HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Your favorite (non-smelly) one pot/one dish recipes?

I am putting my house on the market soon, and cooking "smelly" food is not really an option. I also do not have a vented hood so things like stir fries or anything cooked in oil doesn't fare so well... the house will still smell the next day (not to mention those tend to be messier). Also, I don't want to be doing hoardes of dishes every night, so I thought having a good arsenal of one pot/one baking dish meals might be helpful.

So what say you fine Chowhounders? What are your favorite (non-smelly) one pot meals? I have a couple I like but would like some more.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Boiling some vinegar and water in a pot on the stove for a bit is great at removing odors (our next door neighbors dog gets skunked with regularity and our 100 year old house isn't totally air tight...) The vinegar smell dissipates quickly and takes ALL house odors with it (cooking, pets, etc.)

    I honestly can't think of anything good that doesn't have some smell to it other than sandwiches.

    11 Replies
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      Thanks for the tip about the vinegar!

      I think the smell while cooking is fine, it's more the "after smells" I'm worried about. Like, if I am making chicken in a pan with oil, my house will still smell the next day. But a smell of a baked dish or a stew or soup is OK since it doesn't seem to linger til the next day.

      1. re: juliejulez

        Gotcha. Hopefully your weather is getting nice and you can open the windows and let the fresh air in.

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          That it is! Also reminds me I can start using the grill!

          1. re: juliejulez

            The grill is the answer if you don't want cooking smells in your kitchen and you think you can't have non-smelling foods. Although there is a lot of foods that aren't that "smelly".

            Baked/roasted potatoes, large salads, some vegie sides, all these are fine. Cook your protein on the grill.

        2. re: juliejulez

          I'm always reading how people use vinegar to neutralize odors, but any time I've tried it, I can still smell the vinegar the next day. I use a product called "Smells Begone" that work amazingly well. I like the spray because it gets rid of odors without having any fragrance of it's own. I've used it for neutralizing odors in the house from cooking, from the dog (her feet always smell like corn chips) and the litterbox.

              1. re: weezieduzzit

                I call em Tos-ti-toes. :) Actually it's not the worst smell, thankfully she's a very non-stinky dog, but it's a bit much in the car.

                1. re: weezieduzzit

                  Exactly :) I used to call my Honeycomb Frito feet. It is a cute little smell--especially if you like Fritos ;)

              2. re: gmm

                my friends dogs' name was "popcornpaws"

                1. re: gmm

                  My dogs ears smell like Fritos. I find it strangely comforting.

            1. lemon rosemary chicken in crock pot.

              skyline chili with warm spices and chocolate in crock pot

              date molasses bread in coffee tin in crock pot

              orange marmalade with sage and apple with warm spices pork loin in crock pot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: iL Divo

                a loaf of fresh bread, sure it helps if you made it from scratch cause you can add whatever fragrances to it to make it 'waft" more when baking and yes do bake it about 20 minutes before they're due to arrive

                also cinnamon sticks&cloves&lemon&orange rinds (in a small sauce pan with water) on the stove simmering away smells simply grand

                don't forget brownies, even if they're boxed and inexpensive you can doll 'em up by adding more chocolate and cinnamon plus extra vanilla to make the house smell like they wanna eat it when they walk in, the house not the brownies

              2. Keep frozen pre-cut cookie dough on hand to throw in the oven when you know buyers are coming.

                1 Reply
                1. re: monavano

                  maybe just bake the cookies after you've made your own meal?

                2. Coming from someone who has sold three houses in a timely manner: there are certain smells that actually sell a house. Chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven (or a dab of vanilla extract on a lit lightbulb) always worked for us. Make sure you offer them one.

                  Also I had a younger single male coming by with an agent one night around dinnertime, so I popped in some bacon for BLTs and then made sure we were sitting on the porch drinking gin and tonics when he arrived. He instantly said to us, I want to be sitting where you are drinking what you are. He made an offer on the spot.

                  And if all else fails, don't forget to bury a St Joseph statue upside down right outside, hasn't failed us yet. My mom, a longtime real estate broker, told us about this very popular trick.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    I'm actually a real estate broker so I know all the tricks in that regard :)

                    1. re: juliejulez

                      So then you know, don't make the house TOO sterile either! You want them to imagine they already moved in. Next time maybe I'll get the agent to find out what they like to eat ;-)

                      1. re: coll

                        Our realtors have discouraged all such things. No way to know what offends. I recently HAD to go into a candy store. The smell of chocolate almost made me ill. Also those little pots of spices can be awful. AND suggest to the buyers that we had something to hide.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          My personal experience indicates otherwise. Of course I'm talking real food and not scented candles or the like.

                          1. re: coll

                            I discount my personal experience and go with what the pros tell me. And through many real estate deals that has held true.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              There are so many "tricks" out there. I personally have found that as long as the house smells clean (ie not of food, strong fragrances, cat pee or pets in general, cigarette smoke, dirty diapers, trash etc etc etc), it's good to go.

