pot often, always enough for at least 2 dinners (there are only 2 of us in the house), bonus lunches. My husband, especially, only uses our 5 quart All-Clad casserole pot. He makes a noodley thing with hamburger that is heavy on paprika (poor man's goulash), a Mexican style polenta that is heavy on chopped (not roasted) poblanos and onions and chili powder and cheese. Not pc, but delish.
Have you tried the Cook's Illustrated 1-pot cookbook? It is sort of an amalgamation of their other recipes. Sometimes they "cheat" and use more than one pan, but some good ideas in there. They have a bunch of pasta recipes where you make a base and add raw pasta and extra watery sauce to cook all together. I suppose my favorite is "lasagne" where you brown sausage and red bells and onion (I have added cooked dried beans, mushrooms, kale, chard, or whatever is in my garden to extend it sometimes). Break up curly edge lasagne (straight edge lasagne noodle tend to glue together) over the top, pour crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce with extra water over the top and cook for about 20 minutes. Dollop ricotta over the top, sprinkle basil or whatever fresh herb you like, let set for 5 minutes, and serve. Easy peasy, no oven to heat up the house, and only one pot to clean!
My favorite quick one pot dish is a recipe clipped from the newspaper in the early '80's. I still love the flavors! This freezes well too. It is not a pretty dish - wide expanse of brown - but it is tasty!
Turkey Skillet Supper
2 Tb. oil
2 med. onions, chopped
2 med. red, yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
minced garlic (I use 2 -3 cloves)
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 lb. mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/4 c/ black olives, pitted & sliced
1/4 c. raisins (I rehydrate with hot water in a glass measuring cup)
1/4 tea. crushed red pepper
1 tea. ground cumin
1/2 tea. paprika
pepper to taste
3 large tomatoes, chopped (canned is fine in the winter)
1/2 c. bulgur (I tend to sub. left over barley just because I love barley!)
In a large skillet sauté bell pepper & onion in oil. Once onion begins to soften push the veggies to the sides and add the turkey and mushrooms. Cook on med. heat until the turkey is done. Add the middle group of ingredients. (I double the amount in this group.) Stir well and heat for a minute or so. Add tomatoes and bulgur, stir well. Cover. Cook over medium about 10 min. until the bulgur is cooked.
Serves 3 - 4
This is a really flexible dish. You can easily incorporate leftover vegetable and legumes. I mix it up and sub lentils for the bulgur sometimes.
Great topic! Can't wait to see all the suggestions!
I tried this last night, and my husband loved it! I used some fresh ground chicken from a local market rather than turkey, and about 3 cups of mixed Sweet 100's and Sungold from my garden that needed to be used up ASAP. I did add a little (about 1/4 cup water) and needed to cook it for about 20 minutes since it took awhile for the cherry tomatoes to release their juice. Used 1/4 cup currants, not soaked, instead of raisins, and double all the spices. It was very quick to make, no oven to heat up the house, and it was delish, as well as "wholesome" tasting. Next time I think I will double the bulgar, as we both love grains.
I'm so glad you both enjoyed it!
I'll have to try currants next time! Dried cranberries are a nice change too. Leftovers work well as a filling for stuffed peppers. I use TJ's Masala sauce to cover.
I use this as a clean out the fridge dish - leftover hash browns and beets have both been nice additions. I didn't really like celery in this - just doesn't work with the seasonings as far as my mouth is concerned!
The first that comes to mind is a chicken in a pot surrounded by vegetables. This can get pretty fancy -- there's an Anne Willan recipe online
http://www.marthastewart.com/355345/p... which would take me forEVER.
Maybe the concept of one-pot meals came from a time when a family only *had* one pot and everything went in it because nothing was wasted.
I like shrimp/corn/potatoes in a pot. Sausage/cabbage/apples in a pan. Breakfast for dinner.
Jambalaya - I make mine with shrimp and andouille sausage, but you can use what you want. It has rice, protein, veggies. I'd still serve it with some veggies on the side, but that could be carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes or whatever you have that's easy.
