One Pot Recipes

Cook simple yet tasty meals in just one pot, including recipes for borscht, penne pasta with pork, lentil chili.

| February/March 1993

This is the time of year when cabin fever manifests itself in epidemic proportions in the Midwest. We spend a good portion of our day within those four walls at work, only to return home to another set of all too familiar walls. The sky is an eternal gray mass, the weather's nasty, and the only fresh thing in the refrigerator is the mold on the oranges. We may choose to wallow in misery under the covers watching old westerns, or defy the weather and break out of the house. But in order to go tobogganing, bargain hunting, or museum hopping, we must have something hot and appealing on the stove to welcome our return home, and it had better be simple or we'll never escape those four walls.

I never knew the true meaning of cabin fever until we lived on a farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was often snowed in for four to five days at a time with an 18month old baby and my husband away on business. My only social interaction consisted of babbling broken English with a toddler and chatty monologues delivered to two old horses over the feed trough. When I finally did get to the nearest town five miles away, food selection was limited at the solitary grocery store. At that time of year, the only fresh vegetable available was soggy gray-green celery. I was pressured into culinary creativity-using soggy celery, a cellar full of root vegetables, and whatever was in the deep freeze. Amazingly enough, some terrific smelling stews and chili were conceived on the woodburning cook stove. The stove warmed the kitchen while the stews warmed our innards. I learned that winter that our bodies are adaptive to seasonal eating. We aren't going to suffer nutritionally after a winter of consuming root vegetables.

The recipes below use winter vegetables that are readily available and affordable. They require a minimum of both preparation and cleanup (note: using a food processor will speed things up considerably).

Borscht Stew

This stew is a beautiful red color and I've found it is the only way my family will eat beets. Traditional borscht has sliced cabbage in it. If you wish to add some to this recipe, just omit the celery. Borscht can be made without meat, but I cut some some beef into small pieces and throw that in for flavor to 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into small pieces  

1/4 cup flour, whole wheat or white
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups water
•2 medium onions, cut into bite-size chunks

•4 to 5 carrots (2 1/2 cups), cut into half-inch chunks

•4 to 5 small white or red potatoes (2 cups), cut into chunks

•3 turnips, quartered and sliced thin

•4 to 5 beets (4 cups)

•3 stalks celery (1 1/2 cups), cut into half-inch chunks

cup tomato paste
•3 tablespoons cider vinegar

•1 tablespoon honey

•1 tablespoon brown sugar

•1 teaspoon dried basil

•1 teaspoon ground paprika teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper  

Optional: chopped parsley, low-fat yogurt, or "lite" sour cream  

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!