                              The real key to selling your house and making it an easy transaction, at least in this market, is to just price it realistically, and detach yourself from it emotionally.

                              1. re: coll

                                funny coll, I truly think we're speaking about the same person

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  What, the male buyer? Last time I drove through the old neighborhood, our cute ranch house had been sold again and turned into a McMansion. Don't know where he ended up, I'd like to think he was your new neighbor or something. Don't tell me you were baking choc chip cookies!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    oh my coll, no....wrong subject.
                                    sorry I've confused you, I'll refreshen your memory now.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                Homemade bread might be an alternative to appeal to potential home owners.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  Baked goods in general help staging, but the smell of pomegranate molasses wafting from a bademjan or fessenjan is lovely, and it returns to the OP request for a one-pot meal.

                            2. re: juliejulez

                              When a promising prospect came to look at our house, I had yeasty-smelling cinnamon rolls in the oven and a pot of coffee brewing. After they were done looking, we had coffee and warm rolls. They bought the house and have now lived it 23 years.

                              1. re: Querencia

                                I've never had a realtor - and we've had a few ) - who 'allowed' us to be there when the house was being shown.

                          2. Texas hash which is cooked in the oven. There are several, maybe thousands, of recipes available online.

                              1. Mac & cheese with bacon and tomato
                                Risotto with mushrooms and diced cherry tomatoes
                                Faux Paella, made without the saute step
                                Beef or pork or chicken stews; brown the meat in the oven instead of on stovetop.

                                When I need to "freshen" the air quickly, I mix equal parts water and vodka, and add juice of a lemon in a spray bottle. Spritz into the air, especially around the stove and trash bin. Open the window. No "fake" scent, and the room smells good in about 5 minutes. I use this for client kitchens, too :)

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: KarenDW

                                  Speaking of risotto, here's a Wolfgang Puck recipe for risotto made in a rice cooker. Quite tasty and super easy.


                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                    "Mac & cheese with bacon and tomato"

                                    I'm sold :)

                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      My house smells like bacon forever after we cook it. I'd nix the bacon. Or, I've never tried it, but buy the precooked?


                                    2. re: KarenDW

                                      Karen, I'd be so happy if you jotted down the recipe for your M&C w~b&t
                                      I'm smiling here just thinkin about it, TIA

                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                        not much of a recipe, really, ID
                                        Use your favorite baked M&C recipe, subbing bacon for the butter in the roux. Saute a little chopped onion or shallot before cooking the flour. I like to use a little white wine in the sauce.
                                        Slice 1/2 of a pint basket of cherry tomatoes, and reserve. Seed (i.e., cut in half at the equator, and sqeeze gently; strain and save the "tomato water" for a martini) and dice the rest of the tomatoes.
                                        Stir the diced, seeded toms into the M&C (add more cooked bacon here if desired), then divide amongst buttered ramekins.
                                        Arrange the sliced tomatoes over top. Sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs. What the heck, toast the breadcrumbs in a small pan with bacon fat...
                                        Bake about 30 min @ 350.
                                        If freezing for later, wrap well and freeze BEFORE baking. Defrost overnight in fridge, and then bake for about 40 min @ 350 or 375-ish.

                                    3. I remember those days and I lived in FEAR that our very open concept house would linger on the market. (no walls to contain smells to just the kitchen area)

                                      I made up some italian beef in the crock pot for sandwiches, which I froze in 2 person serving sizes. Also did a pork butt in the slow cooker, for lots of easy to reheat options (sandwiches, carnitas, etc). Lasagna/stuffed shells, lots of leftover clean out the freezer stuff since we knew we were hoping to move soon as well.

                                      We were very lucky to have 2 offers in 4 days after listing. We celebrated with salmon. And it was nice and smelly!

                                      1. chicken pot pie...........beef or steak with mushrooms and onions in gravy..shepheards pie......some odor, but not a lot

                                        1. Eggy dishes like frittatas (skip the side of bacon!)

                                          Stewed beans and greens with crusty bread
                                          Stuffed baked potatoes
                                          Entree salads- i'm loving those antipasto gigante beans on salads with chopped veggies, quinoa, and whatever herbs are around

                                          1. I would buy a house if it smelled like boeuf bourguignon.

                                              1. Lots of "hotdish" recipes in my repetoire.

                                                The CH Jerk Chicken recipe smells wonderful while cooking and is great served on sandwich buns with a simple side of coleslaw. Be sure to use a well-sealed bag to store any leftover cabbage/coleslaw.


                                                Seven Seas casserole - canned tuna (wash the empty tins and take out to the garbage/recycle right away), uncooked rice, peas, cream of mushroom soup (or equivalent), extra water for rice to absorb while cooking, herbs of your choice plus parsley. Bake, top with some cheese during last 5 minutes.