Joes Specials, there have to be several dozen recipes for this but they are all pretty much the same.
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic diced
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp Italian seasoning (or combination of herbs you like)
Red pepper flakes
1 bag spinach chopped
1 cup jack cheese (optional)
Sauté the onions and garlic. Add the beef, herbs and pepper flakes and brown. Add the spinach and cook until most liquid is gone. Stir in the eggs and cheese (if using). Serve in pita pockets.
Chicken parm or eggplant parm. All right, there's a sauce to consider but it becomes a one-pot if you use a jarred sauce that you like... (Don't tell anyone I said that), and if you roast the eggplant slices first in the same pan you'll use instead frying them first. The same with the chicken.
Others might be gratins, stuffed squash or pumpkin - Claudia Roden has some great recipes in The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, with or without meat... check the threads.
Promise - our secret. I made an eggplant ricotta bake the other night with Newman's sauce. Totally cheating, I guess, but also really delicious and homey.
I tend to find most gratins lacking. This is likely my fault, but the ones I've made have always seemed lackluster. I will check the Roden threads and see which ones have raves - that will up the chances that this time I won't be let down. Thanks for the idea.
A big favorite is steamed spaghetti squash, sauteed with kielbasa, apple chunks and onions.
Or a good old basic pot roast.
I always liked Mollie Katzen's mushroom moussaka - here is an on-line recipe http://greek.food.com/recipe/mushroom...
which is similar but not identical to the original. It does require a pan to make a mushroom sauce and another to make bechamel. But it bakes in one pan, makes 8 servings and is wonderful at room temperature (lunch box). I sometimes will add spinach to the mushroom sauce for that extra bit of nutrition:)
My standards are:
skillet lasagna - use your normal lasagna with broken up mafaldi noodles (they look like small lasagna noodles)
Rice casserole - a meat and veggie stew with rice on top and a coating on the rice. Same thing would be shepherd's pie if you used mashed potatoes on top.
Cajun Pasta is really good.
Cajun Pasta HH
3 cups cooked fettuccine or linguini
1/4 lb butter
2 tbls chopped garlic
3 tbls chopped green onions
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 1/2 cups combo of diced andouille sausage, diced shrimp, sautéed crabmeat or sautéed crawfish or sautéed chicken
1/2 ounce dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup mixed bell pepper (red & green)
2 tbls chipped cold butter
1 tbls chopped parsley
salt and pepper
In a cast iron pot (3 qt), melt butter over med-high heat.
Add green onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and andouille.
Saute 3-5 minutes, add garlic and tomatoes and continue to sauté for 3 minutes.
Add shrimp, chicken, crab meat or crawfish cooking for 2 additional minutes.
Deglaze pan with white wine and lemon juice and cook until volume of liquid is reduced to half.
Add heavy whipping cream and, stirring constantly, reduce until cream is thick and of a sauce like consistency, approximately 5 minutes.
Add 2- 3 pats at a time, swirling pan constantly over burner.
Continue adding butter until all is incorporated.
Remove from heat, add parsley and season to taste using salt and pepper.
Gently fold in cooked fettuccine and serve.
This is also good served cold as a pasta salad.
Instead of tomatoes, use 1/3 cup tomato, marinara or pasta sauce.
Instead of green onions, use ½ cup of chopped onions.
Put sautéed or blackened shrimp on top at last moment.
For non seafood lovers, just use andouille and chicken.
Hanks Rice Casserole and Variations
1.5 lbs ground chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tbls tomato paste
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbls flour
1 tbl vegetable oil
1.5 cups long grain white rice, cooked
1 can tomato soup
1 tsp paprika
1 tbl minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar (optional if it is getting to acidic for you)
½ cup beef broth
Brown the ground beef in a med high skillet. Lower the temperature a little, add some salt and pepper and sweat the onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, thyme, paprika and tomato paste and stir it to thoroughly incorporate the tomato paste. Taste it now and see if it is too acidic. If it is add the sugar.
Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture and mix it in for about 2 minutes. Add the beef broth. Stir until it thickens.
Spread the meat mixture over the bottom of a 9 x 13 pyrex baking pan. Spread the rice over the meat. Completely cover the meat. Poke several holes through the rice with the handle of a spoon.
Mix the tomato soup and a half a can of water. Spread this mixture over the rice with a spatula. You may not need all of it. No need to make it soupy. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve.
Italian – use 1 lb ground chuck and ½ lb Italian sausage. Use pasta sauce instead of the tomato soup. Use Italian spices instead of or in addition to the thyme.
Mexican – Use 1 lb ground chuck and 1/2 lb chorizo. Use chopped bell pepper instead of the celery and carrots. Add a can of rotelle spiced tomatoes instead of the broth. Add a tbl of chile powder instead of the paprika and more to the tomato soup. You can even add cheese on top.
Cajun – Use 1 lb ground chuck and ½ lb andouille sausage. Use chopped bell pepper instead of the celery and carrots. Add a can of rotelle spiced tomatoes instead of the broth. Add a tbl of chile powder instead of the paprika and more to the tomato soup. Like it spicy? Add a little cayenne.
As always with a casserole, don’t be afraid to change things. That’s what casseroles are for. You could add frozen peas. You could use mashed potatoes instead of rice. You could use noodles and mix it all together. You could use chicken or sliced beef. There are no limits.
Check out "A Man And His Pan" cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/A-Man-And-His-P... Click on the Look Inside! link and check the recipes listed in the Index. I've made several, but like his Skillet Chicken Curry with Apples, Raisins and Cashews.
For vegetarian, this African Vegetable Stew is a great dish: http://basic-recipes.com/veget/sweet/...
Minestrone (Hazan's) (of course it has to cook several hours, but I make it the day before and sometimes put the pot in the frig). There are many soups I make that are one pot (stock from freezer or canned) and sometimes I freeze it.
Curried Cream of Chicken Soup - oh how I love this soup and have taken to many people. This is an adaption which I sometimes use with leftover roast chicken or turkey. I use a hot madras curry powder, I love a kick.
Roast Chicken (Molly Steven's and presalt it is the one I am using now), but before I just seasoned and roasted high). Lots of onions, potatoes, - eggplant, carrots and sometime chunks of bread roasted with it. I have even made the pan drippings into a salad dressing. When you have it presalted in the frig you take it out and preheat the oven and go. Even the vegetables can be cut up ahead. Cutting up the chicken and roasting in pieces also works.
Don't we all get the funk. I make ahead so I do not really cook every night. Tonight, however, it is turkey al la king over noodles with my leftover roast turkey breast or maybe hot turkey sandwiches or marinate turkey chunks in vinaigrette and make a salad.
A turkey breast is a fine thing to have for 'funk'-fighting. Lot's of options there. I roast a couple chicken breasts for this same purpose (small household makes this enough white meat for needed purposes.
Most common re-use is for cobb salad, a favorite one-dish meal. Easy if I have taken the time to make a supply of oven-baked bacon and frozen it. Much easier than cleaning up the stove splatter to fry some.
Thanks so much for the suggestion of the Curried Chicken Soup. I made it yesterday and... wow.... 2TBL goes a long, very long, way. The flavor is grand, but that recipe should come with a warning or disclaimer. I finally cut the overpowering curry down with more water and a can of coconut milk. I'll make the recipe again, but with much less curry. Fine soup!
Glad you liked the soup, but sorry the curry was TOO strong. OOPS. I don't use a recipe any more so I cannot be sure of the ratios and maybe the kind of curry powder is important. I hate when there is too much curry powder. I will warn people if I recommend it again. Thanks and again glad you could save it. (hate when I can't save something).
Tonight's meal was incredibly easy (lots of little "cheats") and delicious. It came from WS's Eat Well book. It was a black bean, avocado and shrimp salad with lime and jalapeno and some minced onion (along with cumin and oregano). Open 2 cans of beans, thaw 1 lb of frozen cooked shrimp, cut the avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro, and mix with the spices, lime juice and a little olive oil. Really tasty, healthy, and easy. And all in one bowl!
