One Pot Recipes

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PHOTO: FOTOLIA./BLACKNOTE919
Make delicious, hearty meals in just one pot.

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

•1/2
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

Put meat chunks and flour in plastic bag and shake in order
to coat meat. Heat the oil on medium-high in a large stew
pot; add meat. Brown for two to three minutes, but don’t
let burn. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so. De-glaze
the pan with the five cups of water. Cover and simmer on
low for 30 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients (except celery) and cook for 30
more minutes. Then add celery and simmer for another 30
minutes or so until vegetables are just done, stirring as
needed. Add salt, pepper, and additional water.

Serve stew topped with a combination of low-fat yogurt,
“lite” sour cream, and chopped parsley.

There’s nothing better than coming home after a full day of
sledding, and having a nice warm meal to welcome you back.

Penne Pasta with Pork

To cut down on fat, I use pork instead of the conventional
Italian sausage. To guarantee that the ground pork I use
isn’t fatty, I buy pork stew meat, freeze it slightly, and
then grind it in the food processor.

3/4 cup ground pork
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups celery,
•chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped into
thin strips, then chopped in half

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
•1 1/2 teaspoon basil teaspoon fennel seed

16 ounces canned tomatoes with juice
•4 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar salt and freshly
ground pepper

4 cups uncooked penne pasta grated parmesan or
romano cheese chopped parsley

Fry pork in olive oil in a non-stick skillet until browned.
Add garlic and onion; saute for a few minutes. Add celery,
red pepper, spices, tomatoes, tomato paste, and vinegar.
Cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil water for the pasta and then cook it until
done, but not mushy. Drain the pasta well and stir into the
meat mixture. Top this meal with parmesan cheese and sprigs
of parsley.

Lentil Chili

This vegetarian chili is faster to prepare than standard
chili because lentils cook quickly. Since lentils are a
drab color, top this dish with some grated cheddar cheese,
red or green onions, and fresh cilantro or parsley.
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small jalapeno or cayenne pepper,
minced

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups brown lentils
6 cups water
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3/4 cup tomato paste
1 small can V-8 or tomato juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large red pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Toppings: sour cream, grated
cheese, red or green onion, cilantro or parsley.

Saute garlic, onion, and hot pepper in oil. Add lentils,
water and spices. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes in a covered
pot until the lentils are tender. Add tomato paste, juice,
vinegar, sugar, red pepper, and celery. Add salt, pepper
and additional water if needed. Simmer for another 15 to 20
minutes until vegetables are tender. Serve plain or over
brown rice or pasta.

Guner’s Lamb Stew

My Turkish stepfather says the same thing every time he
cooks: “Lots of garlic and olive oil-it will be fantastic.”
And it is, but I’ve cut down on both here-you can add more
if you wish.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into bite-size
chunks

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4teaspoon each: ground allspice,
cardamon, ginger, cinnamon

1/2teaspoon garam masala*
(optional)

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lamb, cut into bite-size chunks, trimming
all fat

1 small jalapeno pepper, minced, seeds
removed

3 cups water
1tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon tamari (mild soy sauce)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 bay leaves
5 small carrots, cut into half- inch
chunks

1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1 inch
pieces

1 to 2 skinned tomatoes, chopped into ;inch
chunks

salt and freshly ground pepper
* Can be purchased at an Asian
or Indian grocery store.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in large pot. Saute onion
and spices until almost all of the oil disappears. Add
second tablespoon of oil. Then add lamb, garlic, and hot
pepper. Saute, stirring constantly, until lamb releases its
moisture and reabsorbs it. Pour in water, cover; simmer.
After 30 minutes, add tomato paste, tamari, sugar, bay
leaves, and carrots. Let simmer. After 20 minutes, add
green beans and tomatoes. Simmer. After 10 minutes (or when
cooked), add salt and pepper. Serve over noodles or mashed
potatoes. Top with fresh parsley.