                                                And everyone's had Hamburger Hot Dish at some point. The key to this one is using cream of chicken soup.
                                                Hamburger Potato Hot Dish Casserole
                                                350 degrees, 1 hour - until potatoes are done

                                                6 medium potatoes
                                                1/2 medium onion, chopped
                                                1 lb ground beef
                                                1 can cream of chicken soup
                                                1 can milk

                                                Shredded cheese / Velveeta cheese slices for topping.

                                                Brown meat & onion in fry pan. Peel & slice potatoes. Alternately layer meat and potato slices in 2 ½ quart deep casserole (or big yellow ovenproof mixing bowl) until all are used. Mix soup and milk. Pour over potatoes & ground beef.

                                                Bake 1 hour, 350 degrees or until potatoes are done.
                                                Top with shredded cheese / Velveeta cheese slices for last 5 minutes.

                                                This beef-onion-cornbread "pie" works well in a 2 quart casserole. And while it requires a skillet and a small mixing bowl as well as the 2 quart dish, it's very satisfying and leftovers reheat well.

                                                1. This might be the time to make use of some of the pre-prepped vegetables in your supermarket, if budget allows. I find that foods "smell" less when cooked stovetop, rather than microwaved.
                                                  An easy, non-messy faux stir-fry can be assembled using fresh or frozen veg medley, bottled sauce (I like san-jay brand) and cooked peeled shrimp or deli rotisserie chicken. Serve with jasmine scented rice.
                                                  Just go easy on the sesame oil :)
                                                  Also, if you like the seasonings on the roast beef, turkey, etc in the deli department of your grocer, then use that as your protein. Ask for it to be sliced thicker, and then julienne or dice at home for one-dish meals, chef's salad, or snacks.

                                                  1. One trick for a nice homey smell is to boil sliced apple with lots of cinnamon; boil gently and let the steam waft. Do this trick about the open house time.

                                                    1. Not a one-pot, but I take the electric frypan onto the back patio for cooking foods I don't want to smell the next day -- including bacon, grilled/poached fish, panfried steak, panfried potatoes or battered veggies/meats, pan-roasted veg, etc.

                                                      1. Individual salad bowls. Salad in bowls, dressed, then topped with your chosen protein and extras like cheese, bacon bits or sunflower seeds.

                                                        Make soup before home is being shown. Freeze soup for use later.

                                                        1. Good luck, Julie. Our house goes on the market next week. A couple of days ago, I made Sarma (a Serbian dish with meat, cabbage, and sauerkraut that's baked in the oven). It bubbled over and burned on the oven floor. And, of course, created a bad smell. I had to run the oven cleaning cycle which, of course, created another bad smell. I am not baking again until after we sell unless I know with certainty it's something that won't bubble over.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: soccermom13

                                                            I think the emphasis on NOT creating smells is far more important than creating them. Burned cabbage? Noooo :)

                                                          2. Fortunately, it's getting to be Spring. Open your windows often, even for 15 minutes, to "freshen" the home.

                                                            1. Maybe you can put some dishes of baking around in inconspicuous places ...

                                                              And I must say I love the smell of home cooking & baking! For me it would be a feature ;) Like today when I came home for lunch I could smell the granola I made last night. Love that!

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: foiegras

                                                                I'm traveling in Europe right now. There are about 40ish in our group. I warrant that we are the only two "CHs" in the group. I bet many wouldn't care for the smell of food in a house they were touring. Just playing a numbers game.

                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                  foiegras.................gad I wish I could smell, right now, all bets are off for me in that respect. it may return when this sinus thing leaves, I do miss that sense.

                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    Can you taste at least? So sad.

                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                      nope not for a very long time now. been to more Drs. about this than I can count-CT scan last week aided no help :(

                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                        I do know, from Mom, that that kind of thing takes months if not years to resolve. Maybe I'd lose some weight but still, I pray I don't have to find out personally.

                                                                  2. That awesome NY Times homemade Mac & Cheese recipe....the scent of Comfort Food...

                                                                    you'll sell the house in no time!


                                                                    1. As long as the weather is decent (not raining) and you don't have roaming neighborhood dogs, I've plugged a slow cooker in out on the patio as well. (Didn't want to smell up the house when my bad gall bladder was making me super nauseated.) If you can't put it outside but have a safe spot in the garage, that might be an option as well - it is at least much easier to air out the garage.

                                                                      I've had good luck lately cooking meat in the slow cooker (shredded beef or pulled pork for sandwiches, whole chicken, beef roast, pork ribs) and then putting corn on the cob, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, on top of the meat. The corn cooks nicely without picking up the flavor of the meat, and then I can just add a side salad and some fresh fruit for a meal.

                                                                      Soup (as long as it isn't dairy based) does well in the slow cooker as well. We are folks that are ok with eating soup during the warmer seasons though, so that might not be as good of a choice depending on your preferences.