I suggest Giuliano Hazan's Book 30 Minute Pastas. The name of the book is accurate. To be sure, you are usually going to need two pots, but how hard is it to clean a pasta pot? Not very. There are lots of ideas for pasta with vegetables, including some unusual ones: pasta with cantaloupe, pasta with shredded carrots, etc.
For one pot pasta meals, you can cook the pasta, and toss in chopped fresh, canned or thawed vegetables at the end to cook them. Add a crushed garlic clove for flavour, if you want. Drain, and toss with one or more of grated or crumbled cheese, fresh herbs, fresh or canned tomatoes, pre-made pesto sauce, butter, olive oil, sliced olive, capers, etc. If you want meat in it, you can add canned tuna, leftover shredded meat, or add finely diced sausages just before draining. You can poach chicken in the water, remove the chicken and then add pasta, as well.
For example - poach a whole chicken breast in a pot big enough for the pasta. Remove when done. Add the pasta. While the pasta cooks, slice some black olives, crumble some feta cheese, chop some fresh spinach, a green onion and basil, and juice half a lemon. Slice the cooked chicken.
Drain the pasta. Toss back in the pot on low heat with the spinach, basil, green onions, a can of diced tomatoes including juice and , the olives. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the lemon juice, feta cheese, some olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Risotto is the only rice based meal that springs to mind that doesn't involve cooking the rice separately, but that's pretty starchy as a meal.
A hearty soup with bread on the side can make a nice one-pot meal.
Arroz con Pollo cooks rice and chicken all at the same time, and you can easily load that dish with enough vegetables to satisfy any dietitian. It's also delicious. Paella or cous-cous can be one-pan meals as well, but an awful lot more work than most multi-dish meals I do.
I always cook rice separately for gumbo, but it seems to me I've seen recipes that cook the rice in it. I don't see why that wouldn't work - just leave it in there until it's edible. It's been very well demonstrated lately that grains and potatoes will eventually cook at any reasonable heat level, given enough time, so my mom's hamburger/onion/tomato/kidney bean/macaroni skillet dinner - which I still adore - would not even need the mac cooked separately, given adequate liquid. I think some ingredients might be better added after it's cooked, though, to keep them from overcooking.
Eggs with stuff in them. It's probably supposed to be an omelette, but whatever, I just saute an onion, add some vegetables I have around, then crack a few eggs on top and stir. Put the lid on it, it's done in 10 minutes. If you're really invested in having a carb with this meal, and don't want to buy bread, you can make extra rice next time you cook rice and stir some of that in as well.
If I'm not in the mood for eggs-with-stuff, I make sauce-with-eggs. Cook up a tomato-based sauce using whatever seasonings I have at hand, add other vegetables as desired, crack a few eggs in and cover. They're poached in a few minutes.
Not feeling it? Okay, how about rice-with-eggs? Saute an onion and garlic, maybe some ginger in a pot. Add your raw rice and water, cover, cook as usual. When it's just about done, toss in some grated carrot and finely chopped greens. When it IS done, with the heat still on, crack an egg or two and stir it all in.
Sensing a theme? We get a dozen eggs every week from our CSA. You wouldn't think they'd accumulate so quickly!
Chicken and dumplings, meat, starch & veg all in one pot. Super easy dumplings are are refrigerated tubes of biscuits, or I really like the little Bisquick packets like 3 Cheese Garlic (I add extra cheese).
Sausage, beans, and greens. Saute onion in a big skillet or pot, add sliced sausage of any sort and brown a bit. Add chopped red peppers and/or leeks and/or carrot and/or mushrooms. Add some better-than-bouillon or a splash of sherry or some broth for additional flavor and some chopped garlic. Add a can or two of beans (white, black, black-eyed peas, garbanzos -- anything, really), tomatoes if you want. Add lots of spinach or chard or kale or other favorite green and cook until done. Herbs at the end if you want/have them, or additional spices (ground coriander, red pepper flakes). Skip the sausage if you want vegetarian, or change it to bacon if you want. Or use diced chicken (add it later in the process if already cooked) or ground turkey.
