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Super-Easy One-Pot Recipes

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Hearty Beef Chili

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 to 10 hours (on low) or 4 to 5 hours (on high) + 15 minutes (on high)
Makes: 10 servings

28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

10-ounce can chopped tomatoes and green chili peppers, undrained

2 cups vegetable juice or tomato juice

1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 pounds beef or pork stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups chopped onion (2 large)

1 1/2 cups chopped celery (3 stalks)

1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 large)

2 15-ounce cans black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Reduced-fat cheddar, low-fat sour cream and cilantro (optional)

In a 6-quart cooker, combine both cans of tomatoes, vegetable juice, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Mix in the meat, onion, celery, and pepper. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in the drained beans, then cover and cook for 15 minutes more (if using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting). Ladle chili into bowls. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: 224 calories, 24g protein, 24g carbohydrate, 6g fat (2g saturated), 6g fiber.

Thai-Style Coconut Chicken Soup

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 to 6 hours (on low) or 2 1/2 to 3 hours (on high)
Makes: 6 servings

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup bias-sliced carrots (2 medium)

1 cup chopped onion (1 large)

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

15-ounce can unsweetened light coconut milk

2 medium red, yellow, or green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 6-ounce jars button mushrooms, drained

1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Cut chicken into 3/4-inch pieces and place in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Add broth, carrots, onion, ginger, lemon peel, crushed red pepper, and garlic, and stir. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Skim off fat. Stir coconut milk, peppers, mushrooms, and cilantro into chicken mixture. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle each serving with peanuts, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: 186 calories, 21g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 5g fat (3g saturated), 3g fiber.

Mexican Minestrone

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 7 to 9 hours (on high)
Makes: 6 to 8 servings

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 14.5-ounce cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained

15.25-ounce can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained

14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups coarsely chopped potato (2 medium)

1 cup purchased salsa

1 cup frozen cut green beans

Sour cream (optional)

In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine drained black beans, undrained tomatoes, corn, broth, potatoes, salsa, and green beans. Cover and cook on high-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours. If desired, top with sour cream.

Nutrition facts per serving: 250 calories, 14g protein, 54g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0g saturated), 10g fiber.

Chicken Jambalaya

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 to 6 hours (on low) or 2 1/2 to 3 hours (on high) + 45 minutes (on high)
Makes: 6 servings

8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves

16-ounce package frozen bell peppers and onions

8 ounces smoked turkey sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 cups water

14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, undrained

8-ounce package jambalaya rice mix

Cut chicken into 1/2-inch strips. Place frozen vegetables in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker and top with chicken strips and turkey sausage. Add water, undrained tomatoes, and seasoning packet from rice. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in rice. Cover and cook about 45 minutes more (if using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting), or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Nutrition facts per serving: 265 calories, 19g protein, 37g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1g saturated), 2g fiber.

Spicy Pork Chops

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 6 to 7 hours (on low) or 3 to 3 1/2 hours (on high)
Makes: 8 servings

2 medium red or green bell peppers, cut into strips

1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 stalks)

1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

8 pork loin chops (with bone), cut to a thickness of 3/4 to 1 inch

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

Put peppers, celery, and onion in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker; set aside. Sprinkle chops with garlic salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, cook chops, four at a time, in hot oil over medium heat until brown on both sides, then place in cooker. In a small bowl, stir together chicken broth, orange juice, chipotle peppers and oregano. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chops and vegetables to a serving platter; discard cooking liquid.

Nutrition facts per serving: 215 calories, 33g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 7g fat (1g saturated), 1g fiber.

Peanut Butter-Caramel Apples

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 3 to 4 hours (on low)
Makes: 8 to 10 servings

Nonstick cooking spray

12-ounce jar caramel ice cream topping

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 pounds cooking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Coat the inside of a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add caramel, peanut butter, and water; whisk until smooth. Add apples; stir to coat. Cover. Cook on low heat for 3 to 4 hours. Serve topped with ice cream, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: 297 calories, 4g protein, 53g carbohydrate, 8g fat (2g saturated), 5g fiber.

For more delicious recipes from the FITNESS Healthy Test Kitchen, go to

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November 2007.


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