Friday 7 June 2013

Healthy and Convenient Family Meals - One-Pot Chilli

Do you cook one-pot meals for the family? Which healthy easy meals do you cook? Maybe you have a family favourite, or a recipe handed down through the generations? Are one-pot meals still suitable when it's as Summery and warm as it has been these last few days?

On Monday 10th June from 10.30am until 11.30am I will be co-hosting a Twitter discussion about easy cooking for busy Mums, and we'll be giving away a selection of Pyrex Summer Dining Essentials to four lucky participants.

We want to know what makes a successful and convenient meal when you don't have all day to prepare, and hopefully share a few recipes and tips.

Here is one of my family's favourite recipes to get you started. I use this meal when I am busy and don't have the time to stand over the cooker nursing a meal (which realistically is most days!). This should easily feed 4 for 2 meals and is infinitely adaptable and almost foolproof - even my teenagers can be trusted to throw it together!

Nice and Simple One-pot Chilli

2 large onions ~ sliced or diced
2 bell peppers ~ chopped
2 chilli peppers ~ finely chopped. You may wish to leave these out if cooking for young children.
4 cloves of garlic ~ crushed
500g Mince (Soya or meat. If using meat please ensure you brown it in the pan before adding the rest of the ingredients).

2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chilli powder
a pinch of cloves
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
whatever spice takes your fancy
2 tins tomatoes or equivalent fresh tomatoes, or passata (tomato puree)

And a selection from the following -

Adzuki beans (go brilliantly with Soya mince)
Kidney beans
Borlotti beans
Canelloni beans
Haricot beans
Canned baked beans
Tinned or frozen sweetcorn
Cooked sausage (sliced)
Cooked bacon


Brown the mince with the onions, peppers and garlic (or just until the onions start to soften in the case of veggie mince), add the spices and cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook either on the hob or in the oven or slow cooker until the juices are brown and the chilli flavours have all come together. I tend to leave mine for an hour or two on a the lowest simmer or in the oven at around 170 degrees/Gas Mark 3. If it's drying out too much then add water, but this is unlikely because of the veg and beans.

Always taste your meal when cooking, you can add extra spice or just about anything else, but removing it is far more tricky!

Serve half of your Chilli with rice, pasta or even potatoes or chips!

Vegetarian one-pot chilli recipe

With the second half keep it safe in the fridge or freezer and use it to make a simple lasagne. Layer it with lasagne sheets and slices of courgette, cover the top with a white sauce (make your own or buy a packet mix, or even a jar for convenience), and grate cheese over the top. Because I don't eat cooked cheese (and white sauce can be bland) I make a sauce using a tin of creamed mushrooms mixed with the same quantity of water, and because I'm a kind Mummy I grate cheese over everyone else's portions (or get a slave or assistant to do it)

 Et voila. 2 meals cooked from scratch with healthy ingredients and minimal effort, and minimal washing up!

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  1. never thought of using cream of mushroom to make lasange sauce! might try that some time :)

    1. It's a real cheat and although it's not as creamy as making a ton of white sauce, it's much quicker and simpler :D

  2. Love the spice mix for the chili. I always wing it so it's nice to see it written down.
    I love the idea of the mushroom sauce too, I might have to try that one.

    1. To be fair I usually just wing it too, although if I'm cooking for 2 meals I tend to make double these amounts anyway, so I have a lot of room for adjustment ;oP

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm no food photographer! :D

    2. Hope in blog summit, they have the same program. I learn a lot on food photography

    3. Yeah, that would be really handy :D

  4. oh, fab recipe! I'm going to be there! xx

  5. I LOVE one pot cooking - it's usually so quick, tasty and , as you say, less to wash up... which MUST be a bonus!

  6. Yummy, inspiration for recipes is always good to read about

  7. We love a good chilli, never thought about using it for lasagne though - looks delish :)

    1. Thank you, it was rather nice - glad I gave you a new thing to try :)

  8. Great recipe, I think I would even be able to do it!

  9. I love my Pyrex dishes so easy to keep clean, and I love making lasagne from left over spag bol, but has to be very cheesy!!

    I'm going to try and sneak in the twitter party! (don't tell anyone)

  10. Replies
    1. So do I. I can't wait until the little ones are a bit bigger and we can turn up the spice a bit!

  11. Looks lovely, never thought to add sweetcorn, love these kind of meals where you can chuck anything in!

  12. Love the idea of cooking double and using half for the next days meal. I must try and do that more to save spending so long cooking each night!

    1. Thank you - it is lovely when you start to get tea and remember you've already done the hard work :)

  13. chilli isn't something any of mine are kean on.. but lasagna they all could eat every day!

    1. I bet they'll grow into it. My oldest was the most wimpy, and he's all "pass the Tabasco" nowadays (reminds me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo)..


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