Other favorite is quinoa with stuff in it -- saute onions, add diced chicken and brown it a bit, add some garlic and veggies (zucchini and mushrooms are a good combo), spices to your taste. Add quinoa and broth per amounts on box (or per google), and cook until done.
I guess I never realized that all of my one-pot meals (aside from pasta) seem to be very fall and wintery because they require baking...
This Quinoa hotdish is one of my favs... http://www.twincities.com/ci_11528141
This tofu casserole from Gourmet Today: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
Spanish hash casserole from Casas' Cocina de Mama: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5608...
Pumpkin stuffed with everything good (Around My French Table): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
But, on the topic of stuffed vegetables, to be extra summery, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed potatoes, stuffed zucchini, stuffed bell peppers, stuffed eggplant...
Quiche and other eggy things...
Pizza on the grill or pizza stone...
I like this chicken and orzo dish; it doesn't have a lot of vegetables as written, but it's easy to add more - up the aromatics (a must), saute some sliced peppers at the beginning, use more peas, stir in some baby spinach to wilt at the end, etc. You can add capers instead of/in addition to the olives, toss in fresh herbs if you have them, and so on. It's a blueprint.
Congee with fish and romaine - can be varied with meat, fishballs or fish cakes and other vegetables.
Asian noodle soups - I use jarred or packaged pastes for curry laksa, prawn noodle, tom yum noodles , assam laksa. Fresh noodles, vegetables and shrimp, meat and egg combos with the appropriate paste make for a good variation.
For stir fries if I don't want to cook rice, I make couscous or bulgar. Not a one-dish meal but no cook other than covering with boiling water from the electric kettle.
In this hot season a big huge chef salad is a one-dish meal and there's no cooking at all unless you want one of the ingredients to be hard-boiled egg.
My husband/ dishwasher lives in another state for much of the year. I rely on things like this as dish washing is not what I do for fun.
pierogies w sauerkraut and apples:
- fry slices of apples in oil in large frying pan over medium heat. add frozen pierogies and sauerkraut and sauerkraut liquid. Cover and cook til pierogies are ready.
chickpeas, potatoes, chard, prunes
- cook chickpeas from dried beans, when nearly cooked, add waxy potatoes, and a few chipped prunes and tomato paste. Add shredded chard when potatoes are nearly cooked. Garnish with great olive oil and bread crumbs (but toasting them requires another pan).
kimchi, tofu, korean rice cakes
- I'm really lazy, I put the above 3 in the pot, cover, cook. garnish with scallions, and sesame oil.
I do an island curry(or roti) about once a week. It's infinitely tweak-able because you can put nearly any protein or veggie in it. Keeping with your set of rules, I'm sure adding quick rice towards the end of the simmering process would work just fine. This junk saves well to boot...better the next day even!
This should give you the idea(just buy the curry powder though):
Sub the chicken for any veggies or protein for just as great results.
Here's another take on chicken and rice that is one pot, easy and delicious -- Lidia's Beggar Chicken and Rice:
And here's a thread where we discuss some of the tweaks we made:
Bottom line is that it's a very forgiving (and huge) recipe -- add whatever veggies you want, use pre-cooked chicken if you want to save time.
There are links to several awesome-looking tomato-pie recipes posted near the bottom of the September "Home Cooking Dish of the Month" nominations thread...
West Indian chicken curry with potatoes added to the chicken curry
Greek-inspired mac & cheese with feta, dill, arugula
Cauliflower, mac & cheese
chicken with orzo, kalamata olives, feta & tomato
chevre & spinach/arugula strata
savoury bread pudding
caldo verde- I add white beans to turn it into a meal
Italian sausage and white bean stew
cabbage rolls/lazy cabbage roll casserole
kakavia/bouillabaise/cotriade/seafood stew with new potatoes (add the seafood once the potatoes are par-cooked)
I work late and hate making a big production around dinner during the week. I'm not a purist with food and make substitutions and shortcuts like crazy. We try to be healthy but that doesn't always happen either. My 1 pot meals tend to be pretty simple:
1. Boil pasta, drain, pour back in pot. Add handfuls of fresh (or defrosted) spinach, shopped kalamata olives, canned white beans, and canned tuna (a good Italian variety in oil). Leftover sauteed onions are great in it too.
2. Soups. I usually make mine in a crockpot due to time constraints but have a variety in my repetoire:
-cabbage: chunked cabbage, carrots, celery, and onion. 1 box of soup mix (again, lazy), and chicken or beef stock to cover. It's best if you sautee the veg first but isn't bad tossed into a crockpot either. Regardless, 1 dish.
-fake minestrone: same approach with dicing/sautee-ing: carrot, celery, onion, canned tomato, a bit of tomato paste, beef stock, canned beans, a handful or 2 of pasta at the end.
-chicken and wild rice: same veg method, as many sauteed mushrooms as I can find and/or dried mushrooms, leftover shredded chicken, wild rice, long grain rice thrown in at the end. A can of cream of mushroom soup if I my boyfriend wants it creamier.
-Whatever veggie's in the house + stock + immersion blender. Boil veg until soft, blend. Add cream if desired. Or cheese....
3. When in doubt, homemade mac n' cheese. I boil the pasta in my put then leave it in the strainer. Make a simple white sauce and add all of the bits of leftover cheese from the fridge (lesson learned: string cheese doesn't melt well) and a bit of nutmeg or dry mustard. Toss the pasta back in and cook it until it absorbs a bit of of sauce. Baking it off with a topping is nice but seems like a lot of work some nights....
4. Laziest of lazy nights: noodles + sauce. Pasta with jarred sauce. Rice noodles with bottled pad thai sauce, mixed with shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts. Pasta with defrosted sauteed mushrooms (I always buy them when marked down and sautee for a later date), parmesan, and a spoonful of truffle butter or olive oil. Ramen noodles with an egg...
Again, I get crazy lazy at the end of the day...
Italian Giambotta (I use 1/4 inch chunks of pepperoni ~~ some like it vegetarian) lots of recipes online
There's an interesting recipe in this month's Bon Appetit for an eggplant, tomato, saffron rice baked dish that I'm looking forward to making.
My one pots consist of "garbage soup" (whatever is hanging around)....or the famous "rice dish"....whatever is hiding there in the fridge gets pulled out. If something needs sauteeing, that gets done first in the rice pot and then put aside on a plate. The rice is then started, often in broth. For the last 10 mins or so everything gets placed on top of the rice to heat. Stir at the end.serve..maybe topped with a spicy sauce (nuked) and toasted Pita Bread on the side. Works and sometimes delightful. Squash, that smidgeon of peas, onions, even potatoes sometimes go into it. Meats can or cannot be added, but I usually limit it to one type and maybe a bit of bacon, sausage, or interesting cold cut (diced) added to the main meat.
An old standby chez Tardigrade is sausage and peppers, liberally adapted from a dish served in some Italian restaurant in the Hudson valley c. 1970: Italian sausages cooked with peppers, tomatoes and onions, seasoned with oregano (and basil if it's on hand), and served with a loaf of good sourdough bread - or rice or noodles or whatever starch is handy. You can make a big batch and freeze it, or eat it all week if you like. It's a little soupy, so lunchboxes may be a problem.
Have you considered investing in a fuzzy-logic rice cooker? They can cook all sorts of grains (and some people claim they do legumes and soups as well), and modern ones are just put-the-stuff-in-turn-on-and-forget-about-it so you don't have to watch another pot while the rest of the meal cooks. Mine's non-stick, and cleans up in seconds (and if you make a big batch, the leftovers can be mixed with whatever's in the big pot to be reheated later). Many evenings we start a batch of rice while we're deciding what else to make.